Arrests for marijuana posession up 20-50% since conservatives took office

Discussion in 'General' started by sh4d0ws, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. OTTAWA -- Smoking pot is as illegal in Canada as it's ever been but some people are toking more boldly than ever before. \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    Which makes it far easier to arrest them. \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    The number of people arrested for smoking pot rose dramatically in several Canadian cities last year after the Conservatives took office and killed a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
    The spike in arrests for simple possession of cannabis appears in data compiled by The Canadian Press from municipal police forces through interviews and Access to Information Act requests.

    National statistics will only be released next week but preliminary figures suggest the number of arrests jumped by more than one-third in several Canadian cities.
    \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax all reported increases of between 20% and 50% in 2006, while Montreal and Calgary saw their number of arrests dip a few percentage points from the previous year.
    As a result ,thousands of people were charged with a criminal offence that just recently was within a whisker of extinction. \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    Every federal party except the Conservatives supported a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, but the Liberal government that sponsored it never brought it to a final vote.
    Several police officials say the trend is linked directly to that legislation, which died as a result of the federal election on Jan. 23, 2006.
    The head of one police association said many forces simply stopped laying charges after the Liberals first introduced a decriminalization bill under Jean Chretien in 2003.
    "There were several police jurisdictions not laying the simple ... possession charges," said Terry McLaren, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
    "Everybody was waiting for what was going to happen. ... There'd be no use clogging up court system with that decriminalization bill there. When that was defeated, I'd say it was business as usual."
    The number of people charged plunged from 26,882 in 2002 and remained relatively steady, below 19,000, for the three years that decriminalization was being debated in Parliament.
    But police say many pot-smokers -- especially younger ones -- appear unaware that the bill never actually passed. \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    The stillborn bill would have made possession under 15 grams a non-criminal offence punishable by fines starting at $150. \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    Nearly half of Canadians have committed the crime spelled out in Section 4 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It sets out a maximum six-month prison sentence and a $1,000 fine for anyone caught with 30 grams of marijuana or less.
    Liberalization advocates say 600,000 Canadians unfairly carry a criminal record because of existing laws. They call the decision to scrap decriminalization wrong-headed.
    But Barry McKnight expressed hope that the Conservatives' coming $64-million National Anti-Drug Strategy, promised in the last federal budget, will drive home one simple point.
    "I'm hoping for a clear message: ... that drugs are bad," said Mc-Knight, a drug-policy expert with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. "Marijuana is a harmful drug. It's as simple as that -- no ifs, ands, or buts. Period, end of sentence."
  2. In fairness, the number of arrests is only up because of the death of the decriminilization bill -- which was caused by the dissolution of Parliament by the previous Liberal government (or rather, their defeat in the House) and not anything directly done by Harper.

    That said, this (and that braindead 'Israel's actions were a measured response' comment Harper made during the Israelie-Lebanese war last July) is the one issue where Harper drives me friggin' crazy.

Share This Page