Police Chief Slams Legal Pot Plan

Police Chief Slams Legal Pot Plan
Posted by CN Staff on September 05, 2002 at 09:56:24 PT
By Tim Naumetz, Southam Newspapers 
Source: Edmonton Journal 
A Senate committee has unanimously called for the legalization of marijuana, with government-licensed production and sale of the drug to any Canadian citizen over the age of 16.The proposal could lead the way to marijuana being sold in government-run stores or even corner groceries, like tobacco or wine, said Conservative Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin, chairman of a special committee that conducted a two-year investigation into the use of cannabis.
Nolin and the committee's co-chairman, Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, said Wednesday all inquiry members agreed more harm than good is being done by making marijuana possession a criminal offence."Whether or not an individual uses marijuana should be a personal choice that is not subject to criminal penalties," Nolin said, adding the committee believed keeping the drug illegal, but subject to non-criminal laws, would not end its production and distribution by organized crime gangs."We have come to the conclusion that, as a drug, it should be regulated by the state as much as we do for wine and beer, hence our preference for legalization over decriminalization," Nolin said.Edmonton police Chief Bob Wasylyshen said he was "very surprised that the Senate committee would have taken such a large leap on this issue, in making that sort of a recommendation." He expected an initial step towards decriminalization, coupled with the introduction of a national drug strategy and prevention program."Yet, they seem to be advocating outright legalization, which I think is very troubling," he said."To simply make a recommendation to legalize marijuana without having the framework of some sort of a national drug policy built around it, doesn't seem reasonable to me."We already have a great deal of problems with alcohol consumption and abuse. We already have a lot of health and social issues regarding tobacco use. Now we're talking about perhaps legalizing the use of a drug that has been very controversial. The direction that I would hope we would be going is to advocate for a drug free society."Wasylyshen noted that the DARE program run by the Edmonton police discourages drug use of any kind among teens."What a mixed message," this is, he said. "It seems like a large leap on this particular issue that has come rather unexpectedly."The Senate committee also called for an amnesty for any person who has been convicted of cannabis possession under current or past legislation, which could include freeing prisoners serving time solely for a marijuana-possession offence.Nolin and Kenny, however, insisted the committee does not want to promote the use of marijuana, particularly by young people."Make no mistake, we are not endorsing cannabis use for recreational consumption," said Nolin, who called on the government to begin the process of legalization by announcing a new drug policy this fall and holding a conference of provincial governments and experts.The Canadian Police Association denounced the committee's recommendations, saying Nolin and his colleagues began the study with the belief that marijuana possession should be legalized and set about to prove their case. "We are appalled but not surprised," said David Griffin, the association's executive officer. The committee report "is nothing more than a back-to-school gift for drug pushers." The Senate committee released a 600-page report detailing testimony and quoting studies it said "overwhelmingly" indicate marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and should be treated as a social and public-health issue rather than a criminal matter."Domestic and international experts and Canadians from every walk of life told us loud and clear that we should not be imposing criminal records on users or unduly prohibiting personal use of cannabis," Nolin said.The report said that as far as cannabis is concerned, only behaviour causing demonstrable harm to others should be prohibited. The areas were illegal trafficking, selling to young people under age 16 and impaired driving. The committee estimated governments spend $300 million to $500 million annually enforcing laws against marijuana and recommended the money be re-directed into drug-abuse programs, preventive-health programs and border surveillance once marijuana is legalized.Suggesting law officers spend too much time and resources enforcing marijuana laws, the committee said 43 per cent of drug-related cases now are for simple possession of marijuana.Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use among youth in the world, with 225,000 young people in the 12-17 age group using the drug daily, the committee said. About one million youth in the same age bracket have used cannabis in the previous year.Note: Proposal could lead to drug being sold in government-run stores: Senate Committee Urges Marijuana Legalization.With files from Journal Staff Writer Mark SpectorSource: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)Author: Tim Naumetz, Southam Newspapers Published: Thursday, September 05, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Edmonton JournalContact: letters thejournal.southam.caWebsite: Articles:Canadian Senate Panel Calls For Legalization Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em The High Road 
