Emergency info on the implications of Canada's new drug law.

Get it Together

Fight Bill C-7
Bill C-7, Canada’s new American-style drug law, has passed through it’s final amendments and may become law as quickly
as Nov. 21st, 1995.

According to the Globe & Mail’s article of Sept. 24, 1994, if this final, “fine tuned” version of C-7 passes, the police will be
able to “(sell) drugs to win the confidence of a trafficking suspect”. The police will be allowed to search you, your family and friends and your
house for drugs or “non-drug evidence of drug trafficking or production” (zip lock bags? rolling papers?) – with a single search-warrant. They will
be able to search any person found in the place sought out in the warrant, “even in the absence of convincing evidence that the person possesses and
illegal substance or something linked to drug possession, trafficking or production.”

In Canada, that means pot. Marijuana offenses account for over three-fifths of all drug offenses in this country, while
accounting for zero deaths. Tobacco, in comparison, accounts for over 35000 deaths every year in Canada, while getting caught selling it to
children may result in a small fine.

Bill C-7 allows the police, if they so desire, to obtain a warrant for a movie theater or a bar and search everyone in the place.
And for what? To save us from a bit of a cough? To protect us from drymouth?

Bill C-7 sub-committee chairman Paul Szabo has clearly run out of excuses for a war on pot. Graciously permitting us the use of
herb tea, he draws the line at ganja, claiming that pot is “as strong or stronger than cocaine was 10 years ago.” It may smell stronger, but cannabis
has no known toxicity level, no physical withdrawal symptoms and no long term health risks.

Here’s a wild shot in the dark: perhaps the reason the liberal government is dragging their feet on relegalizing “the safest
recreational herb” has nothing to do with their ignorance of this herb’s otherwise public reputation. Perhaps it has more to do with keeping rich
people happy – if the war on marijuana ended, the cotton, timber and oil barons would loose their monopolies, the justice and defense industries
would lose much of their budgets, and the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries may see their profits cut in half. Remember, Liberal Finance
Minister Paul Martin was the chairman of IMASCO, the holding company of both Imperial Tobacco and Shoppers Drug Mart.

And lets start paying close attention to the amazing environmental benefits of relegalization – we could grow “P.I.C.” Productive
Industrial Cannabis (1% THC) instead of the weaker and less useful “E.A.H.” – Europe-Approved Hemp ( .3% or less THC) – but only if we stop treating
THC as if it was “home-grown dynamite”. If farmers are only allowed to grow E.A.H., they will not be able to compete with heavily polluting
industries like cotton, wood-pulp, and tobacco. If P.I.C. was allowed to compete with petroleum on the open market, taking into account the cost
of military protection, importation, environmental costs (one of which could be the survival of humankind) and domestic job-loss that comes with the
already heavily taxpayer-subsidized oil industry, it would become apparent that hemp, when grown in conjunction with other high-yield biomass and
seed-oil crops, is much cheaper than all the fossil fuels, not to mention nuclear energy.

The hemp issue is one that shouldn’t be buried under a Quebec brouhaha or lost in a modern-day Orwellian memory hole. Mr. Szabo
could never really defend his witch hunt “enforcement” mentality against real arguments, like comparing the crime and health rates of “harm-reduction”
strategies in Amsterdam and “zero tolerance” strategies in Washington DC.

If there was a ground swell of letters to newspapers, demonstrations and other creative access to the media, and extensive use of
non-profit methods of communicating (university press and radio, postering, word-of-mouth etc.) to make the various arguments more easily available
to the general public, the government’s weak and unproven support for the Americanization of the war on pot would completely evaporate.

David Malmo-Levine
Vancouver, B.C.


fax 604-669-9038


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