Category

Drug Policy

Government should declare a moratorium on marijuana arrests and prosecutions today:

By | Drug Policy, Erb4Herb, News Media, Political

NORML Canada Logo

NORML Canada

(Ottawa, Ontario – February 23, 2016) — The federal government should instruct police forces and Crown Prosecutors across Canada immediately to halt all criminal investigations, charges and prosecutions related to simple possession of marijuana while it proceeds with its initiative to legalize the plant, according to Canada’s oldest advocate for the reform of cannabis laws.

“Since everyone agrees that is well past time to end the criminalization of cannabis,” Dr. Craig Jones, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada (NORML Canada) said, “and the only point of discussion left is how to do it, it seems cruel to continue criminalizing more Canadians.”

“It is like refusing to fix a leaking faucet because you intend to renovate the bathroom … one day soon. It just doesn’t make sense.”

According to Dr. Jones, the government has identified several “stumbling blocks” to immediate legalization — which formed a major plank in its policy platform in its 2015 election campaign and an important promise in its Speech from the Throne — and claims it must resolve these issues before it can proceed with legalization.

These so-called stumbling blocks were identified in the Liberal Party’s January 2013 discussion paper, “Legalization of Marijuana – Answering Questions and Developing a Framework” (https://bc.liberal.ca/files/2013/01/DRAFT-Marijuana-Policy-Paper-Jan-13.pdf), which also provided practical ways to overcome obstacles such as those related to international conventions to which Canada is signatory.

“I urge all Canadians with an interest in stopping the further criminalization of Canadians for using cannabis – and particularly those in the Senate who will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this topic — to read the Liberal Party’s policy paper on legalizing marijuana,” Dr. Jones said. “It answers most, if not all, the questions that have been raised about how best to proceed. Once it stops needlessly criminalizing Canadians, the Government can then take the time it needs to work out the details and enact legislation.”

“Why not take the millions of dollars it takes to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate people for a crime no one thinks should exist and invest that money on government programs and services that actually help people?”

This is at least the third time that a political party/government has promised to stop criminalizing Canadians for cannabis use (1979 Progressive Conservative Party election platform; the Liberal Government Throne Speech; the 2015 Liberal Party election platform / 2015 Liberal Government Throne Speech), according to Dr. Jones.

“What Canadians need is for the government to declare an immediate moratorium and get on with it,” Dr. Jones said. “What we don’t need is more study leading to a concept for a proposal for a framework for a green paper leading to a white paper leading to …”

Dr. Jones will be attending the Senate Open Caucus on Marijuana Legalization on Wednesday 24 February and will be available for interviews following the meeting.

– 30 –

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Dr. Craig Jones, PhD
Executive Director
NORML Canada
(613) 331-1712
craig@craigjones.ca


February 24, 2016—Legalization of Marijuana

By | Drug Policy

Liberal Senate Forum Legalize

Our discussion is not only open to all parliamentarians, but also to the public, who are welcome to attend in person or follow along and contribute via social media at @LibSenate on Twitter.

If you would like to attend, please contact Mike Delaney at Michael.Delaney@sen.parl.gc.ca

The serious concern is the panel does not include any drug policy reform organizations like NORML Canada, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition or Canadian Harm Reduction Network.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada (NORML Canada) is a non-profit, public interest, volunteer operated, publicly funded organization, chartered at the federal level in Canada since 1978.

NORML Canada seeks through government lobbying, public education, and member mobilization to end the criminal prohibition on cannabis use and cannabis growing. NORML Canada believes that the criminal prohibition on cannabis has been harmful, expensive, ineffective and unjust.

http://norml.ca/
http://drugpolicy.ca/
http://canadianharmreduction.com/


Conservative leader flip flops on legalization?

By | Drug Policy, Political

The current Conservative party interim leader until 2017 Rona Ambrose has been talking up ridiculous reefer madness for several years now. In 2015 the Conservatives spent 7 million on anti marijuana legalization advertising campaign, using Health Canada in an attempt to legitimize their reefer madness nonsense. They went so far as to accuse Justin Trudeau of wanting to make cannabis easily available to children, by selling it in corner stores near schools.

