MP Keith Martin: Decriminalize Simple Possession of Pot

Dr. Keith Martin is a Member of Parliament, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, for the Liberal Party of Canada.Dr. Keith Martin is a Member of Parliament, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, for the Liberal Party of Canada.The lethal gun battles on the streets of Vancouver, the astounding number of murders in Mexico, and the insurgency that continues to grow in Afghanistan (which results in our soldiers being killed) all have one thing in common: the trafficking of illegal drugs.

The U.S.-style war on drugs that is being pursued by Canada’s Conservative government has proven to be an utter failure. It has not reduced crime, harm or even drug use. The only groups benefitting from the status quo are organized crime gangs, insurgent groups, and terrorist organizations. Who pays a heavy price? Society, our soldiers, some of the world’s poorest countries, and the most vulnerable people in our communities.

So how do we deal with this? First, our government needs to change its perspective and see substance abuse as a medical problem, not a judicial one. In order to reduce the supply of illegal drugs flowing into our communities and, by extension, the funding of organized criminal groups and insurgents, we must get our own house in order and reduce the demand for these drugs.

Can we sever the ties between addicts and organized crime? Indeed we can. One superb initiative that does this is a little-known program in Vancouver called the North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI). This program allows addicts to receive prescribed narcotics under medical supervision. It frees these patients from the devastating feedback loop of drug dependence and criminal activity and brings them into the medical system. The addict no longer commits illegal activities (usually theft, prostitution, or trafficking) to fund their addiction, which produces a significant reduction in crime. It also severs the ties between the individual and the organized crime gangs that are the primary vehicles for moving illegal drugs into Canada. By breaking this cycle, addicts are able to remain connected to the medical system, access training programs, psychological therapy and educational opportunities, gain employment, and rebuild their lives with their families.

Another initiative that is needed to modernize our drug laws is to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, including the possession of up to two plants. This will cut the connection between the gangs involved in commercial grow ops and casual pot users.

Bill C-359 was introduced this spring to accomplish these goals. Under this bill, a person who is caught with less than 30 grams of marijuana or less than two plants would receive a fine instead of going through the expensive court system and receiving a criminal record, or even incarceration if found guilty. The money saved could be invested in prevention programs like the Head Start/Early Learning Program for children or drug treatment programs like NAOMI.

Many studies, including those done by House of Commons committees, have found that current federal drug policies have not been effective at reducing drug use, trafficking, crime, and harm. In 2002, the Senate Report on Illegal Drugs called for the decriminalization of the simple possession of marijuana. Respected organizations like the Canadian Medical Association have also echoed this position.

The medical profession has a principle: do no harm. We are actually doing terrible harm and will do so for as long as we continue to address substance abuse as a criminal issue. Decriminalizing the simple possession of marijuana would be a start at reducing harm, cost, and criminal activity in Canada. Several states in the U.S. have done this with positive results, as have many countries in Europe. Canada can and should do it too.

Dr. Keith Martin is a Member of Parliament, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, for the Liberal Party of Canada.

– Article from The Mark.



  1. Anonymous on

    Keith can go and you-know-what himself.

  2. Brian Kerr on

    We all know that decriminalization is full of shit, but Keith is at leased getting a conversation going about Cannabis. If you don’t agree with him, send him an email
    and tell him your opinions. I did and suggested a better system of decrim. Maybe he will listen if enough of us do this. Maybe not, but if we don’t do something nothing will change.

    As Radical Russ says “weed wont legalize its self.”

    We have to get off our fat asses and do it.

  3. dickweed on

    DML, BP, chill brothers, we gotta walk before we run, who was the last Liberal to advocate for anything other than the status quo, and a MD at that, Dr. Martin has hung his ass way out there, and needs all our support and yes guidance, if and when we get positive inertia the final law will look nothing like the Doc’s proposals there will be lots of time to inject common sense into the mashinations.

