Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | December 12, 2002

Canada moves to decriminalize drugs

We now take a break from our regularly scheduled Trent Lott coverage...

Our northern neighbors are one step closer to decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

Current penalties for pot possession are out of proportion to marijuana's negative impacts, the chairwoman of a parliamentary committee said Thursday in recommending fines for possessing small amounts.


[F]or small amounts of pot - including plants cultivated at home - "fines would be paid without a court appearance and enforcement would not result in a criminal conviction," said Torsney.


The idea of permitting smokers to grow their own would reduce the demand for dangerous grow operations and the power of organized criminal gangs, said Torsney.

"We would prefer that you have your (own) one plant if you're a Saturday night smoker," she said.

The government expects legislation to that effect in early 2003.

Now this is where it gets really interesting: the US, seeing decriminalization make headway in Canada, has been threatening the Canadians with bloody murder if they proceeded. It seems the US's "war on drugs" is now a two-front war.

Experts in Canada-U.S. relations say powerful U.S. opponents of marijuana will likely point to decriminalization of marijuana as another example of Canada undermining American interests.


U.S. drug czar John Walters has threatened to tighten even more the ever-increasing security measures at U.S. border points.

"The issue for us is that Canada has become a major supplier for certain drugs," says Walters, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug-Control Policy.

He also said recently that "you don't make a major decision involving a dangerous drug without telling people what the dangers are."

So now the US is reduced to lecturing Canada on drug policy, even though American drug policy has been an abysmal failure. As one Canadian MP noted:
The United States has the highest use of marijuana in the world with the most punitive drug laws. That should tell them something.

We know the status quo is a failure. The war on drugs has been a failure.

The policy change will save the Canadian government about $1.3 billion in enforcement and prosecution costs.

The US would never allow another nation to dictate the crafting of our own laws. However, the Bush Administration feels compelled to threaten our closest ally with punitive actions for their own reasonable legislation.

Jesus, just because our own drug laws are a disaster doesn't mean we should be forcefully imposing them on the rest of the world.

Posted December 12, 2002 12:58 PM | Comments (44)


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