LOCAL NEWS, NATIONAL NEWS

LEGAL MARIHUANA – A Moral Dilemma

lemon kush, day 50

Canadians participated in an interesting debate last evening.

The Corus radio network hosted #canadianstalk, an open radio and social media forum (Twitter) inviting Canadians to voice their opinions on the controversial issue of the legalization of cannabis marihuana.

While I wasn’t able to listen to the entire broadcast, local CJOB host Greg Mackling did an outstanding job identifying the issues and inviting feedback from his diverse audience.  The conversation prompted me to join the Twitter debate;

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 8.18.32 AMThere can be no doubt, legalized marihuana is coming to Canada and Government would be wise to start working towards establishing protocols to make the transition.

Once our American neighbours in Colorado & Washington made the move the writing was on the wall.

This is all about social change.

According to recent polls, 57% of Americans now favour the legalization of marihuana. Compare that with figures in 1994 when only 25% of the population was in favour.

Justin Trudeau is banking on those changing attitudes.

Societal views of the once demonized drug has significantly evolved.  So much so, supporting decriminalization has become a major platform for Trudeau’s party.  A mere decade ago, such a bold position would have been considered political suicide.

On the local front, the legalization of marihuana has significant support.

Leading the charge is retired Winnipeg Police Service Staff Sergeant William “Billy” Vandergraaf. Vandergraaf was a well-known, high-profile, crime fighting Police Officer who retired from the Service in 2001 and subsequently joined an international anti prohibition organization called L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).

I worked several homicide cases with Vandergraaf and can vouch for his tenacity, courage and willingness to unabashedly share his strong opinions.

I was shocked when I first heard of Vandergraaf’s arrest for marihuana possession after a grow op in his East Kildonan home was raided by the Police in April of 2007.  Investigators seized a total of twenty-one plants along with growing equipment that included bulbs, fans, timers, thermometers and a dehumidifier.

In typical Vandergraaf style, he boldly confronted the charges and shared his belief in medicinal marihuana use;

“What can I say, I’m not going to hide behind these issues. I’ve got some serious health issues, and some members of my family do as well. This was just being grown for my own personal use”, Vandergraaf said in an interview.

I’m not sure what happened to these charges and it really doesn’t matter, as a marihuana user, Vandergraaf’s opinion is clearly less than objective.  Having said that, when you consider the changing tides in American and Canadian attitudes, it seems he might be somewhat of a visionary.

Vandergraaf is part of a group who recently opened Winnipeg’s first lounge for medicinal marihuana users.  “Vapes” on Main recently opened it’s doors in a two-storey commercial building in the 1400 block of Main Street. “It’s breaking new ground in this city, so it’s something we’re treading on very lightly at this time,” Vandergraaf said in a Winnipeg Free Press interview.

Marihuana vs Alcohol – the lesser of two evils

During the course of my career I investigated literally thousands of violent incidents which included approximately two hundred (200) homicides. I can tell you with absolute certainty that not one of the murders I investigated was committed by an offender who was high on marihuana. Conversely, an extremely high percentage of cases involved alcohol fuelled violence.  No one can reasonably suggest that marihuana is a greater societal evil than alcohol.

That fact prompted my second #canadianstalk tweet;

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 8.18.50 AM

The Harper Government can’t ignore the recent chain of events south of our border or the growing movement within our borders to legalize marihuana.

I haven’t done the research, but on the surface it seems that legalization would be a significant blow to organized crime. It would also have the side benefit of work load reduction for the Winnipeg Police Service.  Not to mention the taxation benefits and potential for new industry and job creation.

Colorado media reports indicate State budget writer’s project over $1,000,000,000 dollars in legalized marihuana sales next year.

Once you get your head wrapped around this concept, it might be time for us to start talking about another societal ill.

The debate regarding legalized prostitution rages on. The arguments for and against all seem to have some degree of merit.

As a law enforcement officer, I often questioned the law regarding the illegality of prostitution. My views of prostitutes were generally sympathetic. Most of the sex trade workers I met were drug addicted women who were trapped in never-ending cycle of 24 /7 crack cocaine binges. The insatiable hunger for the drug supersedes everything, like the need to eat or sleep, to parent or be connected to family. I can tell you first hand that it’s a tortured existence.

I essentially saw these women as victims and questioned why it was that we targeted them for arrest and detention. It seemed like a misguided form of intervention that added the stigma of a criminal record to the women caught in the Police net.

What are some of the potential benefits of legalized prostitution?

Would legalized prostitution help take women off the streets who are exposed to violent crime such as rape and murder?

Would legalized prostitution reduce the epidemic numbers of Missing & Murdered women we experience?

Would legalized prostitution undermine the efforts of organized crime to reap the benefits of illegal prostitution and human trafficking?

Would legalized prostitution expose sex trade workers to more aggressive drug addiction and health protocols?

