Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Drug Reform

Proof that we need, more than ever, a realistic drug policy in this country.

It seems that, for his own good of course, this teen whose only crime was smoking a joint, is going to have his life ruined by a criminal record. Where is the justice in this?

There is none. There are currently hundreds, thousands even, of non-violent people in prison for doing nothing more than using or selling drugs that aren't made by a corporation. Is it really necessary to punish people for this? Is it necessary to legislate taste?

It's time to end this BS. Drug law reform, especially with regards to marijuana, but also touching on other drugs, should absolutely be a part of the next Liberal platform. It's time we stopped pretending, as a party, as a country, as rational human beings, that the proper approach to drugs is a black and white, "They're evil" policy.

In the case of marijuana, there is quite literally no reason that it ought to remain illegal, especially considering something along the lines of 40% of Canadians have used it at some point in their lives. Ought we charge 40% of the population for this so-called "crime?" Paul Martin and Chris Stockwell both admit to using it - should we go take out those evildoers? Moreover, a majority of people think it should be legal anyway.

In the case of other drugs, their ideal regulatory status is certainly debatable, but one thing that is absolutely undeniable is that our current approach does not succeed in accomplishing its goals, and that "get tough" approaches only make the problem worse. If this "drug war" were an actual war, all of the generals would have been demoted and then some for rank incompetence by now, because they've been losing it horribly for the past century.

Our current drug policy is intolerable, unconscionable, and utterly totalitarian. What is it about "my body, my choice" that is so difficult to understand? Why must we legislate taste? Lots of people do things that I would not do myself. I, for one, have no desire to become a cigarette smoker, but I don't think we should make it illegal.

We're so selective about what we let kill you. Alcohol is okay. Cigarettes are fine. Extreme sports? Go right ahead. Driving around in a circle at over 120 kilometres and hour at extreme risk of crashing and going up in flames? Hey, it's your choice. Only with drugs do we say, "We can't allow that, because if we do... what will we tell the children?"

How about this: "Children, there are some things that you are too young to do. You are not allowed to enjoy adult pleasures yet because you cannot fully comprehend the consequences of your choices." There, it's very simple. Why can't we say that?

I am not a child. As an adult citizen of a free country, I ought to be able to do whatever I please to my own body, whether I want to pierce it, tattoo it, or inhale things into it. It is the pinnacle of injustice, and so patronizingly paternalistic and condescending, to suggest that adult Canadians are not competent enough to make decisions about what they do to their own bodies.

The government does not own our bodies - we do. It's time our laws started reflecting that.

4 Comments:

At 5/17/2006 7:17 PM, Blogger Kyle Carruthers said...

Here here

 
At 5/17/2006 9:47 PM, Blogger s.b. said...

Blue Grit, there are diversion programs in almost all jurisdictions, although the benchmarks are variable. Almost no one, who cooperates with the process, goes to jail for a first possession offence or even more. Also, crimal records can be removed after a certain number of years depending on the offence. It won't ruin his whole life.

But I do believe, in general, that all consensual crime by adults with adults should be de-criminalized.

 
At 5/18/2006 12:42 PM, Blogger Jim said...

It seems that, for his own good of course, this teen whose only crime was smoking a joint, is going to have his life ruined by a criminal record. Where is the justice in this?

I agree with you 100%.

I'd be remiss if I didn't introduce a bit of snark, however.

I see we both hate laws that only seem to exist to punish those people who don't hurt anybody else ... :)

 
At 5/18/2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Clear Grit said...

I see we both hate laws that only seem to exist to punish those people who don't hurt anybody else

Clever, my friend, but inapt. :) There is a slight difference between a naturally occurring plant and a man-made object specifically designed to make something that is alive not be alive anymore. Plus, I'm not saying we should punish gun owners, just ask that they subject themselves to some oversight given that they own deadly weapons. I mean, we register our cars. Why not our guns?

 

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