Last Friday, in a commentary piece for the Globe and Mail, four former B.C. Attorney Generals came out in very clear terms and said what needs to be said: Canada’s pot laws don’t work.
“As four former attorneys-general of British Columbia, we were the province’s chief prosecutors and held responsibility for overseeing the criminal justice system. We know the burden imposed on B.C.’s policing and justice system by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition and the role that prohibition itself plays in driving organized crime and making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.”
– Ujjal Dosanjh, Colin Gabelmann, Graeme Bowbrick & Geoff Plant
This is the paradox of prohibition. Rather than reducing the flow of drugs, prohibition generates a profitable black market, especially in the case of a widely used substance such as cannabis. While banning drugs and applying the criminal law to those who produce, distribute and possess them is intended to stifle the market and curb use, in reality, it only makes the market more robust and profitable where are any consumer demand is present.
But the economic arguments against prohibition, while indisputable, neglect the real problem, which is moral in nature – prohibition puts our government, courts and police in a position where they are directly harming, rather than protecting, the Canadian public.
The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition commends British Columbia’s former attorney generals for speaking out on the issue of cannabis regulation. The time has come for Canada to build a drug policy that does more good than harm – one that focuses on protecting the health and safety of Canadians.
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