Much like the legalization of marihuana, would legalized prostitution have significant benefits related to taxation, new industry and job creation?

The question remains, is our socially conservative society ready for this debate.

The questions related to the legalization of marihuana and prostitution are moral issues that need to be seriously considered.

The time for that conversation is now!

RELATED LINK:

Winnipeg Free Press – Larry Kusch “Medicinal Pot Users Welcome at Lounge”

FOOTNOTE:

Some people suggest that in order for legalized prostitution to work, street prostitution would have to be treated as a much more serious offence for both Johns and sex trade workers. Mandatory minimum jail sentences for Johns and an aggressive campaign to publicly disclose their identities would be strong disincentives to continue to participate in illegal street prostitution. Proponents of legalized prostitution believe the creation of “safety zones” or “red light districts” with increased Police presence can reduce violent crime against sex trade workers and help to reduce under age prostitution.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This story is an updated and edited version of a earlier post on The Power of Words.

46 Comments

  1. I’ve had epilepsy for many years. One of the many components of marijuana (CBD) is very helpful for epilepsy. I smoke a small amount each day, and have been able to reduce the most noxious of my medications to half it’s previous dose. Because of this, the quality of my life has improved many times over, and I haven’t had to hire a caregiver to help with daily living. And I haven’t gone on to do other drugs, which disproves your “gateway” theory. With all due respect to your professional experiences, I’d suggest your statement is misleading. There are many other instances of pot helping people thru chemotherapy, easing the spasms of MS, and on and on. There are studies going on in the US now to confirm the efficacy of CBDs in treating epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Please educate yourself on the medical uses of marijuana Ma’am. I think you might find it worth your while.

  2. Wayne Phillips

    https://twitter.com/_cingraham/status/474007893906178049/photo/1
    Maureen Dowd is the new 10 guy  http://t.co/QCvJHkKdXp pic.twitter.com/0PpnR1REaS — Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) June 4, 2014

    https://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/blogs/daily-buzz/social-media-goes-crazy-ny-times-maureen-dowd-190935273.html?=index&amp
    Re: Social media goes crazy for NY Times’ Maureen Dowd’s ‘bad trip’ on marijuana candy bar
    The next day, after Dowd had finally come down from her candy bar high, a medical consultant informed Dowd that the bar should have been divided into 16 pieces, especially for a non-user, like Dowd. However, as one Twitter user pointed out, the suggested serving size is not mentioned on the label, reports The Huffington Post. This leads into the ongoing debate of the safety of selling these now-legal pot products, and how easily it can end up in the hands of those who may not fare well with it. Maureen Dowd accidentally brings up a good point— noobs can get pot with no friendly guidance! — Annie-Rose Strasser (@ARStrasser) June 4, 2014

    And reading more of Dowd’s column, it’s clear that in the wrong hands, things can go quite poorly with these products:

    I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

    Dowd says the drug wore off “distressingly slowly” and admits that even though there was no warning on the label, she should have known better.

    Though she’s fully recovered from her candy bar high, reading the attacks on Twitter might make her feel at an all-time low…

    Next week: Maureen Dowd takes sixteen times the recommended dose of Acetaminophen; warns world of dangers in her final column.

    — James Ball (@jamesrbuk) June 4, 2014

  3. Wayne Phillips

    Shirley, a long term cognitive impairment is fairly obvious. That is was the result of “cannabis use” is a far cry from anything remotely considered credible. Cannabis just don’t work like that and if you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that. I’d expect if it wasn’t cannabis at the whipping post then, for you, it would be whatever the status quo bandied on about.

    You’re not the one stereotyping or labelling! Shirley, do even know what the terms mean? Your posts have been a constant barrage of stereotyping or labelling. You’re like a caricature of someone with their hands clasped over your ears spouting the mantra . . . “I’m not listening.” I think your self proclaimed title of “ball buster”, like your commentary, makes you a “legend in your own mind” and that’s the long and short of that.

    And no, Shirley, you’re not “reporting the side effects and health consequences of cannabis use.” There are legitimate websites that do do that. You’re fear mongering, plan and simple. Moreover, if you were actually concerned about keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth then you’d realize the current legislation has failed miserably to that end. The reality is you’re like the equivalent of an individual that would use either a senior or a child as a shield each and every time a drive-by shooting occurs, then when the danger has past you shake your fist like someone who gives a shit. You don’t. For reasons you yourself have stated; because you “couldn’t care less about it.” The fact is if one is truly concerned, one takes the impetus to research every last nuance of the issue (at hand). You haven’t come anywhere close to demonstrating that.

    Shirley, where LEAP is concerned my only advice to you is to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. In the past I’ve booked engagements for LEAP speakers here in Ontario; would you like an introduction to one of these outstanding individuals?

    In closing, I found the following online the other day which kind of sums it up . . .
    If you support prohibition then you’re either a black market profiteer, a terrorist, a corrupt politician, a sado-moralist, a wing-nut socialist or a fake-conservative.

