Canada: A Potential World Leader in MJ Reform
Pot smokers in the Vancouver area are growing so much weed that Canadian police can't keep up. Last year alone, the police received "more than 4,500 reports ... of illegal indoor pot-growing operations."
Police are less likely to investigate marijuana growers, prosecutors are less likely to lay charges against them, and judges are less likely to send them to jail than they were in the late 1990s, according to a groundbreaking study to be released today.
Moreover, using the criminal law to address marijuana smoking has had the counterproductive effect of wasting scarce resources while creating more serious crime.
[S]uccessive governments have spent billions of dollars enforcing the law, and organized crime has reaped billions of dollars in profits from trade in marijuana and other illicit drugs. Marijuana laws have made criminals out of pot smokers, and have allowed organized crime, and its attendant violence, to flourish.
The answer, according to a series of editorials over the last four days in the Vancouver Sun, is to stop fighting an unwinnable battle. Today's editorial, while warning that the U.S. is likely to remain intransigent, explains why Canada should become a world leader in creating more effective drug strategies -- strategies that seek "to minimize the harms caused not only by drugs, but by drug laws."
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