Canadian doctors at the College of Family Physicians and Surgeons, the Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada refused to endorse the Conservative reefer madness advertising campaign stating the messaging was clearly political.

So it did come as a surprise when the media headline published by Civilized Life on January 21 was “Surprise! Rona Ambrose Changes Her Mind On Legalization”. The comment by Rona Ambrose in an interview by Simi Sara of Vancouver’s CKNW on Jan. 20 was “I hope that the faster they move on this (legalization), the better because the proliferation of pot dispensaries is quite large. So it’s moved now not just in Vancouver but across the country. And they’re unregulated. So the sooner they can move on that the better to protect kids.” Ambrose claimed the Conservative 7 million spent on the anti marijuana legalization (reefer madness nonsense) advertising campaign was the evidence she could provide..

Now to be fair to Civilized Life and other media reports many people did find some of the Ambrose’s comments during the interview confusing. Add Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary wrote on Twitter with the hashtag “#chutzpah.” “Health minister who spent millions of your $ on misleading ads against pot wants us to legalize faster,”.


Alberta’s premier cautious on legalizing marijuana

By | Drug Policy, News Media, Political

December 20, 2015
James Wood – Calgary Herald
Premier Rachel Notley says she has mixed feelings about the Trudeau government’s pledge to legalize marijuana even as a federal Liberal cabinet minister says action is coming soon on the campaign promise.
calgaryherald.com/news/politics/albertas-premier-cautious-on-legalizing-marijuana

Rachel Notley is a intelligent woman but her politician part is still fearful of publicly supporting drug policy reforms. That being said I was not surprised politician Kent Hehr being a intelligent man is comfortable with following what the history, evidence and science have very clearly shown. All history of failed criminalize and punishment drug prohibition policies (1923 for cannabis) and then increasing to a drug war with zero tolerance and mandatory minimum prison sentences drug policies has clearly shown it has only created vastly more harms to our communities and our families then all illegal drugs.

Legalizing cannabis will not only greatly reduce harm to all our families and communities but will allow for a much safer way to actually control with regulations. Continuing to allow the controlled by the most violent criminal prohibition type policies will continue to fail miserably as history has shown us. Legalize and regulate policies will not only free up expensive police resources it will make our communities safer. Add the savings in justice system costs. The savings could be used for a huge boost of funds for education, health care and other social services. Some of the costs saved could even reduce the heavy burden of taxes we all are force to pay. Which has been used to help fund the Stephen Harper type reefer madness insanity. Educate with scientific evidence only is the really responsible thing to do.

August 12, 2015 International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. Scientists speak out against false cannabis claims and Using Evidence to Talk About Cannabis.
Leading international scientific body reviews thirteen oft-repeated claims on cannabis use and regulation, finds that none are strongly supported by scientific evidence

October 2014 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) released yet a another evidence based study called Cannabis Framework Policy. The CAMH study like so many other past evidence based drug policy studies conclusions lead to prohibition of cannabis is a seriously flawed drug control policy.

September 2002 Senate Report on Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy. Page 617. A Regulatory Approach to Cannabis
“We believe, however, that the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than the regulated marketing of the substance. In addition, we believe that the continued criminalization of cannabis undermines the fundamental values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and borne out by the history of a country based on diversity and tolerance.


Rabid prohibitionist Pamela McColl breaks the law with her SAM effort

By | Drug Policy

Prohibit cannabisRabid prohibitionist Pamela McColl breaks the law with her efforts to force police to punish people involved in cannabis community activities. When her relentless complaints to Vancouver Police Department about non profit medical cannabis organizations selling medical cannabis products in Vancouver BC were ignored she branch out to the RCMP and even other provinces. Medical cannabis organizations in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Halifax, Nanaimo, Vernon and likely others have been raided by the RCMP to close down these organizations.

Dec. 3 quote and letter from attorney Kirk Tousaw to rabid prohibitionist Pamela McColl from Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada

Kirk Tousaw criminal defence lawyer, B.A., LL.B., wrote

“My letter of today’s date to Ms. Pamela McColl regarding Duncan Dabfest.”