    If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history, raising gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging..

    If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to addict both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Murder, Theft, Muggings and Home Invasions.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to prevent the sick and dying from obtaining safe and effective medication.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped escalate the number of people on welfare.

    If you support prohibition you’re responsible for the horrific racial disparities which have bred generations of incarcerated and disenfranchised minorities.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    If you support prohibition you’re promoting a policy which kills our children, endangers our troops, counteracts our foreign policy and reduces much of the developing world to anarchy.

    If you support prohibition then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, and the complete loss of the rule of law.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, corrupt or criminally insane.

  4. It looks choppy but the link works. Thank God.

  5. I read an interesting article on Yahoo news the other day. A very brave New York Times reporter decided to take cannabis, in Colarado, where it’s legal, for a test drive. Hint, she didn’t have a good time.

    http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/blogs/daily-buzz/social-media-goes-crazy-ny-times-maureen-dowd-190935273.html?=index&.cf3=Featured+Blog+Posts&.cf4=4&.cf5=Daily+Buzz&.cf6=/&.h=Home&.ts=1401982900&.intl=CA&.lang=en-ca

    What’s unremarkable is the negative reactions she received from the cannabis-using community, and for what? Having a bad trip and reporting as much?

    The decision to use cannabis (even medicinally) should not be taken lightly. It’s a lottery of sorts because until the drug is in YOUR body, you don’t know what specifically it will do to you.

    Not enough testing has been done on this drug. With its 25+ cancer causing carcinogens, no ones had a look at what this drug is doing to your liver. When it was approved for medicinal use, it was for end stage chronic illnesses. Since then many police officers, doctors, politicians and famous persons have taken great liberties with the medicinal use excemption, which has brought us to this place now, the option to legalize for recreational use.

    If the link doesn’t work, I’ll be back to fix it.

  6. “you certainly don’t have a clue about the legislative process…”

    No Wayne, that’s not it. I simply couldn’t care less about it. All I care about is letting people know what they’re REALLY in for should they want to try it.

    “Shirley you’re pathetic…hilarious…you polish off a fifth of houch”

    No. It’s long term cognitive impairment caused by cannabis use.

    “inane, illogical, misanthropic”

    In english folks he just said I’m a confused person who hates ALL mankind, who has nothing but empty words to offer the public. Wayne, I’ve also been called a ball buster. You be the judge.

    “The reality is the inclusion…”

    Yes, I know. I already read this in your previous post. Don’t you have anything else to add? That’s yet another side effect folks. Memory loss and repeating oneself.

    “under the pretence of good governance”

    You mean poliicians and cops who say yes to the use and sale (drug dealing) of cannabis?

    “It certainly explains your (a) stereotypically…purile notions concerning cannabis”

    I’m not the one stereotyping or labelling. I’m reporting the side effects and health consequences of cannabis use as well as advocating for the public, paticularly our youth to prevent them from starting at all.

    Who would’ve thought I would have more common sense than police officers. I’ve already had a look at LEAP. I’d noticed James G. Jewell thought they were a pretty big deal, so I had a look. Didn’t find anything useful there. But anytime LEAP officers want to take me on I’d be happy to tear a strip off of them.

  7. Wayne Phillips

    “http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis”

    at least the page states there are issues with it . . .

  8. Wayne Phillips

    Shirley, in a really pathetic way, your hilarious!!! what do you do, sit down and polish off a fifth of hooch before you post. Is it that you’re so addled in your thinking that you actually see boogeymen behind bushes, or is it that you’re paid to be belligerent. If you either don’t want to or don’t have the capacity to respond (intelligently) to queries I’ve posted then don’t, but please don’t think for one moment that your inane, illogical and misanthropic ramblings demonstrate anything but just how stymied by it all you actually are. Never mind, though, it doesn’t matter.

    You certainly don’t have a clue about the legislative history of cannabis in Canada. That’s more than obvious. If you did you’d realise that the convoluted national embarrassment which was unleashed on all Canadians in 1923 is the foundations of the current dysfunction. The reality is the inclusion of cannabis in the CDSA merely perpetuates crimes around cannabis. As such, that perpetuation not only generates an economy around “fighting” cannabis crime while providing the impetus for other robber-baron type laws like forfeiture.

    All because the initial inclusion of a proprietary medicine was consolidated as an unspecified commodity for a fraudulent reason. (There was no trafficking that needed suppression in 1923) That was what I was referring to when I mentioned the “ramifications of the societal dysfunction that came with the manufacturing of a social problem.” The House of Common Debates (among other sources) show how that evolved into what it did; current affairs tells us the rest. All under the pretence of good governance, no less.

    Of course, from the thinking of someone favoring a police state modus operandi, any law wherein excess of 65,000 people are arrested per year for the possession of a plant wouldn’t seem at all out of line! You, Shirley, have undoubtedly bought into Reefer Madness, hook, line and sinker. It certainly explains (a) your stereotypically anti-cannabis meanderings and (b) your puerile notions concerning cannabis.

