Tag Archives: marijuana

Opportunity or Catastrophe? Weighing in on the Upcoming Legalization of Pot in Canada

Legalizing recreational marijuana was part of Justin Trudeau’s election campaign platform, but it wasn’t something many people took seriously. What with the common mistrust of politicians and the opposition of the very powerful Hell’s Angels gang, who stand to lose a lot of revenue if pot becomes legal, it was hard to take Trudeau’s proposition seriously.

That’s why I was surprised to hear that the Federal Health Minister had announced plans to legalize marijuana by 2017. CBC’s recent episode of Cross Country Checkup gave Canadians an opportunity to respond with a few of their thoughts on the new legislation. Many of the callers brought some great points to my attention, some of which I’ve touched on below. However, it was apparent that some callers were still buying into weed propaganda, from exaggerated health benefits to exaggerated threats. For this post I decided to pull together a few of the best arguments I’ve heard from both camps and try to find at least a little research to support their claims.

Pros of Legalization

1. Legalization could reduce an unnecessary drain on police resources

Cannabis related offences are the most common type of drug offence in Canada, especially here in British Columbia.

c-g2-eng

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

According to Stats Canada, “in 2012, 43% of Canadians reported that they had used marijuana at some time in their lives, and 12% reported using it in the past year”. That means half of all Canadians could have been charged with possession at one time or another. Although in some places police will turn a blind eye to mere pot possession, there are still a significant number of cases reported by police. CBC explains that 

there were 57,314 marijuana possession-related “incidents” reported by police nationwide, according to Statistics Canada. More than 24,540 people were charged as a result. The year before that, 25,819 Canadians faced charges.

What’s disconcerting about this grey area of crime is that police can often use their discretion when it comes to actually prosecuting an offence. According to a recent CBC News analysis, where you live can affect if you will be charged. They report that “you’re almost 23 times more likely to face a possession charge in Kelowna, B.C., than in St. John’s.”

Marijuana use is so widespread that it is taking a massive amount of police resources to even pursue pot users. According to a report last year, “police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada”. Inevitably, chasing down the almost endless amount of pot users and dealers takes police away from pursuing other criminal activity. Continue reading

Advertisements

Fame Day: Jose Mujica

We don’t debate nearly as much as we should on what a Socialist society would look like, but if I had to guess, it’d probably be pretty similar to the administration of Jose Mujica.

Uruguay’s current leader has been dubbed by some as “the world’s poorest president”. Swiftly gaining acclaim as news of his actions and lifestyle spread across the internet, Mujica has been joined the all-too-small ranks of “honorable politicians”, perhaps filling the void left by the death of Nelson Mandela in December of last year.

In a world where poverty, inequality, and economic injustice are increasingly recognized, Mujica stands out for his shocking rejection of the pomp and circumstance that accompany power. Mujica drives a beat-up Volkswagon Beetle, and lives with his wife on a chrysanthemum farm on the outskirts of the capitol with their three-legged dog, Manuela. Living off of 12,000 dollars, and donating 90% of his presidential salary to charity, it sounds almost more like the setting for a political fairy tale than a reality.

Continue reading

Arguments for Trayvon

It’s 10:30 here in Las Vegas and 96 degrees, and with tonight’s news out of Florida, I know I’m not going to be getting any sleep without howling a bit first.

In spite of the widespread shock and outrage at the acquittal of Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, there are still plenty of people out there trying to come up with defenses for this, the most widely publicized miscarriage of justice since the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

In the coming days, we’re going to be seeing rallies, marches, and perhaps even riots around the nation in response to this travesty, and some responses are going to be needed to the litany of excuses that are going to be offered for the decision of the jury.

Here’s what we’re probably going to be hearing:

I. The Court Must Be Right, Because It’s The Court

Continue reading