Article by Jodie Emery, Ottawa Citizen
The Liberal government finally introduced its highly anticipated marijuana legalization legislation. But this proposal is not legalization – it is continued criminalization, with new harsher laws designed to punish even more people.
Canadians want marijuana to be legal because they grew tired of seeing family and friends arrested and charged, then denied job opportunities and travel rights. They became frustrated seeing police spend their tax dollars every year going after people for pot, when they should be solving serious crimes such as murder, assault, rape and theft.
Decades of studies note that the multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry already exists in Canada despite decades of prohibition. People grow it, sell it, and consume it in massive quantities. And they’re not gangsters; in fact, justice department court statistics acknowledge 95 per cent of growers are otherwise law-abiding citizens with no connection to organized crime.
Some unsavoury people may be involved in the pot industry, but blame that on the government: their prohibition policy increases the value of cannabis, which makes it attractive to certain groups eager to make money. If coffee were banned tomorrow, organized crime would get into the coffee bean business. Prohibition manufactures crime where none would otherwise exist.
Under this legislation, we will see continued arrests for possession, growing and selling; harsher penalties, ranging from 14 years to life in prison for various offences; no pardons or amnesty for Canadians with criminal records; continued dispensary raids and arrests; and a new reefer madness propaganda campaign.
How is this “legalization”?