With the end of cannabis prohibition looming around the corner, we’re witnessing the dying breaths of the prohibitionist movement. While this is certainly cause for celebration, unfortunately they still seem to get an inordinate amount of attention in the media and from policy makers.
A U.S.-based prohibitionist group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana (headed by ex-Drug Czar Employee Kevin Sabet) has expanded in to our country with hopes of subverting the will of the Canadian people. The CBC has repeatedly published their opinions unchallenged.
A cartel of cannabis growers licenced under the MMPR is calling for the violent removal of dispensaries from our communities and the destruction of farms operated by individuals licensed under the former MMAR. Despite faithfully (and safely) serving cannabis patients for decades, this new cartel would love nothing more than the injunction protecting their forbears to fizzle out so the RCMP can move in and destroy all sources of competition.
Now that the prohibitionists have lost in the legal arena, they’re trying to take over the industry so they can regulate every aspect of it out of practical existence. Out of sight, out of mind.
The arguments are the same old boring, prohibitionist, chicken-little claims and excuses for their own violent tendencies. Here’s a hint, when someone’s first reaction to something unknown is to ban it you can be sure they have little to no empathy for anyone and simply want to keep living in a selfish bubble.
Now, on to the show:
Police don’t make the laws, they just enforce them
This one is so blatantly made up it’s hard to believe the prohibitionists actually drank their own kool-aid here. When Health Canada began drafting the MMPR they consulted with “stakeholders.” Who were these stakeholders? Certainly not patients and growers… no, it was the RCMP.
And now that we’re moving on from MMPR to removing cannabis from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, police are once again calling the shots.
It’s enough to make one gag. The conflict of interest is so huge, so in your face, and yet the government continues letting the police write their own laws.
Why do you think the MMPR saddles LPs with obscene security clearance requirements, involving lots of money going to the RCMP for background checks? Why do you think the City of Vancouver now requires annual criminal records checks on all cannabis dispensary employees?
They aren’t thinking about public safety, they’re thinking about their wallets.
It’s no secret that police (and prison guards, and opiate manufacturers) love prohibition. What other piece of legislation allows them to make piles of money all while inflicting their most sadistic fantasies on people who, for decades, have miraculously not responded in kind?
The only silver lining is that police will simply ignore zealously prosecuting whatever code violations are created with the new legislation. Oh, and before you trot out the old ‘Police don’t choose what laws to enforce’ canard; they do. Ask a Vancouver dispensary about the last 20 years or just take a look at Part 12.1 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits the importation, exportation, manufacture, promotion and sale of cannabis pipes, vapourizers, literature, etc.
When’s the last time a glassblower went to jail for making a bong?
Bottom line: The people who were willing to kill you for producing, distributing, or consuming cannabis, are now going to dictate to you under what circumstances you’ll be able to do those things.
Cannabis isn’t dangerous because it’s prohibited, it’s prohibited because it’s dangerous
When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit. This wonderful little nugget, used by many including former Prime Minister Harper, just goes to show how divorced from reality prohibitionists are.
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) August 11, 2015
Time and time again, cannabis is proven to be one of the safest plants on earth.
Years ago, researcher David Nutt began publishing papers on his work where he tried to objectively quantify the harms associated with various substances. Unsurprisingly, his findings echoed that of many other researchers that cannabis was far less dangerous, both to the user and to society at large, than alcohol and tobacco.
Dr. Nutt, wasn’t exactly a pro-legalization hippie either. He was the chief drug adviser to the UK government, and when he voiced his concerns about the ongoing prohibition of cannabis given his findings, he was sacked.
As if that wasn’t enough, even the DEA can’t maintain the lie that cannabis is dangerous.
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” — DEA Judge Francis Young
There is no evidence that cannabis is any more dangerous than a million other things both adults and children are exposed to on a regular basis. Period.
Nobody is going to jail for simple possession
The silliness continues with this one. However, one needs to wonder if prohibitionists aren’t feeling just a splinter of guilt because this is more of an excuse for continuing prohibition than an argument for it.
“Don’t worry pot smokers, we’re only after your dealer!”
Some prohibitionists, you see, aren’t concerned with the casual users. They’d rather focus on production and distribution.
The only problem is that this is just another fantasy of theirs, designed to absolve their consciences and allow them to proselytize for more draconian punishments.
