People who think that Harper’s “anti-drug strategy” is about winning the so-called war on drugs are sadly misinformed. He may be a fascist, but he’s certainly not stupid. He knows that his plan will have no effect on reducing use of illegal drugs. No evidence is required beyond the blatant lies and deceptions he used in his speech.
You commented on one example, his assertion that “illegal drugs are directly involved in the death of thousands of Canadian men and women.”
While this may be a true statement for, say, the last fifty years, tobacco kills at least that many every year.
Another glaring example is his assertion that illegal drugs “rob young people of their futures; they tear families apart; they make our streets less safe and they lay waste to our communities.”
The truth, of course, is that these are all effects of drug prohibition, not drugs. The most frightening thing about Harper’s speech, in fact, is not so much what he said as the fact that he thinks he can hoodwink enough Canadians to get away with it.
Tangentially, I should mention that, according to Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd’s book about drug-use patterns in Canada High Society, the vast majority of cocaine users are not addicts and do not have social problems related to that use – other than the danger of getting caught purchasing or using.
The most insidious aspect of Harper’s speech is that, while he failed to make a single reference to marijuana – marijuana production, distribution, and use will actually bear the brunt of his increased “enforcement.”
His promise to spend millions on treatment is also rather deceptive. His plan is probably to duplicate the U.S. experience, where drug-war lunatic John Walters can state that teenagers go into treatment for marijuana more than any other illegal drug, but without adding that it’s because teenagers caught with marijuana are offered a choice between “treatment” and a criminal record.
Many of these treatment centres are nothing more than political “rehabilitation” camps, which we decried when used by communist governments, but now find quite attractive.
Of course, the inevitable failure of Harper’s strategy will be used as an excuse to intensify it further – perhaps the most dangerous aspect of his plan.
Beware of governments claiming that vastly increasing their powers is good for you! As Paul Krassner warned many years ago: The drug war has transformed the military-industrial complex into the prison-industrial complex.
Fascism is already here, it?s just friendly fascism, with spin doctors galore to explain how it protects you.
The millennium will be a battle between individual freedom and friendly fascism.
Drug Policy Analyst
Lost in the debate over marijuana is the ugly truth behind marijuana prohibition. North America’s marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not science. The first marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican migration during the early 1900s. Writing under the pen name Janey Canuck, Emily Murphy first warned Canadians about the dread reefer and its association with non-white immigrants. The sensationalist yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst led to its criminalization in the United States.
Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. Whites did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda. When threatened, the drug war gravy train predictably decries the “message” that drug policy reform sends to children.
There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and frees users from the stigma of criminal records.
What’s really needed is a regulated market with age controls. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical.
As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like cocaine. This “gateway” is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.
Students who want to help reform harmful marijuana laws should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com.
Historical background on U.S. laws can be found at: www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm
Robert Sharpe, MPA
Common Sense for Drug Policy