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Comment #5 posted by VitaminT on September 07, 2002 at 04:52:52 PT
That's encouraging Phasetheory
but what is the source? I want to believe that rank and file cops are not in lock step with prohibition but I'd like to see some hard numbers. If I was a cop, would I sit still and let Police Chief Anslinger speak for me? The answer to that question would explain why I'm not a cop!I hear that in Dallas two and possibly more narco-cops are in crap up to their badges for hiring snitches to plant chalk laced with Cocaine on, so far, 13 INNOCENT Mexican laborers. That is what I call CRIME! And somehow these cops were benefitting from framing people - that speaks to a systemic corruption.Now, what is it in the culture of the police that makes this possible? The pat answer in this circle is 'prohibition corrupts police' - but this isn't a typical case of a cop being tempted to swipe a bag of contraband from the evidence locker.There is a deep crisis with the police in this country and I don't doubt that it starts at the top but I want to hear and see the groundswell from the good cops who are NOT pumped up on roids, who are NOT racists, who do NOT take sick pleasure in brutality, who know that TEST-A-LYING is LYING, etc. etc. etc.
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Comment #4 posted by Phasetheory on September 06, 2002 at 19:24:39 PT
You almost got it...
Yes, the leaders of the police are the ones that can't be trusted. But what about the actual police officers? Any anonomous poll of police officers shows over 50% support for the legalization of marijuana. This is very revealing because less than half of the total US population disagrees with legalization. Think about it. The police officers themselves don't benefit has much as the higher-ups from the drug war.
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Comment #3 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on September 05, 2002 at 15:54:38 PT
My LTE re: this article
Sirs,  Of course the police don't want to see marijuana legally regulated. The drug war gives them too many powers. The power to imprison people they don't like simply by finding (or planting) drugs on them. The power to turn a blind eye to the drug trade - for the right price. The power to make 100% profit for minimal effort, by selling confiscated drugs and property. The power to ask for more and more taxpayer money to buy guns and helicopters to be used against those same taxpayers.  We should pay no attention to what the police have to say about what should or should not be legal. Their job is not to make laws, their job is to enforce them. As a matter of fact, anyone who profits from the drug war and then says they support it obviously has a major conflict of interest.  Canada should also pay no attention to anything the United States government has to say regarding their decision. Canada, last I looked, was a soverign nation, and should start acting like one. The USA has turned itself into the world's police somehow, although I don't remember the world asking for this favor.   The day after the Senate Committee's announcement, the US Federal Government was back at work, arresting people in California who grow medical marijuana. The feds think that allowing medical marijuana is a "stalking horse" for legalization. Perhaps they're right - once a large segment of the population is free to use marijuana, the evidence of its relative harmlessness will be even more obvious, and more and more people will question our leaders and their failed policies.
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on September 05, 2002 at 10:39:25 PT:
Agreed ...
I've said it in here before, I say it again ...Police have lost all credibility with me and so should have with all ...I care not one whit what a cop thinks about the drug issue whether pro or con, and demand they shut the f**k up and go arrest someone who is truly harming society.
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Comment #1 posted by st1r_dude on September 05, 2002 at 10:28:02 PT
another marooooon
i quote from above:"The direction that I would hope we would be going is to advocate for a drug free society"yeah, that's about as feasible as me going to the nearest star on a 757...what an idiot...and what makes him think this will happen in his mind is this irrational thinking process:we'll arrest all the users and providers until they're all in the slammer...that's the ticket...yeah - i'm a cop, let's arrest someone...wooo hooo -that's why the cops are against this...why are the journalists even publishing what the cops say - they don't make the laws, they're supposed to enforce them...we shouldn't even CARE what the cops think of what the senate is recommending for canadians...yeah, i know - if cannabis is legalized, they'll have to work harder deterring REAL crimes - oh no - they might get hurt doing that...isn't that bad...sheesh.not st1d yet
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