The seized marijuana all came from designated growers who were licensed to grow for up to two patients each under the old system. These are the same home gardens which Health Canada ordered to be shut down, claiming that they are all mold-ridden, unsafe and unhealthy. Yet at the same time, it's allowed for these growers to sell their product to the newly licensed producers, who can then flip it to patients at a profit? How does any of this make sense?
I want to point out that not a single one of the new licensed producers has ever come out publicly in support of patients' rights to grow their own. And certainly none of these multi-million dollar operations has donated so much as one cent towards this ongoing legal challenge. Why would they? They stand to reap greater profits if patients are forbidden to compete by growing cheaply for themselves.
With dozens of different companies providing medical cannabis, each with different labels and packaging, it will be impossible for an officer to tell if the cannabis in question is really from a licensed producer. I predict widespread proliferation of fake prescription bottles with fake labels and fake contact information. I predict that police will quickly become frustrated in trying to figure out who is valid and who is not.
Right now the RCMP lay about 60,000 charges annually for marijuana possession across Canada, while they let about four times as many people found with pot off with a warning. When the police talk about tickets for possession, they're not talking about reducing the number of charges, they're talking about finding a more efficient way to punish the hundreds of thousands of people they're currently letting go.
We've written a law, called the Sensible Policing Act, which has already been approved by Elections BC. This law will make a first step towards legalization, by stopping arrests for marijuana possession, and focusing police resources on fighting real crime. This campaign does not rely on the whims of politicians. We can do this ourselves, with people power. But it isn't easy to get on the ballot so that we can have a marijuana referendum. We will need to collect over half a million signatures, from registered voters all across B.C., just like they did to stop the HST.
Although we can all agree that marijuana prohibition has failed, there is not full agreement on how exactly to legalize and regulate it. We still have to answer some important questions. Should people be allowed to grow their own marijuana? If so, how much? Should marijuana be sold in stores? What kinds of taxes should there be? Should there be taxes on medical marijuana products? What about extracts and foods? What is the best age limit? Before we can put a legalized system in place, we need to have the answers to these kinds of questions.
Did you know that B.C. can decriminalize marijuana? Indeed, any Canadian province could decriminalize marijuana possession at any time. Provinces have all kinds of legal options when it comes to dealing with possession of marijuana. We know what the RCMP's preferred option is: more arrests and more charges for marijuana possession. The RCMP have increased marijuana possession charges across Canada by about 30 per cent since Harper came to power. In B.C. the increase has been the greatest: there was a 211 per cent increase in pot possession charges between 2005 and 2011.
In 1920, marijuana was legal in British Columbia, but alcohol was not. What if that was still the law today? Can we imagine a parallel world where alcohol prohibition never ended, and marijuana prohibition never began? In that world, provincial politicians promote B.C.'s vibrant marijuana industry, posing with brand-name joints of B.C. bud, while also calling for longer sentences against brew-ops and wine dealers, to protect youth against the dangers of liquor.
Marijuana has become an important issue in this provincial election. Questions about marijuana policy have been raised by the public over and over again, at all-candidates meetings across the province, and even during the televised debate.Together with the replies we received from candidates, and other comments about marijuana made in the media, we have compiled this Sensible BC Voters Guide, to help you better understand where B.C. parties and candidates stand on the question of marijuana policy and decriminalization in our province.
If you're like me -- a person who doesn't drink or smoke -- people assume you're a recovering drug addict. I definitely experimented, dabbled, even habitually enjoyed for some time, and had a general all-around blast. My main reason for smoking marijuana in the first place was only to enjoy the music. So put this list on and just enjoy, you lucky bastards.