    Peace Out


  4. Anonymous on

    police, the courts ,the prison system just to name a few profit just like the cartels they are all crimnals .dispicable profiteeres in human misery .they will continue this horrible treatment of the people till they are all destroyed . war against them is the only answer .till then there will be no freedom

  5. Blind Pariah on

    Yes, listen to the fluff and dander from the only abstaining voter from a weak willed party who, instead of being a true opponent to the Reform/Alliance minority government, merely caves in at every turn and votes along with the pig-headed Harper clan in some vain attempt to appear viable for the next election.

    Where were the Liberals when it came time to defeat c-15? Who listened to the witnesses when the House was told this bill is completely the wrong idea? How can anybody trust a political party that cannot seem to see the overwhelming eveidence that even a grade school child could understand, as even the United States of DEA work to repeal these damaging laws?

    As I understand it, Dr. Keith Martin abstained from the vote. That doesn’t stand for anything. We heard there was a “grassroots revolt” over it, but where it counted, it was sheep leading peaceful marijuana growing citizens to a future slaughterhouse of overcrowded prisons, gang coersion, and no decline in the availability of any drugs on the street.

    While we may see a short-term rise in prices, soon there will be even more people drawn to the trade, and the government will have the “war” they seem to so desperatly crave for a few news reports cliaming they are “tough on crime”. Then prices will come down and you’ll have the same urban troubles that have plagued large US cities for years reflecting onto their Canadian equals. It’s already happening.

    Now, to specifics, I laugh aloud at the “two plants”. Two plants? What the hell is anybody going to do with two plants when you count a cutting as a full plant?

    Let’s see…let’s say I have a reliable mother. I can cut one clone, veg it, and flower it. That would supply me with a reason to go out and buy some “black market” stuff in the interms while I wait three months to get my own supply.

    People often seem to forget as well that there is a vast difference in marijuana grown from the same strain depending on the care and methods to which it is subjected. Pure profiteers care nothing for spraying chemicals, not flushing plants, and doing anything to make the profit potential grow, heedless of any adverse health effects.

    But hey, the DEA fatass neo-nazis run Canadian drug ploicy, don’t they? As long as they profit from the illegality of all drugs, they will continue to push for status quo. After all, they have to keep their salaries into perpetuity, while ironically the taxpayers pay for their own political ideologically driven persecution.

    What do they care for the average citizen? For you? For me?

    NOTHING…save as a target to make their own ill-gotten living “legitimate”. Order up some more troops. helicopters, drones…everybody can cash in!!!

    This whole atricle represents more of the nonsense forwarded by prohibitionists, dressed up as viable reform. It means nothing. The party lines between Liberals and Reform/Alliance (called “Conservative”) are blurred to the point where a vote for one is a vote for the other.

    The citizens suffer. The establishment profits.

    I have to go. I’ve gotten word that a big, bad marijuana plant has taken to the streets and is laying the beats to people! It’s a dangerous plant! I must go kill it before it takes up arms!!!! It jumped right off a table and walked away, swearing violence!!! Oh no!! Where is the DEA/Canada gov to save us????

  6. David Malmo-Levine on

    “In 2002, the Senate Report on Illegal Drugs called for the decriminalization of the simple possession of marijuana.”

    The Senate Report recommended LEGALIZATION, not decrim. Here’s what the Senate Report actually said about “decriminalization”:

    The Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs warned that despite the fact that some may say that decriminalization is a step in the right direction, “this approach is in fact the worst-case scenario, depriving the State of a regulatory tool needed in dealing with the entire production, distribution, and consumption network, and delivering a rather hypocritical message at the same time.” The report also states “decriminalization of use is a weak variation of prohibition, in the long run entailing more disadvantages than advantages.”

    The Senate is telling the truth, and Keith Martin is lying. Anyone who believes a liar like Keith is a sucker who will end up going to jail for unpaid fines if he or she can’t cough up the 1000 bucks for the third and subsequent tickets they will receive under his version of decrim.

  7. Anonymous on

    great article here

    if only that daft prick stephen harper would get his head out of his jesus loving ass we could accomplish something here