If cannabis were legal in Canada (CMAJ)

By | Drug Policy, News Media

Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)

Interview with Dr. Sheryl Spithoff, addiction medicine specialist and family physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. In a CMAJ analysis article, Dr. Spithoff and colleagues look at policies in jurisdictions where cannabis has already been legalized. A Canadian government formed after October 2015 may move away from prohibitionist policies and create a legal framework for cannabis. If so, public health promotion and protection must be the primary goals.

SoundCloud audio interview with Dr. Sheryl Spithoff here

Full article (subscription required): www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.150657

CBC News – Marijuana prohibition can do more harm than good, doctors tell federal parties


International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

By | Drug Policy

Scientists speak out against false cannabis claims

Leading international scientific body reviews thirteen oft-repeated claims on cannabis use and regulation, finds that none are strongly supported by scientific evidence

ICSDP reviews thirteen oft-repeated claims on cannabis use and regulation and finds that none are strongly supported by scientific evidence

Dr. Dan Werb wins inaugural $1.5 million Avenir Award from US National Institute on Drug Abuse and is named Director of the ICSDP

At the United Nations in New York, the ICSDP shares scientific evidence suggesting that prohibition has been ineffective at protecting youth


Harper claims not facts!

By | Drug Policy, News Media

CTVNEWS.CA – Fact check: Harper’s statements on illegal drugs

Today decriminalize is nothing more then a net widening effect for the police. The decriminalize option might have been better received in 1972 when the Le Dain Commission Report was released in 1972.

Since 1972 there has been a larger number of real evidence based drug policy studies found prohibition type drug policies have failed miserable and to end prohibition drug polices which will reduce the harms created by decades of failed prohibition based drug policies.

September 2002 Senate Report on Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy http://norml.ca/senate-report/ and more recently in October 2014 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) released yet a another evidence based study called Cannabis Framework Policy. http://camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/influencing_public_policy/Documents/CAMHCannabisPolicyFramework.pdf

The CAMH study like so many other past evidence based drug policy studies(1) conclusions lead to prohibition of cannabis is a seriously flawed drug control policy. Legalizing cannabis will not only greatly reduce harm to our families and communities but will allow for a much safer way to actually have some control with regulations.

No need to reinvent the wheel either. Copy the beer and wine regulations. Selling on a commercial level the products provided are regulated the same as beer and wine are now. The regulations allow people to produce their own beer and wine while also providing for private for profit businesses to sell regulated products produced in a regulated commercial facility.

Advertising in the media shouldn’t be allowed. Stop allowing alcohol advertising would also help reduce the harm caused from irresponsible use of alcohol products.

Hyper over regulation and or taxation is not the answer either if we really want to gain more control. Avoiding over regulation and or taxation will help reduce the violent criminal gangs current complete control of the cannabis market.

Educate with only evidence based facts starting with cannabis is a safer recreational drug then alcohol, coffee and many other currently legal substances.

Then use the huge amount of law enforcement resources that would become available to be more proactive in stopping crimes then just reactive after people have become victims of harm from another. Colorado has shown huge increase of tax revenue, a reduction in crime and law enforcement costs.

(1)
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition Getting To Tomorrow: A Report on Canadian Drug Policy – 2013 http://drugpolicy.ca/progress/getting-to-tomorrow/

The report of the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy. Final report: Drugs facing facts – March 2007
http://www.rsadrugscommission.org/

Canadian Public Health Association 2007 Resolutions
http://www.cpha.ca/uploads/resolutions/2007_e.pdf

The Fraser Institute – Vancouver B.C. Marijuana Growth in British Columbia – May 2004
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/product_files/Marijuana.pdf

Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs – 2002
http://norml.ca/senate-report/

The Le Dain Commission Report 1972
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/ledain/ldctoc.html

Nixon’s Shaffer Commission report March 1970
http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

The La Guardia Committee Report – 1944
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/lag/lagmenu.htm

Media stories:
Marijuana should be legalized with strict controls to curb its use and social harms, the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says.
CBC News October 9, 2014
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/camh-calls-for-legalization-of-marijuana-1.2793460

The Inside Agenda Blog
CAMH Backs Legalized Marijuana
Sandra Gionas, October 9, 2014
http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/camh-backs-legalized-marijuana