This also obscures the real issue of cannabis-related charges as a whole. If they’re fine with someone possessing and consuming it, then why punish the people that are satisfying this demand? You can’t have one without the other.
This is precisely the reason why decriminalization is the worst solution, because it sends all the wrong messages to people.
The facts of cannabis enforcement stand in stark contrast to how prohibitionists think it’s going.
According to recent figures, someone is charged with possession every nine minutes in Canada.
“We are very proactive and tenacious in our enforcement,” says RCMP Supt. Nick Romanchuk, the officer in charge of policing at Kelowna.
“Police resources are expensive and scarce, and we’re wasting them on this issue. There are more important things for our police force to be doing. The overwhelming majority who don’t use cannabis should care that their tax dollars are being spent in this way and they should care about the hypocrisy of labelling someone a criminal for an act that really doesn’t threaten the social fabric in any fundamental way. To treat a person who’s using cannabis as a criminal — it’s like using a sledgehammer for a flea,” — Neil Boyd, Director, SFU School of Criminology
The latest federal prison statistics paint a horrifying picture of the world prohibitionists feel comfortable in. In 2008, there were 6,433 people in federal prison on drug charges, comprising more than a quarter (28.7 per cent) of the total federal prisoner population.
Of these, over 93 per cent of the inmates were men, revealing blatant sexism in the enforcement and prosecution of drug-related offences.
Finally, almost 32 per cent of these individuals are in prison on possession charges. While this may not be the only charge that landed them in prison, it’s contributing to their sentence.
If we want to reduce addiction, we need harsher punishments to discourage use
You have to wonder if prohibitionists are parents. If they are, then you’d think they’d realize that dealing out physical pain to their misbehaving kids does next to nothing to correct that behaviour. It may work for dogs, but human beings are quite a bit more complicated. In Canada, harsher punishments have also been found unconstitutional, and the prison population is at all-time highs, already.
Personally, I weep for the kids of prohibitionists. Their parents see violence (spanking, yelling, incarceration) as the panacea for everything that makes them uncomfortable.
Ironically, parents who see violence as a means to influence their child’s behaviour are more likely to produce addicts than parents who can calmly talk to their kids and explain why they shouldn’t do something.
Addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Maté explains in this video.
At this point, research on addiction is practically incontrovertible — the root of addiction is suffering from severe emotional and physical pain during early childhood. You have to be a complete monster to think that this can be corrected through more pain and suffering.
Of course, reducing addiction rates is a noble goal that we should all strive for. To do that, the answers are already clear and they certainly don’t involve more violence against peaceful people.
We’re concerned about our children
Before I get in to writing about cannabis here, I’d like to mention another substance menacing children.
Research indicates that between 80 to 90 per cent of North Americans are already using it habitually. Its use can result in intoxication, withdrawal, dependence as well as sleep and anxiety disorders. It raises blood pressure and cholesterol and trying to quit it can produce symptoms of fatigue, irritability, depression, and impairment in psychomotor and cognitive performance. It has even been linked to low birth weight.
For less than $20, someone can purchase enough of the substance to kill an adult male. There’s no restrictions on its sale, allowing minors to freely purchase and consume it. It’s even served inside schools, never mind making dealers keep at least 300 meters away.
That substance — Caffeine.
Prohibitionists have a massive blind spot when it comes to their concern about how cannabis will affect their children. The fact is, it just might save their lives if they’re suffering from something like Dravet syndrome.
They already live in a world where deadly drugs like medicated cough syrups are being marketed to kids and sold without any restrictions whatsoever. They’ve been living their nightmare all their lives. Where is the outrage?
Any talk about saving children by prohibitionists is a farce, the mad ramblings of a lunatic who will say and do anything to get their way.
It’s time to stop allowing prohibitionists any sort of claim to a moral high ground, and it’s time to stop treating their concerns and actions as if they are well thought out and reasoned. They never were.
We’re dealing with fanatics and evangelists, people whose confirmation bias is so strong that, until only recently, it was impossible to do clinical trials on cannabis in this country.
Being a prohibitionist is an unacceptable position that should be lined up with racism, sexism and all other forms of bigotry. They’re not deserving of respect from civilized people because they represent intolerance and barbarism; a violent minority whose time has long since past.
Let’s show them the door.