    In closing, I would strongly recommend you visit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition http://www.leap.cc/ and read some of the testimonials provided. These people know what they’re talking about.

  9. Wow folks looks like Wayne may be right about the link afterall. There is a delete log in it’s place. Try this one.

    http:/en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis

    Lets see what happens with this one.

  10. Wayne Phillips;

    “misspelled wikipedia link”
    “The page…you meant to post has some issues”

    LOL. Well if it did, it doesn’t anymore.

    “not worth responding to”

    People who, generally, are misinformed don’t bother to read all of the facts. I’ve already discussed laziness as being a symptom of pot use. Thanks for demonstrating it for us Wayne.

    “milk is a gateway substance”

    [cocks eyebrow] Yeah…o-kay then. Another side effect of pot use? Magical thinking.

    “you fail to respond”

    You mean I didn’t respond the way you wanted me to. That’s another side effect of drug use, controlling behaviors, and the inability to absorb information.

    “ramifications of the societal dysfunction that came with the manufacturing of a social problem”

    Social problems are caused by poverty, drug/alcohol abuse, prejudice, racism…not arresting criminals.

    Speaking of creating problems…

    You do know what this would mean for business owners, don’t you? You’ll be forced to hire pot users. Their health problems (as a result of their drug use) will become YOUR problem. I can see it now. Obtaining doctors notes for medicinal drug use will skyrocket. Your group health insurance will be forced to cover the costs. Premiums and deductables will rise. I can see your provincial (provincial health programs) and federal taxes (CPP) going up to cover the cost. Of course the cost of policing will also go up, and because cannibus is a gateway drug, serious crime will go up too. Anyone telling you any differently is a bold faced liar.

    Lets examine some facts shall we?

    Non-pot smokers are: healthier, faster, stronger, energetic, clear headed, competent, neat, and motivated…while,

    pot users are: ill, foggy, tired and sometimes letharic, sloppy, most have bad attitudes or are introverted (amongst other glaring psycological attributes)…

    In an honest competition (for a job or in sports) who would you want batting for your team?

  11. [smiles] Good answer.

  12. Shirley,

    you need to get over your ego laden misguided bigotry and fear mongering. You again fail to respond to reasonable questions posed then saturate the topic with a misspelled Wikipedia link. The page I suspect you meant to post has some issues and as such isn’t worth responding to.

    Shirley, milk is a gateway substance! Would you prohibit that as well? People from every social and economic walk of life, from royalty to innovators in technology, to the average Joe on the street, have used cannabis, with the only major negative consequence being the possibility of arrest and the ramifications that could have.

    What you don’t seem to even want to consider are the ramifications of the societal dysfunction that came with the manufacturing of a social problem – in this instance, the criminalizing of cannabis; in particular, how precisely that has played out in the here and now, as well as the governments role in the creation of that dysfunction.

    The fact is, with the amount of cannabis that has been consumed over the last decade and which continues to be consumed on a daily basis, if cannabis was even remotely close to being fraught with the hyperbole you’ve tried to hamstring it with, urban centers would be in utter chaos. Such is not the case; major concerns are in fact about alcohol. Rightly so.

  13. James G Jewell

    Maybe I didn’t make myself clear, what I meant was I wouldn’t smoke it either way, legal or not…..but it if was legal I would grow it for a family member who is battling cancer….

    I don’t smoke weed because I’m a non-smoker…..

    I do drink alcohol but only in moderation….

    I haven’t been drunk for decades…

    I’m not big into getting high or having an altered state of mind, weed or booze….

    It’s a personal preference.

  14. James G. Jewell;

    “(legal or not) I would grow it for a family member”

    If I were a police officer and you were growing pot illegally, no matter the circumstance, I would arrest you.

    James G. Jewell, just wondering why you don’t smoke weed? Can you give us your reasons?

  15. Wayne;

    Lose the ego and EDUCATE YOURSELF:

    “Effects of Cannibus-Wikipedia
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannibus

    There’s nothing in there about the odor, but I can assure you, non-smokers will find you completely rancid.

    BTW, which drug did you try before weed Wayne?

    “Gateway”

    Let me try and explain this in a way only an active pot smoker could understand. A kid and his friend try weed after another kid supplies it to them (you MUST remember how it started for you, sound familiar?), and they like it. The new friends then try meth (or cocaine, or crack), and two, of the 3, like the harsher drug and go onto using harsh drug for a very long time, the other does not. Here’s my point Wayne. Are you ready? Of the 2 kids who make it into treatment ALL started with weed. When asked, if they could have the choice to use weed over again, would they have ever chosen to start using it in the first place? They said, no. All recovering addicts I know are completely abstinate (the successful ones). No one in recovery is singing the praise of cannibus (unless of course they’re using it, which isn’t recovery now is it). Cannibus, like alcohol, loosens ones inhibitions. People make bad choices (as you can see from the link). THATS WHY ITS A GATEWAY DRUG! Alcohol is a gateway drug too.

