Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conservatives Promise a War on Drugs: Is Dion with us or against us?

It looks like Conservatives are going to open up a third front in the war on marijuana, Britain, and the US being the other two.

During his speech, Clement also told the meeting of doctors his government is preparing to roll out an anti-drug campaign for young people. "Canada has not run a serious or significant anti-drug campaign for almost 20 years and the messages young people have been receiving during the past several years have been confusing and conflicting, to say the least," he said. "We are very concerned about the damage and pain that drugs cause families and we intend to reverse the trend toward vague, ambiguous messaging that has characterized Canadian attitudes in the recent past," Clement said.

According to the United Nations office of Drugs and Crime, Clement said 16.8 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 smoke marijuana.

He said that's the highest rate of any country in the world [which is false] and the figure is almost equal to the number of tobacco smokers in Canada. http://www.thestar.com/News/article/248080

Conservatives have promised a propaganda campaign aimed at “our young people” that will no doubt coincide, with a yet unannounced, promise to crack down on marijuana.

That begs the question. How will the Liberals react? This is how I think things will play out.

They will echo the Tories on trafficking, but will stick to their guns when it comes to possession. They will argue that dealers should be locked away for long durations for trying to poison “our young people”, but “our young people” should not be saddled with a record for consuming something that while poisonous is nevertheless less harmful than alcohol. In so doing, they will prove once again just how stogy, passive, unimaginative, timid, unprincipled, tied to polling for policy and temperamentally conservative Canada’s so called Liberal Party truly is.
Decriminalization is not a coherent position; it is an attempt to have one’s cake and eat it too. It is an attempt to appeal to both sides of the political divide at the same time. It is also politically disingenuous. Middle of the road, offend no one, please no one, interest no one, policies that are utterly incoherent at their core because they are designed to appeal to both sides of any political divide are only good if one is ahead in the polls. They make no sense whatsoever when one is behind in the polls and in opposition. Indeed, what made such policies so appealing when the Liberals were in power, viz., the lack of attention such policies garnered, is what makes them so unappealing now.
At best, decriminalization is a strategic Trojan horse and there in lies its only appeal. Indeed, robbed off the ability to charge traffickers with the lesser charge of possession, police may not be able to keep up with the huge number of growers coming onto the market and the whole rotten prohibition edifice may come crashing down. Marc Emery may get his wish. The producers might over grow the system.

So what arguments will the Conservatives trout out? Conservative Rob, reefer mad, Nicholson gave us a preview back in July.
"[Marijauna is] much stronger than it was years ago and, in some cases, marijuana may be laced with more dangerous chemicals,"

Potent pot is more is more Drug Czar myth than reality. http://www.slate.com/id/2074151 Only the Independent bought in and the Guardian took care of them. http://www.guardian.co.uk/drugs/Story/0,,2041749,00.html

Furthermore, even if one assumes that potent pot is a reality it is certainly nothing to be concerned about. Indeed, saying that potent pot is reason for keeping marijuana illegal is akin to saying that alcohol should be banned because gin has higher alcohol content than beer. It makes no sense. The pharmacological affects of consuming 1 “chemically supercharged” joint, as various US attorneys like to say, versus x number of “dad’s joints” would be no different if the amount of THC consumed is the same. As for consumption, just as people do not drink the same volume of gin as beer, the higher the THC level in pot the less people consume. Hence, ironically more potent pot may be a welcome development. After all, one of the most prominent health effect related to marijuana, if not the most, is that it is usually smoked. The more potent the pot, the less people have to smoke to achieve the same high. All that being said, if potency is the concern, then it should be legalized. As Martha Hall Findlay has noted, the only way to regulate the potency of pot is to legalize it. Moreover, so long as the drug is illegal, producers will seek to increase potency. The higher the potency the smaller the package the smaller the package the less likely they will get caught.

As for marijuana being laced with “more dangerous chemicals”, I presume Nicholson means harder drugs and the only of preventing this is to legalize marijuana and regulate it.

"There is also evidence it may lead to experimentation with other drugs. It's not something we want to encourage."

Sigh. There was a reason why gateway theory as reason for keeping marijuana illegal fell out of favor in the first place. There is no coherent explanation for why marijuana’s intrinsic properties would lead people to experiment with other drugs; the theory fell down for lack of an intelligible mechanism. Without this explanation doubt was cast on assertion that the relationship marijuana and other drug use was more than mere correlation.
The marijuana as gateway drug argument is not dead though. In recent years researchers have breathed new life into the theory, albeit with a sociological twist. According to the new version, it is not marijuana’s pharmacological properties that serve as a gateway, but rather marijuana’s illegal status. Specifically in the process of illegally procuring marijuana, users are introduced to the criminal elements with access to other illicit drugs and hence it is the forged black market relationship between dealer and buyer that serves as gateway. Ironically the gateway drug theory has been turned on its head and used as reason for legalizing the drug. The Canadian Senate employed the new and improved version of the gateway argument as a reason for legalizing the drug.

Needless to say, both are arguments are easy pickings, but are the Liberals going to touch them? Not on your life. The Liberals would rather the media, i.e., if the media even takes up the fight, get the credit.

The Conservatives also look poised to shut down the Vancouver’s safe injection site. To his credit Dion has shown a willingness to fight this. The Conservative position is, of course, completely without substance.
About 24 studies in top international journals, including the Lancet and the British Medical Journal, have suggested the safe-injection site reduces the chance of people contracting blood-borne infections such as HIV because people are given clean needles to get their fix. "We've said that we want to make sure that the research has been comprehensive," Clement said Monday. He said that since he extended the exemption to keep the clinic open until the end of the year, more research has been conducted. "Some of it has been questioning of the research that has already taken place and questioning the methodology of those associated with Insite and the research that they've done," he said. [What questions? and Who has been leveling them. Be specific, you lying sack of shit] Clement said the public and academic debate surrounding the safe-injection site is a good thing and will provide input for the government's final decision on the facility. Safe-injection sites also exist in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Norway and Luxembourg.


Anonymous said...

Better ban alcohol as well - it's a drug actually - and most people that do drugs do alcohol.

Oh can't do that - Harper likes his beer.

Anonymous said...

Clement also mentioned "potent pot"

Anonymous said...

Justice H. Borenstein of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled last month that the current marijuana laws are unconstitutional:


Clement should concentrate on fixiging the program before another reefer madness campaign.

Koby said...

I am pretty sure that the Borenstein decision will not be the only one of its kind. It is going to be 2003 all over again. For example, I would not be surprised if BC’s possession laws are struck down real soon. The Conservatives are well aware of this and are going to time the launch of their new “anti-drug campaign” to correspond with these decisions. In other words, not only are they going launch an anti-drug campaign they are going to launch a new campaign against “activist judges”. Unless the Liberals show some backbone it may well work politically.