Reefer reasonableness? - Macleans.ca
 

Reefer reasonableness?

‘The government is certainly looking at their proposal very carefully’


 

Aside from his comments on Syria, the most interesting thing Mr. Harper  said today, as Josh Visser notes, might’ve had to do with marijuana.

Last week, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police proposed a “ticket option … for simple possession of cannabis.” For the purposes of easing the burden on the justice system and not unnecessarily burdening citizens with criminal records, the CACP proposes that police be given the option of issuing a ticket to anyone they find in possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less.

In response, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the Harper government was not in favour of decriminalization. But then the CACP said the same thing in making its proposal.

Today, the Prime Minister said the government is considering the CACP’s proposal.

“I don’t believe Canadian Chiefs of Police proposed these options because they don’t believe in the laws, in the contrary, they believe this option is a better approach in terms of enforcement of the law and the government is certainly looking at their proposal very carefully,” Harper said to a reporter’s question.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Department of Justice announced today that it won’t block Colorado and Washington’s moves toward the legalization of marijuana.


 

Reefer reasonableness?

  1. On the weed issue, is Harper coming around or going around in circles? This is quite a climb down from the mandatory minimum, ‘sending a message’ position of the not too distance past.

    • He’s starting to clue in that he’s on the losing side of this one…

      • Still not enough. Even is fishing buddy Ford has smoke lots of the weed.

      • Guess it was more like toughishy on crime then.

        • What I get a kick out of is that while he insists the drug is evil, his reason for nor smoking it isn’t “because it is against the law” but “well, see, I have asthma…”
          Almost sounds like “I would if I could – but since I can’t then no one else can either! Nyah! Nyah!”

          • Yep, he’s at war with himself. OTOH we have Steve the pleaser…i coulda played hockey, i coulda smoked up, i coulda got into the ring with JT but my asthma acted up. OTOH we have Mr Harper, scurge of the evil doers. To be fair i guess that’s what politics does to you in the end…makes you a borderline schizophrenic, trying to be both the popular suck up and the tough guy on alternating days. Unless you’re as thick as Rob Ford, then you don’t give a sh*t anyway.
            I’m probably being too easy on Harper, the guy is so calculating. He chooses to present himself this way after all.

          • Amazing how his asthma doesn’t prevent him from having a house full of cats.

          • Or a house with mould. Tell me 24 Sussex with it’s leaky, old windows doesn’t have mould.

          • Oh cripes yeah, rotting wood, damp….humidity in an Ontario summer…..

          • That Harper is such a phony.
            There is no doubt that Trudeau believes this marijuana thing is a very serious issue and he knows he will have the stoner crowd onside in the next election, if they can remember to get to the ballot box. That`s where you come in. You have got to get those frugers out to vote.
            So instead of treating this marijuana thing seriously, like Trudeau does in his breathless manner, what does that phony Harper do? He says smartalec stuff like ,Does he look like a pot smoker?, Oh and my asthma stops me from smoking, otherwise, I would be ripped all the time. It`s almost like he doesn`t want to come out and say he`s totally opposed to marijuana use, but at the same time let people know he disapproves of Trudeau`s reckless proposal.
            He`s such a phony.
            Why can`t he be open and honest like Justin?

      • He’s discovered the good old base may not be behind him on the reefer madness position. He’s now at the mercy of others to try and adopt a position that will fly – thin ice to be on.

  2. If you can smoke lots of weed and still become the mayor of the largest city in Canada, how bad can it really be? Time to legalize the ganja!

    • Conservatives lie, it’s what they do
      They lie to me, they lie to you
      They lie about the deal on pot
      Bad if from Justin, OK from the cops

    • It’s amazing how Harper can state a complete lie that Trudeau is “promoting marijuana use for our children”.

      He hasn’t done anything remotely like that. Yet Harper can say it and his pals in the Ottawa media say “oh how clever, what a comeback, isn’t he something, chess not checkers, Trudeau sure in over his ahead eh guys. Let’s order up another round boys, this ones all over.” This is old Dion and Iggy all over again.

      You would think somebody would have the guts to say, ‘This isn’t true!”

