In Nunavut and the North West Territories, about one per cent of the population gets arrested for a cannabis offence every year. That is an astoundingly high rate of arrests, especially when compared with cities like Vancouver, where such arrests are very rare. So, why continue to criminalize possession in some parts of the country and not others?
It beats me why so many American conservatives have smartened up about when it makes sense to send people to jail when Canadian conservatives -- at least the ones who count -- clearly haven't. The average cost of keeping a Canadian in prison for a year is more than $113,000, which is money well spent for violent offenders. But why spend it locking up minor drug offenders? Why are we hell-bent on this backwards way of thinking?
This week, the Union of B.C. Municipalities voted to support the decriminalization of marijuana in Canada. This step may seem small, but it signifies that public leadership in British Columbia has reached an historic tipping point on the war on drugs. It won't tip back.
I don't buy for one second that the big minds on the House Judiciary Committee actually believe this bit of nonsense will help turn the war on drugs, an effort that was doomed to failure from the get-go. People want what people want, and no number of laws, no matter how strictly enforced, will stop them from getting it.
In the land of the marijuana growers -- and the land of the users -- very little will change because of Stephen Harper's mandatory minimum sentencing terms. What will convince the Harper government to change its course?