Canadian drug policy has gone downhill, says the co-author of a report that calls on the federal government to decriminalize all drugs.
Connie I. Carter, a researcher with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and co-author of "Getting to Tomorrow: A Report on Canadian Drug Policy," pointed out Stephen Harper's government has embraced measures such as mandatory minimum sentences for possession at the same time as some American states are moving away from that approach, in a HuffPost Live segment on Wednesday.
"I see Gil Kerlikowske in the White House office on drugs embracing things like national overdose prevention strategies and talking about the scale of treatment," Carter says.
"We just don't see that kind of thing at the federal level in Canada."
"Getting to Tomorrow" calls on the federal government to step back from its National Anti-Drug Strategy by decriminalizing drugs and setting up a regulatory system for adult marijuana use.
The report argues that the federal government's enforcement approach to drugs has not worked, that incidents of cannabis possession have gone up 16 per cent between 2011 and 2011, while HIV rates due to drug use among marginalized groups remain "unacceptably high."
Carter cited InSite, Vancouver's only safe injection facility, as a great resource for people who use drugs and for promoting entry into treatment.
The segment came as the federal government announced new measures that safe injection advocates must meet in order to open similar facilities across Canada.
Also on HuffPost:
Asiatic Exclusion League Riot in Vancouver
1907: An <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/60295287/9/Amendments-to-the-Opium-and-Narcotic-Drug-Act-1920-1938">anti-Asian riot by the Asiatic Exclusion League</a> tears through Vancouver's Chinatown.
Opium and Narcotic Drug Act
1911: After William Lyon MacKenzie King's Opium Act of 1908, Vancouver's chief of police supports the <a href="http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp03/NQ53757.pdf">Opium and Narcotic Drug Act</a>, which prohibits the use of opium, cocaine or morphine.
Cannabis added to Opium and Narcotics Drug Act
1923: <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/60295287/9/Amendments-to-the-Opium-and-Narcotic-Drug-Act-1920-1938">Cannabis is added</a> to the Opium and Narcotics Drug Act.
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
1996: Jean Chretien's Liberal government passes the <a href="http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-38.8/page-1.html">Controlled Drugs and Substances Act</a>, which imposes a maximum three-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine for any contraventions.
2002: Urged on by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, the Liberal government, tries to push through <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?doc=C-38&language=E&parl=37&pub=bill&ses=2&File=22#2">Bill C-38</a>, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and other legislation to permit possession of marijuana with only a fine as punishment. The bill died during prorogation.
2010: Vancouver pro-pot activist <a href="http://bc.ctvnews.ca/prince-of-pot-ordered-extradited-to-u-s-1.510831">Marc Emery</a> (seen on the poster) is extradited to the United States to face drug charges relating to his seed-selling business.
2011: The Supreme Court of Canada rules that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/30/supreme-court-insite-unanimous-ruling_n_988733.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia">InSite</a>, a safe injection facility on the Downtown Eastside, can continue to provide services for addicts.
2012: Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper passes an omnibus crime bill with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/12/omnibus-crime-bill-canada_n_1339787.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia">mandatory minimum sentences</a> for possession of marijuana.
2012: Activist <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/20/dana-larsen-bc-marijuana-petition_n_1901790.html">Dana Larsen</a> starts an initiative petition in B.C. to stop police from enforcing simple possession-and-use laws for adults. He later <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/21/dana-larsen-bc-marijuana-petition-pot_n_2174174.html">withdraws the petition</a>, saying he wants more time to organize volunteers.
Washington State legalizes marijuana
2012: Washington state legalizes recreational use of marijuana as part after a referendum passes during the U.S. presidential election. Supporters include travel guide author Rick Steves.