Do You Think Marijuana Should Be Legalized?

The UN released a drug report in 2007 stating a startling fact; 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. Canada ranks fifth in the world behind Ghana, Zambia, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia.

Remarkably, the world average is 3.8 per cent. When it comes to the legalization of marijuana, the debate can get heated.

Those opposed to the legalization state it could lead to more criminal actiivty and it could lead to the use of other drugs — marijuana is ofen called a gateway drug. Many believe marijuana is just as bad or worse than smoking tobacco, as it can lead to problems with memory, increased heart rate and an increased risk of lung infections and the impairment of the immune system, just to name a few.

Arguments for the legalization of marijuana include the fact that a lot of court time is taken up for small possession amounts; those with the small amounts had it on their person for recreational use and not for sale. Eliminate some of the pettier charges to make room for harder criminals waiting to go on trial.

With roughly 14 per cent of Canadians using marijuana — according to a 2004 Statistics Canada survey — should we not be looking at decriminalizing it?

Last spring, Liberal Keith Martin introduced a Private Member’s Bill — Bill C359 — to amend the Contraventions Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Marijuana). The bill got as far as first reading. Martin argued the bill would decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams and the possession of two or fewer plants. He stated that would sever the ties between the casual user and organized crime gangs — it would eliminate demand for their product and significantly undermine the financial underpinnings of organized crime gangs in Canada. Possession would still be illegal but people would receive fines rather than going through the expensive judicial system.

And how much revenue, tax revenue, would the provinces take in if the substance was legal? $34 billion per year in B.C. alone. Pumping that money back into local economies is a win-win. According to Martin, $150 million in court costs would be saved each year if marijuana were decriminalized. More money back into provincial coffers. It’s something to think about.

– Article Originally from The Leduc Rep.