If there’s one thing that can get the nation’s pot smokers motivated it’s the legalization of marijuana.
After two U.S. states okayed pot for recreational use in ballot initiatives on Tuesday, activists in this country renewed their call to legalize it in Canada.
“This is monumental. I finally feel like we’re beginning to see the end of the war on cannabis around the world,” cannabis crusader Dana Larsen, a founding member of the Canadian Marijuana Party and the B.C. Marijuana Party, told QMI Agency Wednesday.
But just as Colorado and Washington loosened up, Canada tightened its drug laws.
On the very same day as the U.S. election, the Canadian federal Safe Streets and Communities Act went into effect, introducing mandatory minimum penalties for marijuana possession and production: one year in jail for more than 3 kg, and six months for between six and 200 plants.
“These drugs are illegal because of the harmful effect they have on users and on society, including violent crime,” Carl Vallee, a press secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said in April in response to a pro-pot protest on Parliament Hill. “Our government has no interest in seeing any of these drugs legalized or made more easily available to youth.”
While 3 kg is probably more than most people would have for personal use, it’s a lot less than Larsen has on hand at the two medical marijuana dispensaries he runs in B.C. The new mandatory minimums apply to him and his staff.
“It’s an irony that in the States they’ve (taken) two huge steps forward and in Canada it’s really one big step back,” said Larsen, who is currently taking his Sensible B.C. tour around his home province to push for decriminalization of “simple cannabis possession.”
The move by the two U.S. states is an “inspiration” to those who want to see Canada “embrace a smart drug policy,” David Valentin, of the Young Liberals of Canada, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are losing over a billion dollars of tax revenue, wasting over $400 million trying to enforce a failed drug strategy and giving young people criminal records,” he said.
– Read the entire article at Toronto Sun.