      • What kind of a person would accuse a father of young children of promoting marijuana use for children, even if the father was a hated adversary? What kind of person would say that, knowing full well it wasn’t true?

  3. This is such a half assed proposal…the Harper govt is bound to go for it.

    So you issue tickets for minor possession or smoking the pot; but there’s no criminal record or consequences; but it is still illegal to possess in any amounts over 30grams. This is akin to you can have a bottle of beer in your hand when we catch you, but we better not find a six pack in the back of your car or in your fridge or you’re for it….we’ll MM you until you reform.

    How long is it going to take before someone[ then a social movement] just starts tossing the tickets and risks the consequences? Back to the courts again…charter challenge…blah blah blah…lots of money for lawyers later, it is legalized anyway. It’s surreal when you think about it. Get on and legalize the bloody stuff.
    edit: Well it might sorta work if the ticket was just a loonie or two, or you could pay in Canadian tire money.

    • It would be a start, at least. And might make it easier to get the stuff legalized down the road.

      • Sure you can make the step by step argument. But what’s the point if the public is ready for it? And why waste any more money or politcal energy either?
        It wouldn’t surprise me if we are still going back and forth on this when the planet finally blows its rad.

        • Harper isn’t likely to go the full distance, but at least this would save a bunch of people from criminal records until we can replace the CPC with a party that will.

          • I’d be interested to know A) how many people actually get arrested for a small amount of weed, B) how many of those people are actually charged, and C) how many of those charges survive ten seconds in front of a judge.

            I’d be willing to bet that this “ticketing” notion from the Chiefs has almost nothing to do with saving people from criminal records. It’s about saving the police time, and making some money through fines.

          • That’s rather cynical of you. Although I bet you’re right. Surely they wouldn’t get to keep the money though?

          • No, that’s true. I didn’t mean to suggest that the police kept the money. Still, make money for the government with easy tickets, versus waste your time arresting people for charges that will get thrown out of court seems an easy call.

            I know which one I’d go for if I was Chief of Police somewhere.

          • You sound far too reasonable. Are you sure you’re from the rock? :)

          • I thought that was why he was so reasonable. :-) Gerald Butts is from the rock and he reeks reasonableness. – and civility.

    • This is akin to you can have a bottle of beer in your hand when we catch you, but we better not find a six pack in the back of your car or in your fridge or you’re for it…

      30 grams is more than an ounce of pot, so that analogy is a bit off. Getting a slap on the wrist for an ounce of pot isn’t like getting a slap on the wrist for a beer, it’s closer to getting a slap on the wrist for a car trunk full of beer.

      • My bad, i’ve never dealt the stuff. I still only have the vaguest notion of what an ounce or 30 grams amounts to – a trunk full of beer i get. :)
        Still, having a trunk or fridge full of beer hardly makes me a booze peddler in my mind.

        • The size of a joint (arguably a fair bit more than a beer’s worth of intoxication if you’re smoking alone) can vary greatly of course, but just for context, figure about 0.5 grams for a single spliff.

          So, 30 grams is arguably more than 50 joints worth of weed, and definitely more than 30!

          ETA: For perhaps a more readily accessible analogy for a person not too familiar with mary jane, I just looked it up, and apparently most cigarettes contain about 0.8 grams of tobacco.

      • I went to my spice cabinet to check out what 35grams of prime italian spices looks like. As much as 50 joints eh ( no one mixes it with tobacco any more I presume then?) I’m not sure i”ll concede a trunk full of beer ( less its a fiat) but I can see why they draw the line at 30grams as a possession threshold.
        I still don’t like the idea of the cops giving me a ticket for having a recreational toke on my balcony, cuz the neighbour turned me in. Where does the money go? How come I can be fined for something that isn’t technically illegal? Can I fight it like a traffic ticket?
        I’d prefer they just busted me if they find the ounce on me or just tell me to blow it away from my neighbour next time. As the link asserts, under this proposal they get to have the best of all worlds. They don’t have the bother of going before a judge who may just throw it out; they keep the money AND they still the right to drag me in for a MM if they think they have a good case.

