Article by Charles Hamilton, CBC News
As marijuana legalization looms, there are still thousands of people across Canada fighting pot-related charges — Mark Hauk is one of them.
The founder of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club is awaiting trial on trafficking charges relating to his operation of an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary in Saskatoon. He was arrested in October 2015.
Hauk is confident that his constitutional challenge will eventually quash those charges, but he says given the Canadian government’s plan to legalize pot, it’s “hypocritical” for police across the country to keep charging people with pot-related offences.
“It just makes your head spin,” Hauk said.
Hauk said the Canadian government has provided some of the best arguments against continued pursuit of pot charges in their push for legalization — everything from saddling youth with unnecessary records to helping organized crime.
He says the government should not be instructing police officers to enforce laws they are intent on changing.
Legalization won’t solve crime: police chief
Saskatoon’s police chief, however, says legalizing pot is not the antidote to organized crime that many think it is.
“I think there is a bit of a fallacy when people are thinking once marijuana is legalized, there is going to be no more criminal activity. We know from Colorado and Washington that that is not the case. The black market is still going to be alive and well,” Chief Clive Weighill said.
Weighill said his officers have slowed down on charging people with simple possession. If someone is caught with a joint for example, he says more than likely they will not be charged.
But if they are caught with marijuana during an arrest on other charges, the pot charges will be laid.