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Friday, February 27, 2009 

Harper's Anti-gang Measures Will Fail - Ending Marijuana Prohibition May Be The Only Solution

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana
(1863 - 1952)
U.S. philosopher

Historically, the enforcement of alcohol prohibition in both Canada and the United States was an utter failure. Laws that attempted to stamp out the use of alcohol were completely rejected by a large section of the public. Police enforcement, arrests, convictions and sentences did nothing to curb the demand for alcohol as a product in out society. Repeal was inevitable.

History taught us that when you try to criminalize and enforce serious legal penalties for an activity that a sizable percentage of the people practice, you will fail. No better example of this exists than the story of alcohol prohibition.

Flash forward to the 21st century. By all accounts, it is estimated that at least 16% of Canadians use cannabis. Decades of prohibition and fairly serious legal consequences has not extinguished the behavior. Our justice system and police resources are tied up in enforcement of marijuana prohibition; resources that could be dedicated to a number of other crimes.

And who is it that supplies the 16% of Canadians who chose to use cannabis in spite of the potential consequences? Well, it crosses the spectrum of small personal cultivation to massive grow ops controlled by organized gangs and criminals.

The ongoing prohibition of cannabis combined with the ongoing demand for it as a product, causes massive amounts of money to get into the hands of criminal elements. These same criminal elements are in competition with each other to control the trade, hence gang wars, violence and murder.

From a purely economic point of view, the reason that the gangs are as powerful as they are is because they have access to huge amounts of money; money acquired as a result of 'supply and demand' for the marijuana trade! Stephen Harper is apparently an economist. You'd think that he would understand what is happening in this nation as a result of his ongoing prohibition. His ideology dictates that 'marijuana is bad ... people should simply stop using it.' The reality is, that they are apparently NOT going to follow Harper's ideology. The demonization of cannabis has failed with a large proportion of the population. Convincing people that marijuana is 'immoral' compared to the 'moral' alcohol is ludicrous.

So what is the solution? Well, can we not learn from history? In the wake of gangland slayings and wars for the control of the booze trade, the government decriminalized alcohol and instituted strict enforcement and control measure that allowed the public to have what they wanted, but which eliminated the criminal element. The unspoken benefit for the government was that the potential avalanche of money that went into the hands of organized crime, now went into government coffers.

Stephen Harper was in Vancouver yesterday to announce measures that he believes will curb gang violence. He was met by a number of protesters who challenged him to end the prohibition that is placing hundreds of millions of dollars into the hands of criminal gangs. Harper ignored them, because he is so completely bound to his inadequate ideology. It appears that he is not capable of any logical or realistic solutions for the organized crime problem in this country.

Prohibition failed in the 1920's. It allowed criminal elements to get their hands on unlimited wealth. Murder and violence accompanied the rise in their power. History has repeated itself with marijuana prohibition. It is a dismal failure. Harper's ongoing continuation of this failed prohibition will result in more violence, more murders and further millions getting into the hands of organized crime.

End prohibition in a controlled manner. You simply cannot put 16.8% of the Canadian population before the courts or in jail! Find ways to place marijuana under the same strict government control that alcohol is. It is the only thing that will work. History proves it.

-Tory assault against gangs may have missed the target
-Ottawa gang law playing politics: expert

Even a recent UN study shows that the best strategy for Marijuana that causes the least harm to individuals and society is legalization.


I would go further and do the same for ALL drugs.

When it isn't illegal for coke and meth, the cachet will be gone, the profit motive for these drug will be gone and drug addiction will be a medical health issue, not a criminal law issue.

The only problem with that Mike is that the public by and large simply is not ready for anything like that.

By demonizing marijuana as a 'dangerous narcotic', society's crediblity is questioned by any young person who has tried cannabis and found it to be anything BUT dangerous. By lying about marijuana, society loses credibility when talking about other drugs (like cocaine which is a strong and very addictive substance).

I will agree with you to the point that drug addiction should be treated as a health problem not a moral or criminal problem. Most of the inmates in our jails have some type of substance abuse problem (not the least of which is alcohol)!

Start reform with something that the public will accept, and that is the decriminalization and legal control of marijuana.

Not only will laws like this fail (because people keeping using it in spite of the law), it encourages a general disrespect for and cynicism about the legal system.

I'm with Mike. Do the same for all drugs, or at least decriminalize them.

How do you deal with the 'supply' part of the equation? By decriminalizing the 'demand' part, I think you only 'half' fix the problem.

A few years ago I stodropped into the Hemp Shop in Victoria. I was surprised to see a very straight looking couple at the counter looking at the seeds. She made a purchase, as I exited at the same time I asked her why she was buying pot seeds. She said she found it was the only thing that gave her relief from her painful arthritis.
I was in Saskatchewan in a field of hemp. It was a lovely feeling.Interesting plant.
Why not engage in guerilla gardening.
I had a beautiful pot plant in my front window in Victoria. It was a lovely plant.Guerilla garden it in the boulevards and roadsides.
Along with some comfrey and regular hemp.
Jails have become an industry with cheap labour.
The other ploy in this, is the oppsition has to accept it or, I believe I heard Harper say there will be an election. Well, that will put people on his side.Tough on crime and those socialists and separatists oppose him? Liberals have to keep a stiff upper lip. Checkmate.

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