Don’t believe the hype!
Marijuana is not going to be decriminalized in Canada. The media is helping the
government to deceive Canadians into thinking that Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs
& Substances Act, is somehow a step towards decriminalizing marijuana. This is
simply not true.
Bill C-7 makes no changes to the penalties for possession of
marijuana. You still receive a criminal record if you are convicted of possession
of any amount of marijuana.
The government has claimed that they will no longer take the
fingerprints of those convicted of possession under 30 grams, but this really
makes no difference in practical terms. Canadian and US customs officials have
testified that Bill C-7 will not affect the flow of information or their procedures
in any way. The other negative aspects of having a criminal record would still
continue to apply under Bill C-7 as well.
Bill C-7 was withdrawn during the summer schedule because it
was drawing too much negative public attention, then snuck through Parliament on
the day of the Qu?bec referendum. It has been accompanied by a slick media
campaign proclaiming that Bill C-7 is a progressive piece of legislation which
accomodates concepts like harm reduction and tolerance.
In fact, Bill C-7 will put many more Canadians in
jail. It will greatly increase the number of marijuana users that are charged
with trafficking and put in jail for five years. Bill C-7 also drastically
increases police powers of search and seizure, and empowers police to actively
sell the drugs they are supposedly trying to prohibit.