Marijuana As Afghanistan And The Stupidity Of Prohibition

Dec 15, 2011

“To alco­hol — the cause of, and solu­tion to, all of life’s prob­lems!” — – Homer Simp­son I won­der if Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper enjoys the occa­sional beer or scotch and soda while unwind­ing from a long day in pol­i­tics. I won­der if Harper enjoys a glass of wine as he works on the pas­sion that his book on the his­tory of hockey. I won­der this now because we are weeks away from stronger Conservative-created laws that will cre­ate crim­i­nals out of ordi­nary peo­ple while mak­ing real crim­i­nals all the richer. Bill C-10 has passed in the House of Com­mons and needs only Sen­ate approval to become law.  The fact the Con­ser­v­a­tives con­trol the Sen­ate – — thanks to the prime min­is­ter stack­ing the upper cham­ber, despite promis­ing not to – means the omnibus crime bill will become law in the new year. Dan Albas, the Con­ser­v­a­tive MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, penned an opin­ion piece that ran last week in our sis­ter paper, the Mer­ritt Her­ald. While Albas pointed to wel­come manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tences for seri­ous crimes – includ­ing sex­ual assault of a child and involve­ment in child pornog­ra­phy – he glossed over aspects of the bill that are sim­ply ludi­crous. This would include the Con­ser­v­a­tive government’s insis­tence on repeat­ing the fail­ures of the war-on-drugs mantra. As has been doc­u­mented else­where, the crime bill treats casual mar­i­juana users with more force than it treats per­verts. Con­sider: Under the pro­posed law, a pedophile guilty of coerc­ing a child to watch pornog­ra­phy with him, or a man con­victed of flash­ing chil­dren, would receive min­i­mum 90-day sen­tences. Yet, get con­victed of grow­ing six pot plants in your home and you are look­ing at a min­i­mum of six months behind bars. Grow­ing plants for per­sonal use will get you twice the sen­tence of being sex­u­ally deviant around kids. The Con­ser­v­a­tives, like myr­iad Amer­i­can admin­is­tra­tions before them, con­tinue to treat mar­i­juana as empires have treated Afghanistan: Despite over­whelm­ing evi­dence prov­ing con­quest is impos­si­ble, attempts are made again and again. Is it hubris or stu­pid­ity? Let’s coin a new word: Hubrid­ity. Do North Amer­i­can politi­cians not real­ize the only groups that embrace pro­hi­bi­tion are crim­i­nals and cops? The lat­ter group loves it because its profit mar­gin grows with every new law; the for­mer group can’t com­plain as such laws lend weight to its argu­ment for more resources at bud­get time. Harper was in Van­cou­ver this fall and spoke about his Bill C-10. “Drugs are not bad because they are ille­gal.  They are ille­gal because they are bad,” Harper said, argu­ing they do “ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple.” If that is the Con­ser­v­a­tives’ phi­los­o­phy behind a pend­ing law that will make crim­i­nals out of casual pot users, out of many peo­ple I know who grow their own to enjoy in the pri­vacy of their own home, per­haps Harper or Albas or local MP Cathy McLeod or any other Con­ser­v­a­tive MP can explain why alco­hol and tobacco are not being treated equally. If, as Harper stated, drugs are ille­gal because they do “ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple,” how does he view the one sub­stance – alco­hol – that causes more deaths and cre­ates more may­hem than all other drugs com­bined? If mar­i­juana is ille­gal because it does “ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple,” then that ille­gal list should include booze and cig­a­rettes. And may­on­naise. Of course, Harper’s words are fool­ish.  Mar­i­juana does not do “ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple;” the pro­hi­bi­tion of mar­i­juana does ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple, not the least of whom are upstand­ing cit­i­zens who sim­ply pre­fer to smoke than drink. It’s a bizarre world – we have a fed­eral gov­ern­ment intent on spend­ing upwards of $19 bil­lion to build pris­ons to house a good num­ber of mar­i­juana users, yet true dan­gers like the KFC Dou­ble Down are allowed to be traded freely in Canada, ensur­ing our arter­ies and hos­pi­tal beds remain clogged and our bud­gets remain in the red. Source: Kam­loops This Week (CN BC) Copy­right: 2011 Kam­loops This Week Con­tact: editor@​kamloopsthisweek.​com Web­site: http://​www​.kam​loop​sthisweek​.com/ Author: Christo­pher Foulds, Colum­nist, Kam­loops This Week

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