Pubdate: Fri, 10 Feb 2006
Source: Similkameen Spotlight (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Similkameen Spotlight
Authors: Russell Barth, Christine Lowe
Bookmark: (Mandatory Minimum Sentencing)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


He plans to implement mandatory minimum sentences for people who grow 
marijuana, and he should have no problem getting enough Liberal and 
Bloc votes to push that policy through.

History, science, and common sense show us that this policy would act 
as no deterrent, drive up the street price, drive up the dealers' 
profits, and therefore drive up the competition. This will inevitably 
lead to more gun-violence, more robberies, and more ruined 
properties. Even putting more police on the streets will have little 
to no effect, since police can catch barely a fifth of the growers 
and dealers as it is. Even if we catch three times as many, there 
will always be a long line of guys waiting to fill every one of these 

There are already more than 600,000 Canadians with criminal records 
for drug offences, and Harper would like to raise that number to 3 
million. He also wants to continue pressing charges for simple 
possession on teens. This will dramatically reduce their ability to 
get into good schools, get good jobs, travel, and maximize their 
earning potential. This hurts all Canadians.

Then, the taxpayers will have to pay billions more -- every single 
year -- to arrest, hold, prosecute, and incarcerate these people in 
yet-to-be-built prisons.

Harper's policy will also increase the danger to the estimated one 
million Canadians who use marijuana for medical purposes. Health 
Canada's fiasco of a Medical Marijuana Licensing program will likely 
be shut down, or revamped to make access even more difficult for 
these sick and dying Canadians, adding even more strain to our health 
care system.

On the other hand, regulating marijuana like alcohol would generate 
an estimated $3 billion in annual tax revenue, settle the medical 
marijuana issue once and for all, and reduce children's access to 
marijuana. It would also offer quality-controls, reduce criminal 
profits, reduce gun-violence, and save Canadian taxpayers an 
additional $2 billion in annual costs for enforcement, prosecution, 
home insurance, stolen hydro, and corrections.

But Harper's policy will make George W. Bush very happy, and that is, 
apparently, much more important to him.

Russell Barth, Christine Lowe,

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