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Zero Tolerance on Cannabis

The former Conservative government passed a law, demanding a six-month minimum jail term for violating drug laws, and an Ontario judge threw it out. 

The Liberal Party, promising legalization and regulation of cannabis, among other things, won a majority government in the House of Commons.

A B.C. judge gave an absolute discharge to a man with 414 cannabis plants. 

A 22-year-old North Bay resident was given an absolute discharge for two joints because, as the man’s lawyer said, “The climate for personal possession is changing and if this were to happen next April, we might not even be here for a plea.”

Gatineau police found someone cultivating 30 cannabis plants and requested 90 days in jail. The judge instead fined the grower one dollar, calling cannabis prohibition “outdated and ridiculous.”

In Vancouver, Victoria, Kimberley, and other parts of British Columbia, dispensaries are tolerated and even regulated by the municipal authorities.

So you can forgive cannabis connoisseurs for believing that a “grey area” in the market exists.

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick says, “There’s been some misinformation … that somehow these people are operating in a grey area — there’s no grey area.”

Windsor Police raided Burnies Compassion Club, stealing 69 grams of cannabis and capital goods like scales and packaging materials. They also kidnapped a 41-year-old man for trafficking charges.

Frederick claims “the law is very clear… you just can’t do it.”

But you can, in other parts of the country.

This is a problem for some, since, nationalism implies that we’re all in this together. The law is not and shouldn’t be a free and fair market. It’s not some legal “different strains for different pains” system. It’s the same everywhere in Canada.

But since only individuals act, since knowledge of the market economy is a result of a priori truth inherent in our action as human beings, how each Canadian neighbourhood or community deals with cannabis should be based on their own contractual agreements regarding potential social and economic conflicts.

After all, the laws regulating human conduct are merely made up of incompatible, contradictory rules and principles, and any conclusion can be correctly derived from contradictory premises.

There is always a sound legal argument for or against cannabis prohibition.

The police always err on the side of prohibition. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if their services were open to free competition, where consumers would be protected by contracts, not some vague appeal to “the rule of law” or an election sooner or later.

Judges often rule against prohibition. That Gatineau judge couldn’t sentence a man to 90 days in jail for growing cannabis because he didn’t believe community values would be represented by that decision.

How could a fair and orderly court denounce a criminal act legislators have promised to legalize and regulate?

How could one reflect community standards of justice if the law switches from war with Eurasia to war with Eastasia overnight?

Regarding Allard vs Queen, Justice Phelan said, “dispensaries are at the heart of cannabis access.”

He ruled that medical cannabis growers protected by injunction could continue to grow based on constitutional rights.

The federal government agreed not to appeal and now we wait on a Health Canada decision that will either restrict or permit current plant amounts.

Harper’s lawyers (brought to you by taxpayers, FYI) made claims of diversion to black markets.

But this B.C. network of legitimate medical farmers and vendors are not organized crime, not everything may be legal per se, but there is judicial precedent, little police enforcement, and substantial tolerance from the public.

A grey market, if you will.

But if you talk to police or anyone in federal politics, there is zero tolerance on cannabis because the law is the law.

But law is the decision-making power of a state monopoly, and despite evidence that law is inherently political, most people, especially police, accept an objective standard of justice which everyone, at least in Canada, has a moral obligation to obey.

There is psychological comfort in this, but the danger for cannabis connoisseurs is clear.

For, if an objective rule of law is true, then the “grey market” is entirely illegal and so we are criminals (unless, of course, you’re approved by a doctor and/or Health Canada).

But does anyone believe that?

The Canadian government enforced cannabis prohibition and now they’re controlling legalization and writing new rules to a medical regime they have severely messed up in the past.

That’s not legalization, that’s not the rule of law — that’s politics.