Pot Busts Jump Despite Decriminalization Intent

Pot Busts Jump Despite Decriminalization Intent
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2004 at 09:40:37 PT
By Betsy Powell, Crime Reporter
Source: Toronto Star 
While Parliament flirted with decriminalizing marijuana in recent years, cannabis busts across the country have jumped to a 20-year high, Statistics Canada said yesterday.The increase was largely the result of an 80 per cent jump in the number of police arrests for cannabis possession from 1992 to 2002. The number of trafficking offences declined during that period, according to a report released by the government agency, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
Over-all in 2002, police laid 93,000 charges related to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Two-thirds of them were for possession, 22 per cent were for trafficking and the remainder were for offences involving importation and production.Three-quarters of drug charges were cannabis related  72 per cent of them for possession, the report said. The age group charged most frequently were youths aged 18 to 24, followed by youths aged 12 to 17.There were more drug charges in British Columbia in 2002 than in any other province, almost double the national rate. Among cities, Thunder Bay had the highest rate of police-reported drug offences (571 per 100,000) compared to the Toronto Police Service rate of (211 per 100,000).Thunder Bay Police Chief Robert Herman said yesterday the rate of drug arrests in the Northern Ontario city of about 110,000 jumped dramatically during the 1990s after the force put more resources into drug enforcement efforts with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ontario Provincial Police."We do a lot of enforcement. .. (and) we do have a drug problem here like they do in many other communities," he said in a telephone interview.Despite registering the highest level of drug busts among Canadian cities, Herman said police in Thunder Bay  and all other jurisdictions  are just "scratching the surface" when it comes to the scope of the illegal drug trade. "We always know regardless of what we seize in quantity of drugs there is a lot more out there," he said. "My view is we need more education programs. We need more treatment programs. Unless you can get something where these people can go into treatment to break the cycle it's just endless and I don't think enforcement is the answer."Toronto lawyer Alan Young, a law professor, author and leading authority on drug prosecutions, said the police statistics crunched by the Centre for Justice Statistics highlight a discrepancy between public attitudes and policing priorities. "It's really doing a disservice to Canadians if these figures are representing a law enforcement priority in the last decade because this is not what Canadians seem to want and it's just inconsistent with the political discussion going on," he said."Instead, they should be trying to figure out how to reallocate some of their money that relates to cannabis law enforcement to things that matter to Canadians, like sexual assault enforcement and robbery."Most troubling, he added, is that it seems that law enforcers appear to be targeting the users, not the suppliers, when "going after the users never does anything in terms of the supply issue."A ruling in December from the Supreme Court of Canada upheld current marijuana laws, but the Liberals under Prime Minister Paul Martin appear to be committed to partial decriminalization. In a year-end television interview shortly after the ruling was released, Martin repeated his intention to revive the decriminalization bill, first proposed under former prime minister Jean Chretien, that would lift criminal penalties for those caught with "a very small quantity" of pot  15 grams or less.The law now provides up to six months in jail or fines of up to $1,000 on summary conviction. If the crown chooses to prosecute a pot possession charge as an indictable offence, a conviction could bring a jail term of up to seven years. Even the federal government has acknowledged that the law is unevenly enforced across the country.Note: Increase related to arrests for pot possession -- Thunder Bay is city with most drug offencesSource: Toronto Star (CN ON)Author: Betsy Powell, Crime ReporterPublished: February 24, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star Contact: lettertoed Website: Related Articles:Too Much Police Time Going To Pot? Crime Rate at a 20-Year High Drug Users Going To Jail, Statscan Finds
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Comment #5 posted by Virgil on February 25, 2004 at 13:48:20 PT
Think of the children my ass, give them mercury
Bush defers Mercury regs for 10 years so as to harm 630,000 kids per year Moveon has sent out info on the latest Bush corporate ass-kiss, where under energy industry pressure, Bush's EPA plans to defer controls on mercury emissions by power plants for at least a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 4.9 million women of childbearing age in the U.S. -- that's 8 percent -- have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood. The people hit hardest will be new-born infants -- every year over 630,000 infants are born with levels of mercury in their blood so high they can cause brain damage. Bush is only allowing a few weeks to get public comments to the EPA on this plan to defer mercury controls. If you feel it is time to tell the EPA and the White House that our kids come first, you can submit your comment by clicking this link: / From a public health standpoint, the EPA's new policy is a disaster. But for Bush's energy industry allies, who are responsible for most mercury pollution, it's yet another bonanza. Increased pollution levels will allow these companies to save millions, while their top managers keep writing big campaign checks to support George W. Bush -- it's a pretty sick cycle. On January 30th, the EPA