Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re still in the midst of a war on marijuana. Most Canadian marijuana smokers never get arrested and only a small percentage are even hassled by police. Cannabis, in some parts of Canada at least, is plentiful and reasonably priced, or at least affordable.
It even looks like there might soon be some kind of official steps towards a rational cannabis policy. Hemp is making baby-steps into commercial reality, and “medical pot” has recently become a Parliamentary catch-phrase.
These events should all be taken as good news, but by no means do they indicate that we have “won” anything yet. This is not the time to relax and enjoy our relative freedom, but rather the time for us to work to make our voice heard even more.
We are approaching the endgame, where the rules for the new system will begin to be defined. We cannot expect the government or the bureaucracy to do us any favours in this regard, and it is actually more likely that they will use every possible maneuver to dupe, outwit and placate us without actually changing anything at all.
An example of this is the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Regular readers of Cannabis Canada know what a disgusting and vicious piece of legislation it is, yet it was sold to Canadians as a small but positive step towards decriminalization. Parliament told Canadians they were lessening the penalties for possession because they knew that was what Canadians wanted to hear, yet the bill actually steps up marijuana prohibition in a number of ways, which is what Parliament apparently wants instead.
Another example of this is industrial hemp. Although most Canadians think hemp is already legal or that it will be legal for next year, this is far from a sure thing. The bureaucracy is stalling with the regulations and is already six months past their original completion date. They obviously will not create the necessary regulations unless there is much more public and political pressure applied against them.
Even when the regulations are completed the bureaucrats will still be able to screw-up hemp farmers by delaying their individual licenses until past their planting date, which has been a regular occurrence for every “experimental” hemp farmer so far. This blatant disregard for the spirit of the law and the desire of the Canadian people is outrageous.
A recent opinion poll showed that 83% of Canadians support the medical use of marijuana. Yet although there has been some discussion in Parliament on this issue, we can be sure that without continually growing public pressure, nothing will be done to allow for the legal medical use of marijuana for many years, if ever.
The issues of industrial hemp and medical marijuana are the weak spots in the armour of prohibition, and we have begun to make them crack. Yet we are a far cry from ending the war on marijuana, and victory is far from certain. Our politicians have promised legislative change before, but they have never delivered.
As long as the marijuana laws remain on the books they will be a threat to us all, no matter how they are currently ignored or unofficially modified. As long as these prohibitionary laws remain in force they will be used against some unlucky Canadians, who will find themselves with a lengthy jail sentence, their home seized, their family devastated, simply for growing or trading in what we know is nothing more and nothing less than a wonderful plant.
Dana Larsen, Editor
Note: I’m sad to say there’s no hemp paper in this issue. Next issue we’ll be back on track with a hemp section for sure!