Most Legalization Rawks, Most Decriminalization Sucks

“Several people, spearheaded by Hunter Thompson, attacked the current strategy of decriminalized pot as “another trick.”
– High Times, March 1977

“The Single Convention Treaty could easily be nullified. There is no reason to stand for this. Every country that has signed that has broken the rule, and it’s legal tradition that when treaties are broken, people can resign the treaty. The Single Convention is not the end-all argument for decriminalization. Decriminalization has shortcomings in every way. It doesn’t address the basic issues.”
– Gatewood Galbraith, “1977 NORML Formal – Does Decrim Really Work?”, Blacklisted News, pp. 278-279

Recently, 77% of Liberals attending their national convention voted in favor of LEGALIZING marijuana:

This could mean anything from the coffee bean model (everyone can grow, deal and smoke cannabis) to the wine model (any adult can grow, deal and smoke cannabis) to a Prop 19-esque model (any adult can smoke cannabis or – if they own their own home – grow about one big plant but you have to be very, very lucky or connected to make money growing and dealing cannabis – all the unlucky ones still get busted).

Here is the wording of the resolution that was passed:

It really doesn’t say what model is going to be proposed. I suppose the details will be flushed out IF they put it on their platform and IF they get elected and IF they keep their promise to legalize … admittedly those are three very big IFs.

I hope for the coffee bean model, I can live with the wine model, and I will continue to fight against the Prop 19-type models as “fake legalization” that will sell out most of our growing and dealing community (the community that made the activist community possible all these years) for the sake of monopoly and greed.

But the fight over what kind of legalization we settle for may just be moot. The fact is – unfortunately – that just because 77% of the Liberal membership wants LEGALIZATION, it does not mean the leadership will put it on the platform:

“The resolution approved at the convention is non-binding. So there is no guarantee the issue will be in the 2015 Liberal election platform. In fact Canadian political parties have a history of ignoring policy resolutions from conventions, so the chances of this one being taken up are pretty low.”

DECRIMINALIZATION is being floated by the Liberal leadership types and the major media as an acceptable “first step”:

“Martin Cauchon, the justice minister who introduced decriminalization, said Sunday he believes legalization is inevitable but that Canadians would be more comfortable with decriminalizing pot as a first step.”

“But the Liberals set off down this road in government twice, and never even made it to decriminalization. This is a non-binding resolution by a third party to do something somewhat more ambitious than it declined to do when it was the first party.”

“More than a dozen states have already decriminalized the drug. Last year, Connecticut became the 13th state to do so. The Hartford Courant newspaper reported the state could save $885,000 every year in court costs and attorney salaries, and make as much as $1.4 million in fines and fees.”

““It says to Canadians that we know what’s going on in the country and we want to deal with it openly,” said Francis, adding that polls frequently indicate a majority of Canadians want marijuana decriminalized.”

“Released on Tuesday, the poll suggests 66% of Canadians are in favour of the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, with just 20% supporting leaving the laws as they are now.”

This “contemplating decriminalization” is also happening in the UK:

Decrim, on the surface, sounds good. “No criminal record” is what sounds like will happen. “Reform” and all that. If one digs a little deeper, most versions of “decrim” – including every version ever proposed in Canada (and there have been over a dozen) – mean that your criminal record will be replaced with a “non-criminal record” that does everything a criminal record does: prevent you from getting a good job, getting bonded, crossing the border, etc. In these forms of decrim, the fines ($200 the first time, $500 the second time and $1000 the third, fourth, fifth etc etc time) virtually guarantee that more people will go to jail for unpaid fines than were going to jail before “decrim” was passed. Almost all of the versions of decrim that I examined – Singapore, Australia, Portugal, New York – made the situation worse for cannabis users, growers and dealers, not better.

Look at the myths and facts for yourself:

And then join with me in demanding that the Liberal party go all the way with the coffee bean or wine models of legalization and avoid the sham reform of decrim.

David Malmo-Levine