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Is it in the interest of Canadians for Marijuana to be legalized?

posted Apr 15, 2011, 6:19 PM by Esther Matharu   [ updated Apr 15, 2011, 6:31 PM ]
“The people who least of all want marijuana legalized are the dealers. They would be as horrified as the three piece suite-wearing bureaucrat would be if he were to come in one day and learn that he’d lost his job!”

If, for a change we stopped listening to the propaganda and started looking at some facts, our thoughts might go along these lines:

In Portugal (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html) legalization of drugs has seen a resounding success in the diminution of the problem. Thanks to treating marijuana and other drug users as people who need help rather than people who are criminals. Police pick up offenders and have them follow treatment programs which include yoga and physical exercises that bring the patient awareness and respect of their bodies. These are purely voluntary, by the way. As a result, in ten years, one of the highest drug-problem European countries has become a beacon of hope for others, such as France, who hopes to emulate this extraordinary achievement.

It took a success story coming out of Portugal for this reversal of opinion to happen. An approach by a socially-oriented government that fought off the naysayer conservatives who feared that by legalizing marijuana the country would dip into an abyss of drug-users. With conviction and firmness the socialist party proved in ten years that criminalizing drug-users was the wrong solution to a real problem.

Moreover, they were able to prove that the cost of incarcerating drug users was equal to that of treating them, with the added bonus of nine out of ten drug users leaving the world of dependency and the cycle of misery that any drug user knows is his or her lot in a country where his/her ‘disease’ is criminalized. This on tax-payers money.
(http://healthland.time.com/2010/11/23/portugals-drug-experience-new-study-confirms-decriminalization-was-a-success/).

With more time on their hands, the police have been able to deal with the real drug dealers, those men and women who make a profit out of other people’s addictions.

Closer to home, here in Canada, we have similar opposition to legalizing Marijuana. No doubt that we, as parents, tremble at the thought of our precious ‘investment’ going down the drain if they were to flounder on the shores of despondency. But our fears should give way to trust that decriminalizing drugs will - as it has in Portugal - take the thrill out of substance abuse and enable each person to manage his or her own consumption in a way that will reduce addiction, jail terms and a sure fall into the a cycle of drug-dependency.

One of the most telling factors in making my decision to go for this option is that those who object to legalizing drugs the most are the drug dealers themselves. The loss of income would mean that they would have to get ‘real’ jobs, pay taxes and see their lucrative illegal self-employed occupations go to government-controlled institutions.

Other opponents to decriminalization are those who hope to build a whole stack of prisons and manage these privatized institutions on behalf of the government. The conservative party that has been actively promoting the construction and privatization of the jails has also introduced bills to criminalize even more the users of marijuana. Luckily for us, the leader and party has been kicked out on a charge of contempt of Parliament.

Pharmaceuticals, naturally, will be very upset when marijuana is decriminalized, but they will easily find a way to produce drugs in order to make a profit. One would actually have to fear them more than the local grow-op people.

I am not a user myself, but have to acknowledge that most drunks and prescription drug-users, who happen to be women and many men in stressful jobs, don’t have anything to envy of the more natural ‘weed’ consumers. That has been my observation and would be yours too if you got behind the smoke screen and saw that prohibition only promotes that which is prohibited.

Many people have written better and more researched pieces.  For example the recent piece here:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/marijuana-should-not-be-criminalized/article1984417/

There is an entire angle to this that touches on profit, money and taxation. We won't go into that, but do think about these things and see how connected they are to everything else that is not working in Canada.

Whether you smoke or don't, go out and vote!
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