Canadians ‘Ahead of Politicians’ on Marijuana Laws

Canadians are ahead of their federal politicians on the issue of liberalizing marijuana laws, according to two high-profile lawmakers from B.C.

With Californians heading to the polls in November to decide whether possession of a small amount of marijuana should be legal, a similar law in Canada is not likely on the horizon, Liberal Keith Martin and New Democrat Libby Davies told The Province.

Davies, who represents the voters of Vancouver East, favours legalization of marijuana, while Martin, the MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, has been calling for decriminalizing the controversial drug since 2001.

“I think the public is ahead of where the politicians are,” said Davies. “Prohibition has failed. It has created a lot more harm in terms of violence.”

Davies said prohibition brings organized crime into the equation.

“For marijuana, it’s much better to have a rules-based, evidence-based approach that focuses on health and education.”

Davies’s position goes further than the federal NDP position, which calls for decriminalization. “The first step should be legalization for personal use,” she added. “Beyond that, there’s a lot of debate that has to happen.”

Martin has introduced a private member’s bill to decriminalize marijuana in every parliamentary session since 2001. Under his proposal, “You would receive a fine and you wouldn’t receive a criminal record,” he said. Martin added he doesn’t support people smoking marijuana “because it’s harmful.

“But the harm [caused by]our current drug laws is greater than the harm inflicted by [the law]because it’s so punitive and destroys a person’s future.

“From a medical perspective, alcohol does far more damage and costs more to Canadian society than marijuana does,” said Martin, a medical doctor who has worked in emergency wards.

“I had a lot of people who came to emergency who had been drinking and had beaten each other up or drove their cars into other cars and killed themselves or killed other people,” he said.

“But I never had anybody who had smoked marijuana and committed those horrible acts of violence.”

Martin said he hopes to reintroduce his private member’s bill in the next month, but he doesn’t expect it will pass.

“Parliament has become more small-c conservative than I’ve ever seen it. It’s moving in the opposite direction to the Canadian public on these issues.”

Earlier this week, a report issued by the B.C. Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS argued that studies going back 20 years have shown that drug crackdowns usually lead to increased violence.

Lead researcher Dr. Evan Wood, a University of B.C. medical professor, argued that a better approach to law enforcement and longer prison terms would be to change the legal status of illicit drugs and make them available to adults under strict regulations to minimize their use.

– Article from The Province.



  1. Ronz on

    From the second we are born to the second we die we owe our government. We live where they want, we do what they want us to do and for some reason we just let it happen. When humans stop putting so much stock in pieces of paper with numbers on them and just help people for the fun of it, maybe we’ll look back at the drug war and shake our heads at what we went through just to be at peace.

  2. Buzz Killjoy on

    You raise some good points.
    If we operate under the thesis that Harper is “Bush Lite”, and we are aware that Cannabis can be used to successfully treat opiate addiction, the answers may become more clear. Perhaps even self-evident.
    If you’re willing to consider that the “powers that be” are consist of a “Diaboligarchy” supported by a “Psychopathocracy”, then it’s not such a stretch to see things as “the forces of evil” suppressing “the Tree OF Life”.

  3. Anonymous on

    The currant lack of leadership that exists amongst Canadian politicians is the only thing keeping Harper in the position of a minority government. That same lack of leadership is also the reason that marijuana is not legalized? Harper cannot, from his stance that “all drugs are bad”, now change his failing ideology and say that the legalization of marijuana would have a many more positive results then the blind right wing denial now being practiced by Mr. Harper and his Conservatives. The same can be said of all other party leaders? The laws that keep marijuana in the same “B” category of drug as cocaine and heroin have been wrong from the get go, causing a misappropriation of taxpayer dollars in North America on policing marijuana laws that have allowed the more profitable cocaine and heroin trade to flourish on this continent, since that mid night meeting that slipped marijuana into the wrong category of the UN drug ratification agreement of the early sixties. The question is what has Harper done to protect our streets from the record amount of heroin that has been smuggled out of Afghanistan? Ten’s of thousands of tons of heroin has left that country since Bush staged the invasion? Harper is totally aware of this fact, the Canadian PMO has done nothing but threaten to put pot smokers in jail? This lack of leadership is a much bigger threat to Canadians then putting Canadian pot smokers in jail for growing one plant of marijuana. Again I mention Harper is totally aware of this growing problem but has done nothing to protect our Canadian soil and its citizens from a very serious problem?