The comments of Calgary police chief Roger Chaffin on the imminent legalization of cannabis aren’t sitting well with critics, who consider his ideas to be out of touch with reality.
Earlier this week, Chaffin suggested legalizing cannabis would provide society with another drug, and he doesn’t believe “it’s in the community’s best interest to introduce another challenge for what it’s like to grow up.”
Nazlee Maghsoudi with the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) questions Chaffin’s logic.
“Cannabis regulation doesn’t provide society with ‘another drug’ as the police chief suggests,” Maghsoudi said. “Prohibition has failed to reduce the availability of cannabis, including among young people, despite a disproportionate investment in law enforcement compared to other approaches to mitigating drug-related harms.”
Chaffin also said his biggest concern with legalization is how it will impact safety on the roads.
But the ICSDP argues that driving under the influence is already happening with prohibition, and the legalizing and regulation of cannabis will allow for more public education.
“Regulation allows awareness campaigns to educate Canadians on the risks of impaired driving, and prevent such behaviour as we have done with alcohol,” Maghsoudi said. “Impaired driving is a valid concern, but it is not a justification for continuing cannabis prohibition.”
Tim Moen, the leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada and a Calgary native, believes the police chief should be welcoming the end of prohibition.
“He should be celebrating the fact that the days of booting in doors and ruining lives over a plant are coming to an end,” Moen said. “He and his officers no longer have to be complicit in an immoral activity.”