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In Tevendale We Trust

by Archives October 9, 2007

This week the Tories outlined their strategy for fighting the “war on drugs” here in Canada. This new policy is just one of many that makes me happy to have voted for the Liberals.
Stephen Harper has emphasized how this new policy will focus on prevention as much as punishment, that there will be more resources made available to addicts, and tougher punishments for producers and traffickers. Harper has forgotten one important thing though: not all drugs, nor the people who use them, are the same.
I’m all for a crackdown on the “hardcore” drugs that are being used in Canada. Someone who cooks up a batch of crystal meth in his kitchen should be locked away, that garbage destroys lives. People who sell cocaine, heroine and crystal meth should face much harsher drug laws here in Canada. They are all highly addictive substances that affect everyone in this country because it’s always the taxpayers that foot the bill for trials, police task forces or rehab centers.
I’m sick of the government telling us what substances we can abuse our bodies with based on how much money they make. All these drugs are illegal because the government doesn’t control them or collect tax revenues from the sale of these narcotics. They really don’t care about our health, that’s not the issue (although they might claim it is). They collect money from illegal activity by auditing people who work in criminal enterprise though, so why not cut out the middleman?
There is so much blatant hypocrisy when it comes to the government and the issue of the drug trade in Canada. Harper talks about how drug use in Canada takes a toll on health care and public services. Tobacco use kills thousands of Canadians each year and costs the taxpayers millions of dollars and it’s a legal substance. So don’t stand there with your three hundred dollar haircut, paid for by the public no less, and tell me that the reason why you’re cracking down on the drug trade here is because of our well-being. I don’t buy it, not for a second.
What really irks me is the fact that possession and/or distribution of marijuana also falls under this new law. I’m all for the legalization, not decriminalization, of pot. I believe that this is one illegal substance that should not be categorized along with other, more serious drugs.
The benefits of legalizing marijuana are numerous. By producing and selling it, the government cuts the dealers out of the equation, and the millions upon millions of dollars that would otherwise go into their pockets would go back to public service, hopefully. The Conservative government loves to talk about how many minors smoke pot in Canada. If we have to go buy our dope from an SAQ style business, you can bet your ass that kids will have infinitely less access to the “drug”. Drug dealers don’t ask for i.d., but the cashier at the government sponsored dope shop will.
Furthermore, the prospect of legalizing marijuana destroys the gateway drug argument. The only reason why grass can be talked about as a gateway drug is because people believe in scapegoatting instead of personal accountability. It also has to do with being a by-product of your surroundings. The more time you spend with people who deal with illegal substances, the more likely you are to be around other drugs besides weed. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do them, but you are exposed to an element that you otherwise wouldn’t be if you did not smoke pot. I know a lot of people who smoke weed, and I also know people who use drugs like cocaine. The pot smokers I know have been exposed to other drugs at one point or another in their lives, but not all of them hopped on the white pony.
Marijuana is not the only reason why people do other drugs. There are addicts and users out there who don’t like pot and the effect it has on them. Furthermore, if you could go out and buy weed at the store, the criminal element that would expose you to more serious drugs no longer exists.
Hypothetically speaking, you wouldn’t be able to buy an eight ball at the cannabis cafe. There you have it, weed would no longer be stigmatized as being the source of other drug problems.
We need to re-evaluate how we deal with drugs in our society. The traditional “war on drugs” that the U.S. has been fighting, and losing for years now should not be a system we try to emulate here in Canada, unless Stephen Harper likes throwing away millions of dollars. There is no way to win a “war on drugs,” it is an absurd notion.

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