Canada’s crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in almost four decades, according to Statistics Canada, but marijuana-related arrests are dramatically increasing.
shows that 58,000 Canadians were arrested for cannabis possession in 2010, a number that is 14 percent higher than the year before, reports Renee Bernard at News 1130
|Photo: I Love Weed
|Jacob Hunter of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, left, is arrested June 10 at a “Free Marc” protest in Ontario.
”There’s been very little evidence of any increase in use in Canada, but there seems to be a huge amount more attention being paid to just simple marijuana possession,” Hunter said. “Both the arrests for production and possession of cocaine and other drugs have gone down.”
The crackdown on pot use is a huge waste of money, according to Hunter, given that a large number of Canadians support legalization.
“The great irony of all this is that of every poll conducted in the last 10 years, more Canadians support the legalization of marijuana than actually voted for a Conservative candidate in the last election,” Hunter said.
The crackdown on simple marijuana possession is incredibly costly and ultimately futile, Hunter said.
“It’s become clear what this government’s priorities are,” Hunter said. “A crackdown on simple marijuana possession, mandatory minimum sentences for growing even one marijuana plant, and a dismantling of the medical marijuana program.
“This is nothing less than a total war on marijuana,” Hunter said.
“What we are seeing is a coordinated effort led by the Conservative government to crack down on simple marijuana possession as part of a multi-billion dollar increase in the war on drugs,” said Kirk Tousaw, executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, reports Phillip Smith at StoptheDrugWar.org
“Why? Why did 58,000 Canadians need to be arrested over a plant that more Canadians want legalized than voted for Conservative candidates?” Tousaw asked. “Why is Mr. Harper spending billions to arrest Canadians for simple marijuana possession?”
The Nova Scotia government has been ordered to pay the costs associated with medical marijuana growing operations of a woman who said she could not afford to grow and maintain her alloted medicine.
The Income Assistance Appeals Board ruling says that the province’s department of community services must pay $2,500 in start-up costs as well as a $100 quarterly fee for growing supplies of $100.
According to a CBC report, the unidentified couple who live in Amherst have licences from Health Canada to grow up to 25 plants, but they can only afford to grow six and sometimes run low on their supply.
The appeals board said Her need for marijuana was real and that having the government pay for the grow-op equipment was preferable to paying another licensed grower.
The woman’s husband, who also uses medical marijuana, is currently suing community services, the cabinet minister responsible for the department, Denise Peterson-Rafuse, and the appeals board over the same issue.
Community services’ legal department is now weighing its options and said it would not make any statements at this time.
It is not known whether this ruling will affect his decision to proceed with his lawsuit.
The Canadian government was reviewing its options on Wednesday after a judge said it may have to rewrite the country’s medical marijuana laws to make it easier for patients to obtain the drug.
Marijuana growing, possession and distribution are illegal in Canada, but the government was ordered by the courts a decade ago to allow its use for medical purposes by people who have a doctor’s approval.
An Ontario judge sided this week with a man who wants the drug for medical purposes, and argued his rights were violated because he was forced to raise it illegally when he was unable to find a doctor willing to prescribe it.
The government appears to be using a shortage of doctors willing to support the drug for medical purposes as a way to limit patient access to it, Ontario Superior Court justice Donald Taliano ruled on Monday.
“Rather than promote health, the regulations have the opposite effect. Rather than promote effective drug control the regulations drive the critically ill to the black market,” Taliano wrote in the 109-page ruling.