Sometime this year, if it hasn’t happened already, the millionth Canadian will be arrested for marijuana possession, Dana Larsen estimates. The indefatigable B.C.-based activist for pot legalization is thinking of marking the occasion with a special ceremony. True, it will be impossible to know exactly who the millionth person is, but with the Conservative government’s amped-up war on drugs, it won’t be hard to find a nominee. As Larsen notes, the war on drugs in Canada is mostly a war on marijuana, “and most of that is a war on marijuana users.”
The numbers bear him out. Since the Tories came to power in 2006, and slammed the door on the previous Liberal government’s muddled plans to reduce or decriminalize marijuana penalties, arrests for pot possession have jumped 41 per cent. In those six years, police reported more than 405,000 marijuana-related arrests, roughly equivalent to the populations of Regina and Saskatoon combined.
In the statistic-driven world of policing, pot users are the low-hanging fruit, says Larsen, director of Sensible BC, a non-profit group organizing to put marijuana decriminalization on a provincial referendum ballot in 2014. “We’re seeing crime drop across Canada. [Police] feel they’ve got nothing better to do. You can throw a rock and find a marijuana user,” he says over coffee in his Burnaby home. “It’s very easy to do.”
– Read the entire article at Maclean’s.