    Your argument that organized crime will take a hit is BS. If the government takes something away from their bottom line, they’ll just create another drug in it’s place, or they’ll sell the weed in larger quantities for less. Mark my words. It’s not beneath them to do something worse to make money off of.

    “a)”

    The experts who claim anything good about this drug, either smoke it themselves, want to sell it, or work for someone with an agenda to sell it.

    “b)”

    No it doesn’t. It’s just an exception made for medicinal use.

    “no deaths due to acute cannibus use have ever been reported”

    …and no deaths due to date rape drug use have ever been reported either,but they happen all the same. DEATH BY MISADVENTURE, sound familiar?

    “40000:1”

    …ratio, probably couldn’t kill an adult, but I wonder if injested would it kill a toddler?

    P.S. I thought that part about “the most talented, intelligent and enigmatic” pretty funny. Smoking also causes an inflation of ego, stunted emotional growth, and distorted thought processes. On the job front, these people (users of weed) are a liability to the company and the people they work with. Why do you think we have so many on-site labor deaths in Toronto?

    The fact that pro-pot police officers, judges and politicians choose to mis-lead the public doesn’t surprise me at all. They did the same thing with cigarettes.

    If a politician (anyone for that matter) is trying to pass this drug off as a safe drug, it’s a very good indication they’re a liar and do not have your best interests at heart. Someone with half a brain would be asking questions of those in recovery, not those who are actively using and are unable to make good choices for themselves.

  16. Wayne Phillips

    Shirley, not only was your original post laden with misinformation mired in bigotry, it entailed much misinformation. Furthermore, I did present some observations/questions you choose to ignore. Instead, you cite the criminal code around “possession” and some lament about if only we had more Conservative judges.

    Okay Shirley, I’ll break it down so you can get it. The first bit of misinformation you spouted was that cannabis makes one stupid and lazy and that it was a gateway substance “to all other drugs.” Considering some of the world’s most talented, intelligent and enigmatic minds which also include some of the most successful people in the world admit to indulging in cannabis it presents a significant counter-point to your bigotry laden opine. Also, the gateway theory is a product of the prohibition of cannabis itself; in a legal environment effective measures could be enacted to prevent such occurrences.

    While it is a bit off topic, did you know that a review published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in February 2001 said that “no deaths directly due to acute cannabis use have ever been reported.” The ratio of cannabis material required to produce a fatal overdose to the amount required to saturate cannabinoid receptors and cause intoxication is approximately 40,000:1 Meanwhile, 6 (legal) beers used inappropriately can and often lead to mishap, mayhem and death.

    Your other bit of misinformation entailed “Legalization won’t mean a thing to members of organized crime”. That has to be the biggest bit of hooey yet! Of course, legalization will have a major impact on organized crime because ending any significant prohibition has demonstrated a multitude of major beneficial economic effects nationwide. It will also have a significant impact on the economic considerations of that which has developed around the criminalization of cannabis. (Did you know that when this once Proprietary or Patented Medicines Act commodity was criminalized without it even being named, yet somehow after the fact, lo and behold, there it is in the Opium and Narcotic Act of ’23? . . . so much for the “integrity of Parliament”!!!)

    Again I ask, (a) if cannabis is as harmful to youth as it has been stated (by various experts) why then is it legislated in such a way that (the law) fails to safeguard youth, (b) the inclusion of cannabis in the CDSA implies the perpetuation (of the law) rather than eradication (of the plant). . . why?, and (c) because of (b) other questionable legislation (i.e., forfeiture) is enacted . . . again why?

  17. Another negative side effect of long term pot use is aggression. Thanks for demonstrating it for me Bob.

    I have PTSD and I don’t smoke weed, or advocate it’s use for persons with PTSD. It’ll just keep you stuck. But like myself, some people need to learn the hardway, so have at it.

    “Try lecturing people about their use of pharma drugs”

    I do.

    “What makes you think this medicine is any different?”

    I don’t.

  18. James G Jewell

    Unfortunately, I think cost has to be part of the discussion.

    Can we afford to keep incarcerating non-violent marihuana offenders?

    If we intend to continue in that direction is our prison system sustainable?

    These are important questions that need in depth study and analysis.

    I like the idea of a referendum, at least that way the will of the people can be determined.

  19. Oh yes the cost of putting criminals and addicts behind bars, and/or the cost of diversion programs. Lets not forget about the cost. Typical Liberal strategy.

    What we need is a national referendum on both of these topics. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. Are any of you?

  20. Argument for, not “argmentsn”.

  21. Wayne Philips > Misinformed? Created argmentsn FOR legalization? Really? That’s what you got out of what I said? What exactly did I say to bring you to that conclusion? Go ahead. Quote me.

