US Marijuana Party

Monday, March 20, 2006

Canada's growing marijuana problem

By Becky Branford
BBC News

In contrast to the previous Liberal administration, which sought unsuccessfully to reduce penalties for possession, the new Conservative government pledged in its election manifesto to steer Canada "off the road to drug legalisation".

It said it would ensure mandatory minimum prison sentences and large fines for serious drug offenders, including growers.

"There have been studies galore in Canada and elsewhere looking at this issue - it's politics that's stopping [a change in drug laws] and not logic," says lawyer Eugene Oscapella, a founding member of the independent Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy.

"You have to look at Prohibition as an industry: the crime-control industry. There are empires built around it - not only organised crime, but government bureaucracies, police departments, privatised prison industries in the US, pharmaceutical and drug-testing companies. These empires thrive on Prohibition."

He says he fears tougher enforcement will lead to a burgeoning prison population, but have little impact on the illicit industry.


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