The report recommends dumping pot prohibition following the failure of anti-drug laws to curb the supply and use of marijuana while wasting millions in taxpayers’ dollars.
“Most people would agree the present regime hasn’t been very successful at controlling use,” said Dr. John Carsley, HOCBC spokesman. “What we’re recommending is to look at cannabis and see what sort of regulations will reduce the negative health effects to the minimum.”
Despite increased government funding for marijuana prohibition over the last two decades, the report states B.C. gang-related homicides went from 25 in 1997 to 43 in 2009. Meanwhile, marijuana usage among Ontario high school students doubled between 1991 and 2009, going from 10% to 20%.
Carsley admits change will not come overnight.
“The biggest barrier now is the federal government’s control over the criminal code and their attitude towards drugs that are currently illegal.”
In an email to 24 Hours, the Ministry of Justice stated the government has no intents of legalizing marijuana, but will focus on offering “access to treatment for those with drug dependencies” and “getting tough on drug dealers.”
University of Fraser Valley criminologist Yvon Dandurand said he supports the report’s findings and hopes it leads to creating more dialogue about legalization.
“The current policies have been a total failure by any yardstick,” he said. “There’s more users, there’s more cannabis, there’s more organized crime, there’s more everything and it costs us more and it is still is not making any impact.”