    Criminal Code Of Canada states:

    4. (3) Possession

    (3) For the purpose of this Act.

    (a) a person has anything in possession when he/she has it in his personal possession or knowingly

    (i) has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or

    (ii) has it in any place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by him, for the use or benefit of himself or of another person, and

    (b) where one of two or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the rest has anything in his custody or possession, it shall be deemed to be in the custody of each and all of them.

    This law is straight forward. I have no power over liberal judges, politicians or police officers with a pro-pot stance. Just know, it does not reflect the will of the people (that’s why the Conservatives are in power now). If we had Conservative judges, and so on, the lay of the land would look very different. Why do you think the opposition fought so hard to keep that Conservatve Quebec judge from the SCOC?

  22. “Wish I could feel sympathy for the former police Staff Sergeant but I do not. In fact I’m furious… I’m assuming you have a drug card system in Manitoba?”

    Guess I won’t ask you about Cpl. Ron Francis of the RCs who has PTSD then, it’s clear you’re an anti-medicine bigot (as are most horsemen… that Depot brainwashing is strong) so any education is wasted, so when it comes to other people using this LEGAL medicine, just STFU and MYOB. Our department lost six figures out of our budget paying for lunkheads who were sued because their personal prejudice doesn’t match the Charter. Oh, FYI, the cards haven’t been issued for several years now, the forms are pink and legal sized and with the Allard v. Canada injunction, are now valid indefinitely.

    Try lecturing people about their use of pharma drugs like oxy and see what kind of a reaction you’ll get. What makes ypu think this medicine is is any different?

    Bob8307

  23. James G Jewell

    Many people in criminal justice are starting to question the logic of criminalizing thousands of Canadian citizens for using, growing or trafficking in marihuana.

    With the costs of incarceration growing at a ridiculous pace, many people believe the jails should be reserved for violent and habitual offenders.

    Trudeau’s legalize pot strategy might get him a few extra votes but I don’t think he’s going to completely flip the social values of our generally conservative Country.

    As for time frame, Government officials will never get it done in two years. If I’m wrong, props to you!

  24. James G Jewell

    I can’t make observations without being pigeon holed into a pro legalization position.

    I’m not blind to the evolution of our society and the changes that are coming.

    That certainly doesn’t mean I am pro anything.

    I’ll never smoke it (legal or not) but I would grow it for a family member who’s fighting a battle with cancer.

    Since I retired I’m growing a lot of veggies, ornamental grasses and other plants and have developed quite the green thumb.

  25. Yes, and kids don’t start drinking or smoking until they are of legal age because that’s the law.

  26. 10 Years? Since I am one of the ones who is personally suing the government (one of over 200 and growing using the John Turmel Kit), I know the law is falling NOW. The Crown is losing case after case unless you get someone stupid enough to plead to lesser charges. They have let go of cases rather than have them press on and prove the law dead. 2 years or less. Trudeau may not have to do a thing, the law may get changed sooner then the next election.

  27. Mateo > Don’t get me wrong. People like YOU can choke on it for all I care. All I’m interested in is protecting teens from starting at all, because pot smoking is the first step for many into a life of serious addictions, crime, jail and death. I’m willing to bet, if we asked heavy drug users, if they could choose over, would they have ever lite up, most would say no.

    I’ve decided not to comment on the rest of your statement because clearly you have no idea what I’ve been trying to say.. For anyone truly interested, they can check out my statements and see what I really said. Your inability to retain information from one thread to the next is not my problem.

  28. In response to Mateo, James G. Jewell said:

    “Not to worry.
    We’re going to see legal pot…” ENTHUSIASM.

    “The majority of marihuana smokers I’ve encountered use it in moderation and don’t let it ruin their lives.” JUSTIFICATION.

    Sounds like you’re for it to me.

  29. You misjudge me Shirley.

    I’m far from passionate about legalization.

    As a realist, I see the change is coming so I think we need to start having a serious discussion about it.

    The proof will come in time…

    I give it a ten year window in Canada.

  30. Yeah, I don’t know about that James. Only 12 likes out of 144 views. If people are so passionate about legalization of maijuana (like yourself), they’re not showing their love on this thread.

    I’ll be back later (have to go out) to respond to your other two friends. There is so much wrong with their reading comprehension skills (and it’s no wonder, they smoke weed) I just don’t have the time right now. [shakes head]

  31. Wayne Phillips

    Thank you for the article and your comments James.

    The history of how cannabis, initially a Proprietary or Patented Medicines Act commodity, was “consolidated” into the Opium & Narcotic Drug Act of 1923 is nothing short of an appalling travesty.

    http://www.cfdp.ca/giffen.htm

  32. James G Jewell

    Shirley;

    I think we’re having a “love / hate” relationship.

    Kidding :).

  33. James G Jewell

    No one can accuse you of sitting on the fence.