    • I’m actually reading the police chief’s attitude as a mix of pragmatism and a money grab. They still think (as a group, probably not as individuals) that pot is teh evil and must be kept out of the hands of the citizenry, but they realize they can’t possibly ever keep up if they criminally charge everyone they catch smoking it. So, why not just issue tickets? Money for the departments! Imagine the windfall for municipal coffers on 4/20.

  4. This is about distribution.

    Do we want organized crime and criminal gangs to distribute this or do we want to do it ourselves?

    Personally, I would rather my government control distribution than organized crime
    and criminal gangs. When one realizes that this is how organized crime
    and criminal gangs finance their other criminal activities it only adds
    to the bizarreness of the current approach.

    Stephen Harper is organized crimes best friend right now. They get to keep
    control of the entire market and are practically untouchable by law.

    • Personally, I would rather my government control distribution than organized crime and criminal gangs.

      But, organized crime is so good at it! ;-)

      I’m being a bit facetious, of course, and I’m all for sticking it to the gangs, but it’s ironic, imho, that a likely side-effect of legalization is that pot will likely become more expensive, and less convenient to obtain.

      Opponents often act as though legalization is all about giving in to the desires of “potheads”, but of course, “potheads” are already getting their pot! I can pick up the phone right now and get an ounce delivered to my door easily, and at a reasonable price. If they start selling the stuff in licensed stores, there’ll be much less reason for the drug dealers to continue to offer such excellent service. :-)

      • Odds are pot will be produced on the free market like alcohol. Businesses will be able to sell different strains and brands.

        It costs next to nothing to grow cannabis. I’ve grown my own before. The stuff literally grows like weeds. Plants produce a cop every 6 to 8 weeks.

        An ounce sells for over $200. Mass produced, it would probably cost under a dollar.

        Like liquor, the price will be mostly sin tax. But it will be better and cheaper because of market efficiencies and no black-market premium.

        • From web, this is the price of a gram of cannabis sold in Amsterdam coffee shops, of different quality:

          Low € 4.75, Medium € 13.90, High € 47.00
          Times 28 grams (an ounce), and 1.39 conversion:

          $184.87 for an ounce of low quality cannabis;
          $ 540.98 medium quality
          $1829.24 high quality
          (Take into consideration that sold as an ounce, it may cost considerably less per gram than sold as a gram. Amsterdam coffee shops cannot sell more than 5 grams to a person.)
          I am not qualified to asses the quality of the $200 ounce of cannabis now sold in Canada.

          • Yes, but who knows what kind of regulations they have — or demand — that keeps prices high.

            Some of the most expensive seeds are around $200. A company can buy the seeds once, then take clippings from female plants kept in vegetative state and grow as many plants as they want.

            I doubt there are any copyrights on strains. Companies can also cross-breed to create their own strains.

            In short, there’s not much difference between low-grade and high-grade weed. The low-grade stuff (Indica) is bulkier than Sativa strains. High-grade strains tend to be a cross of Sativa/Indica.

            If companies compete on the free market, nation-wide, and mass produce it, it will bring costs way down.

          • Given what Snowden revealed, I suggest clearing your web browser’s history and cache immediately!

      • You mean you might have to pick up rather than order in? :)
        Even dealers have to watch their overheads eh.

      • Ha!

        But I know a lot of people who would love to
        have that number!… that’s not the typical experience when trying to
        get ones hands on this, ‘i’ve been told’. In fact, ‘I’ve been told’ that
        they are notoriously unreliable and a hour wait can actually end up
        being 5 hours or days later. And even when they come there is no
        guarantee of quality control so there is the chance of it being moldy or
        not mature enough.

        Like almost everything in this
        life, follow the money! If we look at who benefits the most for the
        prohibition of the substance, I think we’ll discover the true reasons
        for the prohibition of pot.

        Police

        Pharmaceuticals

        For-profit prison’s

        Paper industry

        Cotton industry

        Oil and gas?

        This plant is a threat to them all because it can prevent them from making money or be giving more money.

    • Yes, the more a government wages war on drugs, the higher their price becomes. That means addicts have to commit more crimes to get their fix. That means drug dealing becomes a more lucrative business. That fuels gang activity, organized crime, turf wars and violence.

      The best approach on hard drugs is to have government programs that give drugs to drug addicts. That will take the bottom right out of the market and hit organized criminals harder than any police crackdown.

