Pot: Why not legalize it?

Recently I read an article in The Globe and Mail titled Pot: Why not legalize it? by Margaret Wente, July 24 2008. It concerns the state of marijuana law in Canada and why the law should be left just as it is, despite the fact that a majority of Canadians do not support it. Her closing line, after loosely running through the argument for both sides of this endless debate, is that the law is pretty much as it should be anyway, because police do not routinely enforce the law for simple marijuana possession…ie. the status quo is A-O.K.

This is actually true for the most part. Canadian police do not actively look to arrest people for simple possession of Cannabis; at least not everywhere in the country and not all the time. But that is exactly the problem. Even though police do not usually enforce possession laws they still can and they still do. Keeping outdated laws on the books gives police a power over the people that they shouldn’t have. Once the police can arrest you for something that is not considered a crime society is taking one small step on a slippery slope towards a police state. And that is a scary thing.

Paranoid? Perhaps. But it comes with the territory because everyday I go to work I see a criminal record with a simple possession on it. I hear a story about an arrest for simple possession. I hear about people losing their jobs or being denied citizenship or being banned from crossing the border all because of a charge for simple possession. It’s time for us all to grow up on this issue because marijuana is a health matter, not a criminal one. And outdated laws are outdated laws, not good ones.

It also seems silly to be saddling young people with criminal records for things that nearly every single one of them has tried. Lawyers fees can add up to a very large amount money very quickly. Court ordered fines are also a financial burden for those with limited resources. And the cost of a pardon, once everything is said and one, has been increased dramatically because of the illogical tough on crime agenda of the Harper Administration.

Smoking weed may not be the smartest thing in the world but I feel confident that the war on drugs is definitely one of the dumbest. And I for one do not want to be applying for a pardon just because I smoked a joint.


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