Alternatives For Cannabis Policy

Jan 15, 2012

How not to pro­tect com­mu­nity health and safety” is the title of a report from the Stop The Vio­lence BC ( STVBC ) coali­tion.  It tells of how cannabis pol­icy with its focus on pro­hi­bi­tion and exten­sive efforts on enforce­ment have both failed.  Quite spec­tac­u­larly, too.  Cannabis is more avail­able, cheaper and more potent than ever even after bil­lions of tax dol­lars have been spent on pro­hi­bi­tion.  Worse, orga­nized crime is rolling in cash because of the same poli­cies. It is time to think more clearly about cannabis pol­icy.  This is why the Health Offi­cers’ Coun­cil of BC ( HOC ) has stepped up with its sup­port for STVBC.  The HOC is not say­ing that cannabis should be legal­ized and taxed because is it safe.  Rather, they are say­ing that proven pub­lic health approaches should be used to con­strain its use. The STVBC report makes sev­eral clear pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions. There need to be restric­tions on the pur­chase and use of cannabis.  These could include age restric­tions on sales and could impose restric­tions on dri­ving and oper­at­ing machin­ery while intox­i­cated, lim­its on the hours of sale and out­let den­sity, restricted bulk sales and lim­its on the potency of legal cannabis.  All of these ideas sup­port the pub­lic health model to reduce the unin­tended health and social harms such as drug-related vio­lence and homi­cide that accom­pany pro­hi­bi­tion. Gov­ern­ment should con­trol the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion of cannabis.  Exist­ing con­di­tional licens­ing of med­ical cannabis could be expanded and applied on a larger scale to the reg­u­la­tion and tax­a­tion of cannabis.  The sys­tem would include strict pro­hi­bi­tions on mar­ket­ing and brand­ing, stan­dard labelling on con­tent and health real­is­tic health warn­ings like those for tobacco cur­rently. Tax­a­tion is another tool in the arse­nal of a new cannabis pol­icy.  Tax­ing a prod­uct increases its price to the con­sumer and has been shown to affect con­sump­tion lev­els of alco­hol and tobacco.  The price of cannabis could also be kept as high as pos­si­ble to limit use, but low enough to avoid cre­at­ing an incen­tive to pro­duce cannabis for an ille­gal mar­ket. Other reg­u­la­tory tools to con­sider include poli­cies that restrict the loca­tion and cir­cum­stances of con­sump­tion, not unlike cur­rent poli­cies on alco­hol and tobacco.  The “Dutch cof­fee shop” model for cannabis should be con­sid­ered as well. Pro­hi­bi­tion has never worked.  We need only look at cur­rent cannabis pol­icy to see that.  Not enough, look back at the efforts of the 1920s and 30s, and look at the results.  There is a bet­ter way.  We must con­sider it. Learn more about the STVBC report ( and down­load it ) from their web­site at www​.stopthe​vi​o​lencebc​.org .  Or join the dis­cus­sion on Face­book or on Twit­ter at www​.twit​ter​.com/​s​t​vbc . Editor’s note: Dr.  Paul Mar­ti­quet is the Med­ical Health Offi­cer for Rural Van­cou­ver Coastal Health includ­ing Pow­ell River, the Sun­shine Coast, Sea-to-Sky, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC) Sec­tion: Health Mat­ters Copy­right: 2012 Coast Reporter Con­tact: editor@​coastreporter.​net Web­site: http://​www​.coas​tre​porter​.net/ Author: Paul Martiquet

77d227bfd69.bin .jpg 150x96 Alternatives For Cannabis Policy

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Alter­na­tives For Cannabis Policy

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