Drug Policy

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Our Drug Policy Shouldn't Be a Criminal Justice Issue

Mandatory minimum sentences for possessing drugs for personal use do not make Canadians safer. They will not improve the health of our economy, the safety of our streets, or the well-being of communities throughout Canada. The inevitable overcrowding of Canadian prisons will not only increase tension and conflict in prisons, but also cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
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Is Cannabis Tourism a Cause for Concern?

As more and more places legalize and regulate cannabis, the wider implications of bringing the trade above ground have inevitably attracted scrutiny. A growth in tourism related to the drug is one such implication, and it's dividing opinion. It's time to shift the focus away from blanket opposition to legalization based on fears that it will lead to an influx of troublemakers intent on getting high. A regulated market would give policymakers the tools to combat -- or encourage -- cannabis tourism, as they see fit. The alternative is to allow organized criminals to continue managing the trade.
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Here's Why We Hear So Many False Claims About Cannabis

On the whole, my many years of research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or -- in scientific terms -- there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use.
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We Need to Get the Facts Right on Cannabis Addiction

Instead of implying that cannabis and heroin dependence are equivalent, we should conceive of the use of drugs as being on a spectrum ranging from non-problematic to problematic use. The fact that the majority of cannabis use isn't harmful has significant implications for our cannabis policies. But realizing that a majority of people do not come to harm by their own non-problematic cannabis use does not downplay the seriousness of problematic cannabis use. However, for all the harm that can come from cannabis use, even more can come from its criminalization.
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Misinformed Cannabis Policies Prevent Access to Life-Saving Treatments

My work as a scientist involves researching the potential impact of cannabis among people living with HIV/AIDS. Patients have told us for decades that marijuana helps them deal with the side effects of their medications. But now, in a preliminary study, we have found evidence to suggest that people who use cannabis are more likely to have slower HIV disease progression -- meaning that they can live longer and healthier lives.
Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance.

Want to Keep Marijuana Away From Teenagers? Regulate it

As someone who went from a teenager who easily bought cannabis under prohibition to a budtender keeping cannabis out of the hands of teenagers, there is no doubt in my mind that regulation creates real barriers to teen access to cannabis. There is no gatekeeper in the illegal drug market. Drug dealers never check ID. Beyond accessibility, another common misconception is that regulation produces a wealth of brand new cannabis users who are trying the drug simply because it's legal to do so.
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We Must Separate Fact From Fiction in the Cannabis Debate

Conversations about cannabis policy are heating up. So it's no surprise that we suddenly seem immersed in claims and counterclaims on a slew of topics related to cannabis use and regulation. The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy has tasked itself with determining the strength of scientific support for such claims. Over the past year, we've been working diligently on scanning the news media and online conversations about cannabis to identify the most oft-repeated or high-profile claims including the ones above related to its use and regulation.
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Too Many Politicians Suffer From Drug Policy Abuse

Last week, MPs debated Bill C-2 -- an Act to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The primary purpose of the bill is to obstruct the establishment of safe injection sites in Canada, despite over a decade of successful harm reduction at Vancouver's Insite. This is just one example of how politicians of all stripes get drug policy wrong.
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Addicts Don't Need InSite, They Need Support

Last week's controversy over Health Canada's funding of a program to give heroin to select addicts is like déjà vu. It's an awful lot like the conflicts the federal government has had with similar drug programs over the years. The Insite supervised injection clinic in Vancouver's renowned Downtown Eastside is the most famous example, where addicts can go to inject heroin under the supervision of nurses. Centres likes these are sometimes called "safe injection" sites, which is truly an oxymoron considering that these harmful drugs are anything but safe.
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What My Critics Don't Get About Drug Policy

It is always a pleasure for me to openly discuss and debate issues surrounding drug coverage with experts in the field. In a series of three blogs, an economist from the Montreal Economic Institute, Yanick Labrie, criticizes my work on Canadian pharmaceutical policy. Unfortunately, these criticisms are ill-founded and do not contribute to a better understanding of these issues.

Bongs And Books Banned In Canada

All bongs, pipes and vaporizers have been banned in Canada by the Conservative government. Selling these items is punishable with jail terms and some of the highest fines in the Criminal Code.Books that describe how to grow marijuana are also banned, as is any other written or video material used to "promote, encourage or advocate, the production, preparation or consumption of illicit drugs." Surprised about this harsh law? Don't be, it's 25 years old.