Pubdate: Wed, 09 Mar 2005
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


Dear Editor,

It is by design that Canadians don't know exactly what the Liberal's
so-called "decriminalization" bill actually means. The Liberals want
to appear to be more progressive, without actually doing anything at
all, as this quote from Martin Caution, former Justice Minister, (made
during questioning by the House of Commons Committee on Illegal Drugs
regarding the proposed "decriminalization" bill in November 2003)
shows: "We're not decriminalizing marijuana, to be technical, it will
remain a criminal offense. What we are putting in place are
alternative penalties, in using the Contraventions Act. I admit that
using "decrim" at the beginning was not a good start, but over the
past few months we have been quite clear about what we're doing." This
was before Paul Martin promised during the 2004 election that the
Grits would "decriminalize" possession.

It is more likely that what the feds are planning is a cash grab where
potentially millions of "tickets" will be handed out every year, while
raising the penalties for growing, which will raise the street price
of pot. This will accelerate the drug war, increase the violence as
dealers fight for turf and customers. Our courts will clog up even
more, our jails will get filled with "non-payment of fines" offenders
and growers, and then the government will use this information to say,
"See? We loosen the laws even a little, and more people than ever use
and grow pot! We need to spend even more money on the War On Drugs."

The only sensible thing to do is legalize cannabis, license the
growers and commercial sellers, and tax the whole thing to the tune of
$3 billion a year.

Russell Barth,

Educators For Sensible Drug Policy
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