CANNABIS CULTURE – An international organization of police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents is cheering the announcement by leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada that they will oppose Bill S-10, which would create new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana and other drugs.
The Liberal Party’s opposition seriously jeopardizes the bill’s chances of being enacted into law.
Although Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the police group, does not endorse or support any political parties or any candidates for office, it does oppose Bill S-10 and the criminalization approach to drug control in general.
“The Liberal party has correctly pointed out that Bill S-10 would impose an enormous burden on taxpayers,” said Randie Long, a former prosecutor and LEAP spokesman, “but that is not the worst aspect of the bill. The bill’s supporters claim that it would increase public safety. As law enforcement professionals with decades of personal experience attempting to enforce drug laws, we in LEAP know that this is absolutely false. In fact, mandatory minimums for growing marijuana would strike hardest at the “small fry” – at friends, neighbours and relatives who simply do not belong in prison. Prison spaces are expensive and scarce: We might well be forced to release violent criminals early to make room for those who receive mandatory minimums. How would that make us safer?”
Among other things, Bill S-10 proposes to require mandatory minimum sentences for anyone convicted of growing as few as six marijuana plants.
“It is ignorant and dishonest to call the Liberal party and the other opponents of Bill S-10 ‘soft on crime,’ as some supporters of the bill have,” says Long. “Mandatory minimums are not tough on crime; they are dumb on crime. If Bill S-10 became law, the worst and most powerful gangsters would celebrate. Mandatory minimums, like other intensified enforcement efforts, do nothing but remove their competitors.”
“Mandatory minimums have been tried for decades here in the US, and have failed miserably,” adds Neill Franklin, the executive director of LEAP and a former narcotics cop in Baltimore, Maryland. “They have helped drive state governments to the edge of bankruptcy, and have left critical public services such as education starved for money. Even worse, they have ruined the lives and futures of thousands of people, while making organized crime even stronger and doing absolutely nothing to reduce drug abuse. It is unbelievable that any other country would consider imitating this disastrous experience.”
Eric Sterling, the primary author of America’s federal mandatory minimum laws, testified before the Canadian Senate last year in opposition to a previous version of the bill, emphasizing the failure of these laws in the US. Video of Sterling’s testimony is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xobbgyr2OQs
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. For more information, visit http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com