    I did a radio spot yesterday on this topic and the issue of gateway drugs came up.

    I highly doubt legalization will change how people choose to use marihuana or whether or not they’ll make the choice to use other more addictive drugs.

    The majority of marihuana smokers I’ve encountered use the drug in moderation and don’t let it destroy their lives.

    I can’t say the same for alcohol.

    The scene has been set for a great national debate and I’m going to very much enjoy it.

    Not to worry.

    We’re going to see legal pot decades before we see legal prostitution.

    Thank you for commenting.

  34. James G Jewell

    I remember when society railed against rock and roll.

    It was the devils music.

    Societal evolution fascinates me.

    Thank you for commenting.

  35. James G Jewell

    Valid points.

    Thank you for commenting.

  36. James G Jewell

    I agree, no point in living in denial.

    Time to start looking forward.

    Thank you for commenting.

  37. James G Jewell

    It seems your opinion is becoming the majority view.

    Thank you for commenting.

  38. Greetings Shirley,
    You have me stumped… I can’t decide where you’re coming from or where you’re going with some of your comments. In a different thread only 12 hours ago, you talk about prostitutes being assaulted and make it sound like they are helpless victims of circumstance, “predisposed” to a hard life on the streets where police officers refuse to help them. Then on this thread, you suggest:
    “Legalize prostitution? Uh uh. NO WAY! There will NEVER be a good argument for the sale of men, women or children. I don’t feel police officers should take on the role of pimp/body guard (police will be paid to protect them) just to secure the safety of prostitutes (on the taxpayers dime, no less). We shouldn’t be changing our laws to accomodate a small group of individuals. The public does not know enough about the sextrade and the negative impact it has on society (although in neighborhoods where the trade exists, you can hear some pretty colorful dialogue about it) for them to give the politicians any informed opinions prior to legalization. If prostitutes feel unsafe (their ONLY argument), they can find another line of work. There is no reason for anyone to work in this profession today.”
    And by the way, police are paid to protect all citizens.
    Now, onto your marijuana diatribe. It’s people like you who like to concern yourself with what others do in the privacy of their own home. You have suggested that your personal opinion of marijuana is shared by all. You assert that it smells bad. That is your opinion, I find the smell of Burger King repulsive, so guess what, I don’t eat there. You suggest that all people who use the drug become stupid, lazy, hungry and sleepy. It seems your experiences are different than mine. The hardest working, most ambitious and successful people in my life enjoy smoking marijuana (no I’m not talking about the kids who have a bong attached to their lips 24 hrs. /day). I’m not suggesting all people who smoke it possess these traits; however, you can’t simply paint everyone with your misinformed brush. If after I work a full day (pay my taxes), make supper for my family, shuttle the kids to hockey, baseball, etc. come home, help the kids with their homework, shovel the driveway/cut the grass, get some laundry done, etc. I decide to kick back and drink a few beers and have a smoke, that isn’t anybody’s business.
    The government and the antiquated laws of the land have fooled everybody. The old bait and switch. Liquor is good (tax revenue$$$) gambling is good (ching ching$$$) tobacco is great (tax man happy $$) highly addictive pain medication such as Percocet, Xanax, klonopin, valium, oxycodone, Demerol, etc. all good ($$$$$ cha-ching). But we are led to believe smoking the marijuana plant is evil. The government should refocus it’s efforts in solving the fast food epidemic, obesity, GMO foods, etc. The North American diet is the biggest threat to our next generation not a plant. When the government figures out how to regulate and tax marijuana, it will be good, and the next generations will be looking upon our current laws with disbelief.

  39. Shirley, you make a pretty good case for the total repeal of cannabis from the CDSA entirely or to have it transitioned to the Natural Health Product branch of the FDA. The only problem with that is you did so by way of misinformation.

    That misinformation, however, does gives rise to some interesting observations/questions such as: (a) if cannabis is as harmful to youth as it has been stated (by various experts) why then is it legislated in such a way that (the law) fails to safeguard youth, (b) the inclusion of cannabis in the CDSA implies perpetuation (of the law) rather than eradication (of the plant), and (c) because of (b) other questionable legislation (i.e., forfeiture) is enacted.

  40. James G. Jewell, you are awesome! Thank you.

  41. These two topics never fail to get a rise out of me. I read it late last night and I opted for sleep as opposed to posting what might have been an over-reactive response. LOL. I dreamt I was checking peoples ID’s against their drug card information (I’ve never seen one in reality).

    What moral delimma? It smells bad, it makes people stupid, lazy, hungry and sleepy, but it works exceptionally well for pain (nothing else). It’s also the gateway drug to all other drugs. Solid, knowledgeable healthcare professionals who work in treatment and detox centres will tell you it’s true (unless of course their funding is threatened, then they’ll say anything the politicians want them to).

