Marijuana Growers to Face More Jail Than Child Rapists Under Harper’s New Omnibus Bill

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting tougher on pot growers than he is on rapists of children.

Under the Tories’ omnibus crime legislation tabled Tuesday, a person growing 201 pot plants in a rental unit would receive a longer mandatory sentence than someone who rapes a toddler or forces a five-year-old to have sex with an animal.

Producing six to 200 pot plants nets an automatic six-month sentence, with an extra three months if it’s done in a rental or is deemed a public-safety hazard. Growing 201 to 500 plants brings a one-year sentence, or 1 1/2 years if it’s in a rental or poses a safety risk.

The omnibus legislation imposes one-year mandatory minimums for sexually assaulting a child, luring a child via the Internet or involving a child in bestiality. All three of these offences carry lighter automatic sentences than those for people running medium-sized grow-ops in rental property or on someone else’s land.

A pedophile who gets a child to watch pornography with him, or a pervert exposing himself to kids at a playground, would receive a minimum 90-day sentence, half the term of a man convicted of growing six pot plants in his own home.

The maximum sentence for growing marijuana would double from seven to 14 years, the same maximum applied to someone using a weapon during a child rape, and four years more than for someone sexually assaulting a kid without using a weapon.

In B.C., if police and prosecutors don’t rebel against the new laws, we’re going to be hit with massive jail costs, says Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd. The new marijuana legislation will increase the proportion of pot criminals in B.C. jails from less than five per cent to around 30 per cent, at a cost of $60,000 to $70,000 per inmate annually, Boyd says.

“Why put people who are not violent in jail?” Boyd asks. “People who commit serious violent crime are already dealt with pretty harshly, and crime rates are down, not up.”

Harper’s U.S.-style war on drugs ignores our southern neighbour’s expensive failed effort. “Eight states — including New York, where laws were the most punitive in the nation — have repealed most of these mandatory-minimum sentences, and dozens of other jurisdictions are considering repeal or reform,” a February report from Human Rights Watch says.

Even the government’s own Justice Department questions the use of mandatory minimums. “There is some indication that minimum sentences are not an effective sentencing tool,” reads a 2010 report from the department. “They constrain judicial discretion without offering any increased crime-prevention benefits.”

Provincial jails — where most people convicted under the new laws will end up — provide far fewer rehabilitation programs than federal prisons, leading to higher rates of re-offending, says Stacey Hannem, chairman of the policy review committee at the Canadian Criminal Justice Association.

“There’s a real revolving-door problem in our provincial institutions,” Hannem says. “If you’re going to throw even more people in there, you can bet that the recidivism rate in the provincial system is likely to go up.

“If you want to get tough on crime, that’s fine. But don’t sell it as increasing public safety. That’s just not true.”

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  1. Anonymous on

    Niqab’s should become the new dress code for all pot growers and smokers.

  2. Anonymous on

    Oh That’s just messed up. Crooked society.

  3. Anonymous on

    Nicholson hung out with the cool gang in high school,went to all the kool parties…puffed a few,but was not a stoney,just a folower as he is now!

  4. Anonymous on

    AS a herbalist I feel that the government should not have the right to prohibit any person from growing their own herbs of any kind.This looks like another Harper Sec. 7 Charter claim…..they always lose. The government in CAnada ought to spend more time concentrating on $50 oil and downgraded canadian banks. They will sure be busy in 2013.

  5. Pissed off Canadian on

    Harper needs a slap what an ignorant self absorbed inside the box thinker. We have a product which could revolutionize Canada and fix alot of the problems we’re facing. I think we need to rebel and gather till they listen to what the people want. I pay a fuck load of taxes every year and so do most hard working Canadians! We ultimately pay Harpers wage to make decisions for the people to benefit the people. If I want to come home after a hard 10 hour day and smoke a joint I should be allowed to do so I fucking earned it. Having to take piss tests to keep my job. People getting rich off drug testing people who smoke pot on their own time not while they are working. This is a load of shit and common sense says these rules are fucking retarded. Here’s to change in 2012 for the people by the people! If enough people speak up they have to listen. Refuse to work for a year and see if losing all those tax dollars are worth keeping pot illegal. Harper starts taking a pay cut I bet that greedy bastard gives in cause its all about the bottom dollar with guys like him.

  6. John Doe on

    If Harper would just smoke a joint maybe his brain will
    turn and and slap himself in the face.
    And anyone that knows common sense knows if pot was legal crime rates would drastically drop.

    what a joke eh

  7. Anonymous on

    Sounds good to me!

  8. Anonymous on

    I’m too apathetic to be political usually, but the way is clear, vote liberal next election, get off your duffs, and shove these peace-haters out of power…

  9. Spuzzum on

    What are the penalties for 1-5 plants? Will that be a “legal” amount for “personal”? I remember a time when Alaska was allowed 4 plants at a time.. “maybe” this is going to be the same??

  10. Anonymous on

    this is outrageous!

