New Group Not High on Drug Prohibition

A new coalition is calling for a change in Canada’s “failed” approach to alcohol, tobacco and drug controls.

Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition that was formed in March and launched yesterday in Vancouver, said the country should focus on building a strong health, social and human-rights approach to drug-policy issues.

“This is where our energy and resources should be going, not towards building prisons and criminalizing young people and other marginalized population,” he said.

Four former Vancouver mayors recently lent their support to Stop the Violence B.C., a coalition pushing for the end of pot prohibition in Canada.

The Health Officers’ Council of B.C. (HOC) also released a study yesterday, titled Public Health Perspectives for Regulation Psychoactive Substances, which highlights the need for action on public-health-oriented regulation of psychoactive substances.

The HOC’s Dr. John Carsley said he hopes the paper will stimulate public and governmental discussions to make changes to the current system.

“You can reduce the harm from psychoactive substances by creating a regulatory model that puts controls on them without necessarily criminalizing them and limits both the excesses of criminalization and over-promotion,” Carsley said, adding that a public-health approach can lead to less substance use and enormous savings for the penal and health system.

Jodie Emery, wife of activist Marc Emery, said it’s great to see professionals, academics and even politicians joining in the call to end prohibition.

“When people are concerned about gangsters, grow-ops and young people getting hold of drugs, all of those are caused not by drugs existing, but they’re caused by drugs being kept illegal and drug prohibition,” she said. “The problems associated with drugs … are actually dealt with better by changing the laws to be more progressive, to move away from punishment and law enforcement and towards education and crime prevention.”

– Article from Metro Vancouver.



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