With Arrests Declining, Police Chase Cannabis Users

BEYOND PROHIBITION – Arrests are down across Canada this year and have been declining steadily for the past five years. However, a large chunk of Canadian society is actually being arrested at record levels. Thieves? Nope. Violent predators? Not them either. The group being targeted by police and arrested at all-time highs are those nefarious cannabis users.

You know, the guy that smokes a joint instead of cracking a beer at the end of a hard day of work. The mother of three that has a few puffs to relax after a day of chasing young ones around the house. The cancer survivor that uses cannabis to relieve pain and allow her to eat.

These “criminals” are the ones that police seem bent on busting for simple possession – an offence that reached a 30-year record levels of arrests in 2007 and, amazingly, increased by 5% more in 2008 to 50,145 arrests.

“It’s shocking, really,” said Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation. “Arrests are falling across the board and yet arrests for simple possession have never been higher. Every one of the 50,000 people arrested is going to have their life harmed more by the arrest than by their cannabis use. We’ve known this since Le Dain in 1971. I can’t fathom why, with arrests down, police appear to be targeting simple possession. I would hope that they have better things to do with their time.”

Every study conducted on the issue of cannabis policy has recommended that people stop being arrested for simple possession. The most recent comprehensive study, conducted by a Special Committee of the Senate in 2002, concluded unanimously that the best policy for Canada would be to legalize and regulate the plant. Even the Supreme Court of Canada, while agreeing that Parliament was entitled to criminalize cannabis users, found that it was a relatively benign substance that, for the vast majority of users, caused little or no long-term harms.

“It seems from media reports that we are in the midst of historic gang violence and police are in dire need of more resources” said Jacob Hunter, Policy Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation pointed out, “yet here we have proof that the police are focusing their scarce resources not on violent crime, not on gang crime, but on simple marijuana possession. I think most Canadians expect arresting marijuana users to be the lowest police priority, not the highest.”

The Beyond Prohibition Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the repeal of cannabis prohibition and its replacement with a legal, regulated system of control.



  1. Anonymous on

    Thats what it is, tyranny around the world. The love of money is the root of all evil and our leaders and governemts LOVE money and power that goes with it. My torch is lit , when do we burn rome or washington or….You get it.

  2. kristen.wscr on

    I was just wondering if anyone had the source for “an offence that reached a 30-year record levels of arrests in 2007 and, amazingly, increased by 5% more in 2008 to 50,145 arrests.” or a press article that has mentioned this atrocity.

  3. Anonymous on

    Something else that is very disturbing is how easy it is to become a Justice of the Peace. I knew a crack dealer who had a female JOTP for a client. These are the people who can authorize a home invasion on any pretext. Sure, the warrant will be ruled invalid and the evidence inadmissible but by that time you’re home has been ransacked and robbed by an armed home invasion team who will smash your door into splinters if you don’t invite them in. This happened to a person I know. Then if you want your stuff back you have to go through a bunch of crap to get a court order. It’s ridiculous. That person’s warrant was signed by a JOTP who does weddings, not the real one at the courthouse. That means they can literally make anything up for a warrant and get it signed by one of these gumball machine JOTPs and smash their way into anybody’s house any time they want. We have no security in our own homes whatsoever in the nation of Canada.

  4. Anonymous on

    Let’s see,US DEA IN MEXICO,COLUMBIA,AFGANISTAN,hiding behind the american flag in the service of the failed drug war,is a easy way to get a foot hold on the OIL…but the US can not do that in Canada or could they?…

  5. Kevin on

    Harper, or little Bush needs a new job

  6. Pug on

    As crime rates continue to go down that means theres less for our over abundance of cops to do. Easiest way to look like they still matter so that we continue to waste our tax dollars on them is arrest all those they’ve been turning there back to all these years. They don’t care until it’s their job on the line. And in all fairness how hard is it to find people smoking dope? If they are focusing this much time on pot smokers and thats the only number that they can arrest? They sure suck at that job too!

  7. Dave on

    Responding to a domestic disputes is more dangerous, for them, than busting a cannabis seller or user! Don’t think I’ve ever seen a SWAT team respond to a domestic dispute with military vehicles, battering rams, full armour and guns drawn?

  8. Anonymous on

    And while cannabis smokers are hunted like rabbits by the
    police force throughout Canada,Our beloved prime minister
    Harper looses hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue
    because of illegal tobacco cigarette manufacturing which continue to kill thousands of Canadians each year and doesn’t do a thing about it. Oh! the fun to live in this non-sense country.Diviser pour mieux reigner.2 weights,2 measures.

  9. Dave on

    Hey Anonymous:
    Not just anybody, Butter Bean would have to have at least a grade 11. And the IQ level high enough to follow orders, lawful or otherwise.

  10. Anonymous on

    The Canadian Government needs to stop wasting time and money on something that isn’t a problem. If a majority of people weren’t too busy looking for things to worry about and something to blame it on, perhaps more important problems could be dealt with.

  11. slade420 on

    Becoming a police officer is easy, almost anyone can. Sadly these people are the front line in society. I just saw on the news today, that an American police officer drew his gun when the service at the local McDonalds drive-thru wasnt as fast as he would have liked. Seems like they dont do psychological testing. The stories of trigger happy police and becoming almost daily news. They are trusted with the safety of the community and should be held accountable.

  12. joe and his six pack on

    The police bust the none violent people who are safe for them to go after than to go after the violent criminals who kill, rape, but the none violent people there only crime is for what they digest in to one own body. So if that’s a crime then this seems like slavery. Because who owns one’s body the government an individual himself. The thing I want to say is .The people are ingesting tobacco and alcohol every day and that is a lot worse than marijuana. This is nothing more than a war on a safer product.

  13. Anonymous on

    Well, if you’re a cop and you want to keep your collar rate up so you can get a promotion Cannabis smokers are easy meat. That’s all Cannabis is now for the police, a real easy way to make it look like you’re fighting crime when, in fact, you’re just a useless fatass who got turned down by the military and the Fire Department for being too out of shape. The Police Department will take anybody. If Butter Bean filled out an application, he’d be in.