      The best approach on soft drugs is to regulate them.

      • Couldn`t agree more.
        I am not sure what is the best approach for government to take on drug procurement and distribution but I`m certain that there would be a lot less crime if we could only get the government involved in the drug trade.
        Tell me what you would think of this approach to get the best bang for the government dollar and to get the most efficiency for the widespread distributions of all street drugs to those in need:
        We add a new form to the census, make it voluntary if you wish, we have the infrastructure. On the form the prospective clients-users will have the opportunity to choose the particular drug-of-choice, the quantity, the frequency of delivery etc. Delivery can be arranged through the under-used Canada Post, thereby protecting good paying union jobs.
        It`s a win-win-win proposal.

  5. I am unclear how the federal government is going to issue tickets. The federal government passes criminal laws, but tickets are generally issued for breaches of provincial or municipal legislation.

    Trudeau can legalize it, but he cannot stop the province from making it an offence to smoke it in public, for example.

    As for the police, I think they want to retain their right to arrest people who have marihuana so they can retain their ability to search people who have marihuana. They do not care if it is a ticket or a criminal offence, they just want the right to arrest.

    • The cops may well want to keep the right to arrest, but what they don’t want is to feel obligated to arrest, only to see the charge be almost immediately tossed out by an annoyed judge. They may act as though this is about keeping people from getting criminal records, but people aren’t getting criminal records for minor (under 30 grams) possession now. It’s annoying to have to go before a judge for these charges, but when they do, the charges are pretty much ALWAYS getting tossed by the judge.

      To me, this is mostly a cash grab. It’s about saving the police time, and making money off of tickets rather than wasting the police officers’ time for no effect when the charges get tossed in the end anyway.

  6. So let me get this straight…Harper gives you guys so few opportunities to question him, and when he does, you recycle the “have you ever smoked pot” question that everyone knows the answer to just because it’s King Justin’s favourite topic? While the most recent revelations about Mike Duffy went untouched?

    Please, for the love of God, none of you *ever* bitch again about your lack of access to Harper. You lost that right today.

    • The media has a guaranteed right to the PM, whatever they ask. It’s in the Charter.

      • There’s no such thing.

        • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

          2(b) Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

          • You do not understand what freedom of the press means. It means they can say and write whatever they want. The government cannot restrict what they say.
            It does not mean they can demand anyone’s time.
            Freedom means just that: freedom. Nobody is forced to respond to a reporter, and that includes the PM.

          • Everyone understands what freedom of the press means.

            There is no ‘freedom of the PM’….sorry

          • No, you’re wrong. You have no idea what freedom of the press means.

          • Sorry….it doesn’t involve a Con muzzle.

    • The journalists were caught off guard!

    • I thought you’d be ecstatic that Wherry didn’t bring up J.T. in this post. Man, you are hard to please.

  7. Must have been a really bad day for Harper, his devotees are claiming press persecution, – again. On a pissy day for SH – I am giving it a 9, based on their reaction. We don’t really need polls…

    • They claim that on a good day too. He’s done a very good job of cultivating this belief he’s the victim of, well, pretty much everyone. Media, liberal judges, foreign service, Elections Canada… They ALL pick on him. He’s not guilty of any misdeeds or missteps – it is only that someone, somewhere, is treating him unfairly. And that someone would never great the liberals that way.

  8. weed weed weed,whats the point,we all know what pot use in canada is.lots of it in all walks of life. harper is doing what a kid that got his hand caught in the cookiejar would do, try and change the subject.this isnt working anymore steven!too many hands ripping off our cookie jar, now your down to crumbs,because your cronnies hands were also in our cookiejar.. did you all have the muchies?..at our expense…to say that jt`s comments are irresponsible is a joke. we see what is going on in ottawa,and frankly people who live in glass houses should not throw stones..

  9. with all the med pot cards out there today, with ottawa supplying legal pot from its own contracter in sask.with all the peope out there who use it legally and illegally,with seeds being sold online and accessable by just about anyone.bongs and othere products sold in stores all across the country..etc etc..its time that this issue is put away..what about the senate scandal?,before this is over we will see more dirt than ever…the pc is on its last leg,and thats getting wobbily at best…