Tough New Law Irks MLA, Pot Supporters

Nov 11, 2012

C-10.  Fed­eral bill’s manda­tory sen­tenc­ing for seri­ous drug crimes came into effect on Tues­day If you grow six mar­i­juana plants, pre­pare to spend six months in the slam­mer. Canada’s drug pro­hi­bi­tion laws got tougher as a com­po­nent of Bill C-10 came into effect Tues­day, leg­is­la­tion B.C.  MLA and for­mer police chief Kash Heed dubbed “ridicu­lous” when it comes to mar­i­juana. The bill imposes harsher penal­ties and manda­tory jail time for drug offend­ers who par­tic­i­pate in orga­nized crime, sell drugs to or near youth, and pro­duce drugs where they could be a safety haz­ard to youth or res­i­dents.  While the law doesn’t put manda­tory penal­ties on sim­ple pos­ses­sion, it includes jail time for pro­duc­tion of six to 200 mar­i­juana plants and increases max­i­mum sen­tences to 14 years. This will “fog up our court sys­tem” by putting peo­ple in jail for “such a ridicu­lous amount of mar­i­juana,” Heed said in an inter­view. After 30 years in law enforce­ment, Heed is “dumb­founded” the gov­ern­ment isn’t tak­ing a bal­anced approach that focuses on demand reduc­tion as well as lock­ing up gang­sters. “We will never arrest our way out of this par­tic­u­lar prob­lem,” Heed said.  “Mar­i­juana pro­hi­bi­tion has not worked in Canada for many years, and it will not work in Canada.” The Con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment does not sup­port legal­iza­tion or decrim­i­nal­iza­tion, fed­eral Min­istry of Jus­tice spokes­woman Julie Di Mam­bro said in a state­ment.  The bill tar­gets crim­i­nals, she said. “Crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tions that rely on the drug trade do not respect the cur­rent penal­ties – they sim­ply see them as the cost of doing busi­ness,” Di Mam­bro said. The new sen­tenc­ing laws won’t nec­es­sar­ily change how Van­cou­ver police enforce drug crimes, Const.  Brian Mon­tague said. But Dana Larsen of the Med­ical Cannabis Dis­pen­sary said his orga­ni­za­tion could receive manda­tory min­i­mums for traf­fick­ing more than three kilo­grams of cannabis. “We rely on the tol­er­ance of our com­mu­nity,” he said.  “If I was else­where out­side Van­cou­ver, I’d be a lit­tle more ner­vous.” Source: Metro (Van­cou­ver, CN BC) Copy­right: 2012 Metro Canada Con­tact: vancouverletters@​metronews.​ca Web­site: http://​www​.metronews​.ca/​v​a​n​c​o​u​ver Author: Emily Jackson

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