    Legalization won’t mean a thing to members of organized crime. You take away weed, they’ll just create something else to make money off of, and we all know it’s going to be something more disgustingly dangerous which will wreck havoc on the system, our safety and our physical well being.

    Legalize prostitution? Uh uh. NO WAY! There will NEVER be a good argument for the sale of men, women or children. I don’t feel police officers should take on the role of pimp/body guard (police will be paid to protect them) just to secure the safety of prostitutes (on the taxpayers dime, no less). We shouldn’t be changing our laws to accomodate a small group of individuals. The public does not know enough about the sextrade and the negative impact it has on society (although in neighborhoods where the trade exists, you can hear some pretty colorful dialogue about it) for them to give the politicians any informed opinions prior to legalization. If prostitutes feel unsafe (their ONLY argument), they can find another line of work. There is no reason for anyone to work in this profession today. FYI – I was forced into the trade when I was a teenager, so if you’re looking to post in favor of prostitution, expect me to engage you in conversation.

    If the Harper gov’t moves towards the legalization of prostitution or pot, people like myself, will have no use for the Conservative party (yes, I am a bleeding heart Conservative), as I, and others, will drastically switch political positions to the NDP. If we’re forced into this nonsense, at least the NDP will make available the social programs people are definitely going to need. Programs YOU’RE going to pay for.

    I wish I could feel sympathy for the former police Staff Sergeant but I do not. In fact I’m furious. I couldn’t care less what kind of a job he did while working for the WPS (he was probably a pot head then too). All that matters in life is who you are today (isn’t that what we teach teens and adults who are trying to turn their lives around?). The former Staff Sergeant is a pot growing, pot smoking rebel who feels he is above the law. I’m assuming you have a drug card system in Manitoba? If he and his family were so ill, they could’ve been carded. Nothing ticks me off more than a police officer or a former police officer who sets a bad example for society. This man got special treatment, as he wasn’t subject to the same discipline as a civilian. Everytime something like this happens our legal system gets watered down.

  42. Wayne Phillips

    It is one thing to enact laws based on legitimate causes for concern, it is quite another to enact legislation with the intent of not only manufacturing a social problem, but also, doing it in such a way that it denies medical properties all while legislatively legitimizing an enterprise of criminalization. Yet that is precisely what happened when “there is a new drug in the schedule”

    http://parl.canadiana.ca/view/oop.debates_HOC1402_02/1?r=0&s=1
    House of Commons Debates, 14th Parliament, 2nd Session: Vol. 2, page 1136, 14th of March, 1923, under the title, “Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill” [image 112] &
    http://parl.canadiana.ca/view/oop.debates_HOC1402_03/1?r=0&s=1
    House of Commons Debates, 14th Parliament, 2nd Session: Vol. 3, pages 2114-2124, [images 70–80]

  43. I’m not so sure it’s a moral dillema but perhaps we’re made to feel that way due to the government stigmatizing this plant for so long. Marihuana, like other drugs, can be usd responsibly and therapeutically. You’ve already pointed out what every cop in the world would agree with you on, which is the destructive effects of alcohol.

    I’m personally much more concerned about the “legal or prescription” drugs that are pumped out of massive pharmaceutical companies. Some of these legal drugs have a much more serious effect on people’s behaviour, and have the potential to abused, sold etc.

    Yup, the train is coming and I’m glad common sense is starting to prevail over decades worth of big brother telling us what is good and bad for us.

  44. Although I always enjoy your use of metaphor to illustrate a point, I find it quite interesting that an organization like the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police can’t seem to see that northbound train. As you rightly point out, if Americans can see this coming, it should be patently obvious to even the most hidebound of Harper’s inner circle. And yet, instead we see the increased criminalization of “controlled substances.”

    Bill Vandergraaf’s legal ordeal ended in 2008 with a 1 year conditional discharge for the production charge. He was never charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, as is common with production charges. The discharge is very uncommon, prompting me to conclude that the Judge hearing the matter had some sympathy for either Bill’s background or his unabashed stance in accepting responsibility without admitting guilt. Or maybe it was a combination of both.

    Clearly, there exist pitfalls in rewriting the law in this area, and there will need to be long and thoughtful consideration with all stakeholders – public, police, addictions counselors, etc. – to arrive at an effective decriminalization/legalization that recognizes the need for some degree of regulation over unfettered access.

    The sooner the conversation begins, the better off we all will be.

  45. James I am so glad you posted an article regarding this topic. Just because big government says something is wrong doesn’t mean it is. I am so glad Bill Vandergraaf is standing tall and fighting for what is right. The government better wake the hell up and realize prohibition doesn’t work. Oh yes it sure worked great on alcohol didn’t it, until the government realized they could make billions off the product. Then all of a sudden the product wasn’t so bad was it. I am also so glad it’s a former cop pushing for this. The fact is even some police must know some of our laws are a comple ass. One of Winnipeg’s finest used to tell me that all the time. R.I.P. Harry Kautz.

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