announced its intention to weaken its own earlier proposal that would have required a 90 percent reduction in mercury pollution by power plants by 2008. The new proposal doesn't force every power plant to limit mercury pollution, leaving many communities vulnerable. It would also delay implementation of even these weaker requirements until 2018, leaving a whole new generation of kids needlessly at risk. The first responsibility of the Bush administration and the EPA is to protect our nation's most vulnerable citizens. Time and again, we've seen the Bush administration try to weaken environmental protections, starting with its proposal to roll back stricter limits on arsenic in our drinking water. We must boost the visibility of the mercury issue so that, as with arsenic, the Bush administration is shamed into adopting a more rigorous standard. Please join our effort to protect our environment and our children from the debilitating effects of mercury poisoning. Your comments will bolster the efforts of MoveOn members and other concerned people who are showing up today at public hearings on this issue in Chicago, Philadelphia and Raleigh. Tell the Bush administration to protect children's health by reducing power plant mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2008 and ensuring that these reductions occur at each and every power plant, by clicking here: / 
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Comment #4 posted by Virgil on February 25, 2004 at 13:40:31 PT
Kap, it is now your money, life or social security
The entire system is gamed to see that most people die penniless. Send everyone into poverty and get their savings with a few pounds of pills. Pollute them if you have to or give them pills that really make them sicker. Greenspan said today that social security benefits should be cut and that retirement at 67 should go up.Are people going to stand by and let the government star war away their retirement and pay to bust potheads. It is now time to speak or forever hold your peace on pissing away a billion a week to create a prohibition problem that has no solution. Now do you want to bust potheads and nurture a corrupt government that is handing out your children's money to the Tenacled Ones or do you want to restore freedom and sanity to America and demand real management by anointed royalty in Congress?
Greenspan says cut Social Security benefits
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on February 25, 2004 at 12:15:45 PT:
This phenomenon is known to CNEWSers
as the 'get your kicks in' seems to happen whenever there is hope of changing the laws. The police realize that their sweet, 'gravy' days of catching cannabists will soon be over, and then they'll be having to hunt really dangerous prey like biker gangs, murderers, etc.People who might shoot back...or shoot first. No more nice, easy, safe collars to build a career on and 'earn' a retirement with. Instead of smilingly body-slamming a non-violent cannabist with impunity, they might soon be looking down the wrong end of a 'neener' held by someone with nothing left to lose, a distinct lack of value of human life, and a virulent dislike of 'authority figures'. They resent that. So they try to double up on cannabis arrests, even as the political climate changes. So, what's the upshot of this? More proof we are winning, because as has been noted here many times before, the antis have run out of rational excuses (if there ever were any) to maintain cannabis prohibition that will set well with an increasingly skeptical public, and have nothing but force left as an option.The more force they apply in the arena of cannabis prohibition, the less sensible the entire proposition is made to appear. The essential questions become asked with more and more gravity: Is this an appropriate use of strained law enforcement resources? Should my taxpayer dollars go to hunting down and caging cannabists while demonstrably more dangerous people are running loose?And the king of all questions, the one that could derail cannabis prohibition in a heartbeat were it asked in either a court of law or the arena of public discourse, is: "*WHY* is 'marijuana' (Man, do I hate that word!) illegal?" To ask that is to open the can of worms of the history of the entire DrugWar and show it for the monstrous travesty of racism it has *always* been.So, in a way, despite the fact that these increased arrests are deplorable, they are also a sign of nascent victory. I've observed that desperate people often do foolish or stupid things; the antis are becoming increasingly desperate. To increase cannabis arrests when greatly reduced tax revenues and economic bad times would dictate better allocation of police and judicial resources is a perfect example of that desperation.Just like the old segregationists, antis are increasingly in deep denial at the gains in cannabis legitimacy that have been made and continue to be made. And like those racists, the antis will be left with an increasingly smaller power base as the reality of social change makes their cause less politically supportable. Until finally they are relagated to the postion of marginalized extremism, like Flat Earth Society types. So, yes, they'll keep spending even greater resources that could be used to lock up real dangers to society on chasing us. Until a political 'child' comes along and asks those questions I and countless others have asked of the 'emperor'. After that, it's all over but the shouting.
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Comment #2 posted by WolfgangWylde on February 24, 2004 at 15:39:30 PT
Just wait...
...until they can collect fines for simple possession. Busts will skyrocket.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on February 24, 2004 at 14:52:08 PT:
Welcome to Canada
How to flee to Canada 23 Feb, 2004 
Canada remains a safe haven for pot-people and other persecuted Americans.
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