Ottawa Activist Russell Barth Examines Proposed Liberal Marijuana Policy – July 19, 2014

Ottawa Activist Russell Barth Examines Proposed Liberal Marijuana Policy – July 19, 2014

russell-576x800CFN – When ever any party sets out a plan to address any policy, they are, in effect, trying to predict the future and/or influence the outcome. No one can actually know what the future will bring, but if a ball is hit with a bat and it heads towards a house, everyone watching can make pretty good predictions about whether the ball will hit the roof, the lawn, a window, the door, or go over the house entirely. Some predictions will be wrong, but none would be crazy to have made them.

By setting up a plan of “If we do this, then this, then this next thing… well, the result, we hope, will be this.”, we try to predict and control the outcome of future events.
And that is ok. That is how roads and buildings and meals get made.

To be fair, this is just a proposed policy from the Liberal Party, (page 4) but I don’t think it would be wise for any party to follow this plan. Especially in Canada. Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 4.50.02 PM

I understand “the regulation and taxation of its production” to mean corporatizing (extending the mandate of MMPR) and implementing onerous pricing and taxation (as with current MMPR). This will basically turn pot into Tobacco 2.0. This, to me, is a lateral move at best, because Tobacco 1 is failing miserably.

I take “while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking” to mean, well, again: much like tobacco is now, only people don’t grow tobacco at home and sell to some friends to spread the cost and/or work around like they currently do with pot. Were anygovernment to follow this agenda, I think it would be a mistake, as this policy promises to fail, just as the Tobacco model is failing now. It would fail to deter kids from using, and fail to deter their suppliers. It does, in fact create an incentive to sell to kids, as it does now with both pot and tobacco. It would still be the “naughty” and therefore “cool” thing to do.

Also, the marijuana laws as they stand now are enforced and prosecuted disproportionately along racial and economic lines (white and/or rich ≠ poor and/or non-white), so one could easily expect the same to happen under this program.

I take “invest significant resources in prevention and education programs designed to promote awareness of the health risks and consequences of marijuana use and dependency, especially amongst youth” to mean all the D.A.R.E.-style “mental illness, gateway drug, worse than tobacco, driving impairment” balderdash that we have heard for decades, none of which is actually true. Some in the Liberal Party are thinking that the “be honest about drugs”-approach coming from Educators For Sensible Drug Policy is the best way to go, and I wholeheartedly agree. But I think the RCMP will fight tooth and nail to keep the government-funded lie-filled hate-crime that is the D.A.R.E. program going. I don’t see the cops giving up their ongoing practice of entering schools to scare, bully, cajole, and lie to grade five students.
And shame on every teacher who has ever allowed their classes’ minds to be thus polluted.

Most kids have internet access, so they can easily find out out about the toddler treating his epilepsy with cannabis oil, the people curing their incurable mega-cancers with the cannabis oilvaping pens that take cannabis concentrates and that are easy to conceal,driving studies that show pot users drive slower and more cautiously, how teens who use pot actually do better than those who don’t, and all the rest. Being lied to also tends to not only stir mistrust and resentment towards parents, police, teachers, the government, and society itself for allowing such hypocritical nonsense to continue, it entices them to go dothe forbidden thing. Is that really what Canadian parents want?

I take “extend amnesty to all Canadians previously convicted of simple and minimal marijuana possession, and ensure the elimination of all criminal records related thereto” to mean exactly what it says, and I applaud it. Sadly, if the administration of the MMAR under the previous Liberal governments is any indication, that will mean a long wait for alot of people. The police will also do a lot of huffing about this as well, insisting that Stoner Joe is going to do terrible things if he doesn’t stay in that damp cage for that extra year or two.

One assumes that “work with governments of Canada on a coordinated regulatory approach to marijuana” means handing a lot of this responsibility over to the provinces. This I also applaud, because the provinces are constitutionally-mandated to handle all medical issues. The problem with this approach is that some provincial governments have different views on how to allow people to utilize their Charter Rights. Ontario has one third of the country’s population, so how will their polices differ from the more culturally-backwater provinces like Saskatchewan or P.E.I.?

But I feel that the “which maintains significant federal responsibility for marijuana control while respecting provincial health jurisdiction and particular regional concerns and practices” part is very disconcerting. This, to me, is evidence that the Liberal Party want to keep Marijuana on the Controlled Drugs And Substances Act so that the RCMP still have national jurisdiction over people’s bodies and actions. This essentially ignores a number of court rulings, and one can easily predict that this policy, if implemented, would face immediate, lengthly, and costly Constitutional Challenges.

To me, this policy attempts to pander to both the adult marijuana enthusiasts who would like a toke after work, and the wine-infused soccer moms who are fed up with Junior coming home all red-eyed and giggling after school. It also keeps cops happy.

But I expect (… “predict”…) that it will fail to accomplish it’s proposed goals, in that teens will still have just as much access to pot as they do now, they will still resent the idea that what is ok for one person is not ok for another, and they will still be encouraged to seek “forbidden” pleasures.

More importantly, the police will still have the right to randomly detain and search people based on the flimsiest of “probable causes”, and likely be given more powers of intrusion and coercion with drivers. This, to me, is of questionable constitutionality and is certainly not based on the latest science.

We have already seen one incident where an MMPR-licensed patient was detained andcharged with marijuana possession at Canada’s Wonderland, so we can easily expect the police to voice confusion over who and which pot is “legal” or not, just as even the patients themselves currently are.

If this policy – a policy that some in the legalization community and media are calling a “step in the right direction” – were to be implemented, the police could easily come forward a year or two later and insist that it is an abject failure, citing the legal status for adults and all this medical use is actually making pot more attractive for kids. They’ll likely assert that the contraband market is flourishing, that both contraband and the “legal” marijuana are finding it’s way to the kids (just as kids pilfer booze and smokes and pills from dozy parents today), and how it is wreaking havoc on Canadians roadways. They won’t offer much proof, of course. They never do, nor do the media or legislators ever press them to. They will just do like they have been doing for over 80 years: dismissing science, making assertions with no proof, bald-faced lying, and demanding even more money, men, toys, and powers. They will finish it off with a dire insistence that this whole thing was a failure and that we need to go back to full-on prohibition like the good old days.

The Liberal Party is trying to “predict” or at least influence the outcome of future events by proposing this policy. There is no shame in that, and I won’t scold them for attempting. So I should feel no shame or receive no scolding for “predicting” how I think it would fail.

My proposed plan of treating marijuana like chocolate and using education to deter and modulate teen marijuana use would, I think, do more to get the parents and teachers whatthey want and what they say is needed. I have been told by some that my idea is crazy, too radical, that “it is never going to happen, Russell”. But keep in mind that that is what mostpeople said about all this progress we see in Colorado, Washington,  and many other US States, for decades; that is was “never going to happen”.

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