Pubdate: Thu, 31 Dec 2009
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009, BC Newspaper Group
Author: Kirk Tousaw


To the Editor,

Re: Bill would tilt justice scales, Opinion, Dec. 22.

You opined that the Senate amendments to Bill C-15 (mandatory jail 
terms for drug offences) were a welcome change to allow judges to 
differentiate between small and larger-scale marijuana production offences.

I agree with the sentiment. But even with the Senate amendments, Bill 
C-15 will impose mandatory nine-month jail terms for even one 
cannabis plant grown for the purpose of trafficking if it happens in 
a rental house or if a potential risk of danger to the public is 
created in a residential area.

And trafficking includes non-commercial transfers to friends or family.

The bill remains a radical change in Canada's approach to drugs. It 
is the importation of a drug-war mentality that used to be prevalent 
in the United States. They are now abandoning this approach, having 
seen the catastrophic consequences.

All of the evidence is that such measures are doomed to fail. And to 
produce tragic consequences such as increased violence in the 
prohibition markets and a boost to the coffers of organized crime.

Canada is being sold a bill of goods. The Conservatives know C-15 
won't reduce drug supply, drug demand or street violence.

They put pennies into proven success like treatment and prevention 
yet are willing to spend billions of our dollars locking up Canadians 
and further marginalizing those dealing with problematic substance use.

The only way to reduce the power of gangs, end the phenomena of 
basement marijuana production and to bring some sanity and compassion 
to our drug situation, is to radically re-evaluate our approach, not 
make a bad situation worse.

Kirk Tousaw

Mill Bay
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