Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Nanaimo Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Nanaimo Daily News
Author: Mike Bryan


Re: 'Tory Flyers illegal, says opposition' (Daily News, Aug. 19)

I am surprised MP James Lunney would allow his image and reputation to
ride on an anti-drug flyer. I had thought better of him, particularly
in light of his stance on Bill C-51. Have you seen the recently
released 2007 crime statistics? The data confirms Ottawa's war on
drugs is, for the most part, a criminal law catchment and control
device for cannabis users in this country.

Ever since the Le Dain Commission's Cannabis Report in 1972, federal
governments (Liberal and Conservative) have considered
"decriminalizing" cannabis possession. By that they have meant an
approach that avoids a criminal record for persons charged with
possession. For example, the 1972 discharge provisions of the Criminal
Code were, according to then Health Minister John Munro, "a means
whereby the courts could avoid imposing a criminal record on persons
charged with cannabis possession."

Contrary to popular belief, the discharge provisions never avoided a
criminal record for any offence; and successive governments to this
day have allowed this massive criminalization of young Canadians to
continue unabated.

Lunney's government could win half the war on drugs by simply dealing
with this gross injustice once and for all. Until then, all its
ranting against "junkies and addicts" will be seen for what it is: A
cover for a mean-spirited political attack on the welfare of young

It's hard to believe that Lunney, a medical healer, would knowingly
endorse such a policy.

Mike Bryan

Port Alberni
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