22,400 Pot Possession Arrests Under Trudeau So Far

CANNABIS CULTURE – There has been over 22,400 arrests for cannabis possession in Canada since Trudeau became Prime Minister.

I derive that number from the last reported rate of cannabis possession arrests in Canada of 160 per day, or one every 9 minutes. There is no indication that the rate of arrests has slowed since Trudeau took over, with many police forces explicitly saying they are continuing to enforce the possession laws as strictly as ever. Bill Blair agrees, saying he wants pot busts to continue.

Yet according to Bill Blair, a disproportionate number of these arrests are among “minority communities, aboriginal communities and those in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods.”

So why continue to make possession arrests? How can Trudeau and Blair acknowledge that prohibition is enforced in a very racially biased manner, confirm that they are going to legalize cannabis soon, but refuse to do anything now to stop those pointless and harmful arrests from continuing to happen?

Trudeau is right when he says decriminalization isn’t the right solution for cannabis. But it is the right first step. Stopping arrests for possession and personal cultivation is the best first step towards ending the war on cannabis. Plus, allowing Canadians to grow a few plants for personal use will help to break the hold of the black market.

All Canadians should be calling upon Trudeau and Blair to end arrests for personal possession, and to end arrests for personal cultivation now.

All that has to happen is to remove possession of under 30 grams of cannabis from Schedule II of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This is actually quite an easy thing to do, and wouldn’t even require an act of Parliament. The same thing could be done with cultivation of 5 plants or less for personal use.

Of course there’s many more steps that need to be taken, and time is needed to figure out the details. But we can be more patient with that process if the Liberals make a real show of good faith now, and take these two simple but important steps without delay.

Click here to join with the 10,000 Canadians who have already signed an online petition calling for an end to cannabis arrests. Let’s show Trudeau and Blair that Canadians want immediate action on this issue.

Click here to find out more about the online petition, and how it outlines an eight point path to legalization.

 

Dana Larsen
Dana Larsen

Dana Larsen is the author of "Green Buds and Hash" and "Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone" and a well-known Vancouver cannabis activist, businessman and politician. He served ten years as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, is the co-founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank, founder of the Vancouver Dispensary Society, and Vice President of the Canadian Association of Cannabis Dispensaries. Larsen was a founding member of the BC Marijuana Party and the Canadian Marijuana Party. In 2003 he joined the NDP, running as an NDP candidate in 2008. In 2011, he ran for the Leadership of the BC NDP. Larsen is also founder and director of Sensible BC, Canada’s largest grassroots cannabis reform organization.