  11. theoneyoucall.thecreator on

    I’ve been thinking. Maybe, just maybe, our Canadian Government is pushing us(the people) into a black hole. This black hole is special though. It is reaching critical mass. What happens then Mr. Harper? Hmm… It is our time people. This is too much for someone like me. I mean cannabis can do so much! They want to make growers seem like rapists. Technically they are. Cannabis would rape the shit out of all pharmaceutical corporations, oil corporations, and the entire MODERN DAY INDUSTRIAL WORLD. Cannabis activates the 3rd eye (pineal gland). We the people can unite through our consciousness and revolutionize the way we communicate, connect, understand, sense, think, feel, see, and much more. It just takes action. HOW DO WE GET Mr. Harper and the Conservative Government out of power ASAP? We need to make this happen quickly because we don’t have that much time left. Mr. Nibiru is coming back lol. I have spoken to beings from another dimension of reality. Pure experience through my consciousness. I was not in my body. Intelligent beings besides humans do exist. I can prove it. This being that I met was all-knowing and I believe it showed me the true source of all perceptions to which we think is reality. I had telepathic communication with instant understanding. This is not a hallucinogenic experience where things are “not real”. The experience I had was real. Dead serious. Death is not real. Oh my fuck I wish I knew people that have had these experiences… I know you’re out there… ITS TIME FOR A REVOLUTION!

  12. Anonymous on

    How much hemp would have to smoke before you get a buzz on? I never got past a couple of ounces & i would guess it would take pounds. Yet the stongest natural known fiber on earth is illegal, because of it’s cousin.
    Seems to me that there would big a big demand for it & profitable for farmers as they would not lose their crops due to extreme weather.
    No Brainer.
    Stupidest laws ever made. Prohibition is based on a pile of crap, total lies yet they have a good part of our population, the ruling class dictating what most feel is a personal choice. Don’t give any of your dope in a bottle or prescription drugs.
    Pot please.

  13. Guitarod on

    This is really stupid, how people doing God’s work are punished more severally than the lowest forms of humanity, child molesters & pedophiles. It just shows how wrong this vengeance against marijuana suppliers is. They are giving Canadians what they want, pot & lots of it.
    Laws like these are inhumane but not surprising, coming from a religious dictatorship.
    It is quite profitable for big business to house criminals these days. Who do suppose will be supplying these prison with staff, food etc.
    Probably the Bush family as they do in private American prisons according to Marc Emery.
    Canada it’s time to stand up & fight for our rights.
    Or become the 51st state under the Harper re-grime .
    Tapping e-mails showing really shows their true colors. You can bet the largest budget will go towards pot smokers & growers.

  14. Mrs. RatsRectum on

    This is absolutely perverse. So let’s say a psychopathic male rapes a child, forcing his penis into the vagina or anus of a child, and let’s say someone grows a plant that is less harmful than tobacco.

    The fact that the penalty for growing the plant surpasses that of the violent and more heinous crime is the product of a completely perverse governance.

  15. Suzanne on

    Minimum sentences for non-violent crimes have always posed problems. The same can be expected of these new guidelines. What to do with an 18 years old whose parents always smoked pot at home and who taught the child that pot was safer than alcohol. This person should go to prison for growing a few plants? Harper lives in a fantasy world of ideals that are the result of having had very little contact with the underprivleged and destitute. Do all drug dealers come from disadvanged environments? No, but some do. Harpers policies are policies that are consistently devoid of compassion and empathy. This is but another example. Should dealers simply get a slap on the wrist. Of course not, but every case is different and to minimize the severity of child sexual abuse but equating it with sentences that pot growers may get is a travesty against all those who have been the victims of child abuse. Shame on Canadians for having given the conservative government a majority. Now we will all pay for the foolishness of those who voted for him.

  16. Adam on

    It is a waste of money and resources. 50% of american inmates are non violent drug related arrests. Not sure if prisons in Canada are ran privately like the US, but if they are expect this bill to pass. The bastards greasing the politicians pockets have more say in our Gov than the voter does, and it looks like Canada is heading that way too…..

  17. Anonymous on

    I don’t think Nicholson is aware that the world is in the worst economy since the Great Depression. He’s been a career politician for so long that he thinks everybody lives in a mansion and has a limitless expense account like him. He just blithely tells us that he intends to throw billions of dollars away imprisoning herb gardeners. It might be just me, but I think that money could probably be better spent on fixing the economy and producing some jobs, ones that aren’t as prison custodians for Jailco. Those are the only jobs his suckubus bill will create. The rest of us will be paying those peoples’ salaries and filling Jailco’s coffers with our money that was meant for REAL job creation or even road paving. Nicholson is living in a dreamworld in which money grows on trees and he skips around tossing it in the air singing tra-la. Is nobody going to stop this guy? WTF? Canada is just going to sit there and let this happen. You watch. Pathetic, truly pathetic.

  18. bb54 on