Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BC News

A System Broken

Police Chiefs agree pot laws need to change

Released by CDPC


n a move that directly contradicts the Conservative Party’s hard-line on drug policy, the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs has ratified a resolution that recommends a "ticketing option" analogous to the decriminalization of simple cannabis possession.

The rationale for the move, as explained in the CACP press release, is that “the current process of sending all simple possession of cannabis cases pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”) to criminal court is placing a significant burden on the entire Justice System from an economic and resource utilization perspective.”

"While this resolution is, albeit, a small first step to addressing a law that is clearly outdated and destructive to individuals, families and the justice system itself, we welcome the news that Canada’s police chiefs have taken the leadership to openly acknowledge that the system is broken and requires change,” said CDPC Executive Director Donald MacPherson.

“However, although the proposed ticketing framework may resolve certain instances of court congestion and public nuisance, it fails to address the far more serious issues related to allowing cannabis to remain within the illegal market – namely, youth access and criminal profiteering.”

Thirty years of sound public health principles have curbed teen tobacco use to record lows. The CDPC believes that cannabis should be treated similarly – rather than criminalizing it, it should be available for adults to purchase, with tax proceeds going into health, social and education programs that focus on the potential harms related to cannabis and a youth engagement strategy on substance use issues in general.   

The CDPC recommends that in order to eliminate the role that organized crime plays in the production and distribution of cannabis and reduce the health risks of cannabis use, it should be removed from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and a regulatory framework should be developed that devolves responsibility for its regulation to provincial authorities. This regulatory framework should draw on public health principles and the lessons learned from alcohol and tobacco to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.

The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition is a partner project with the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA), a research centre based at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University's Vancouver campus. 

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
C/O Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction
Simon Fraser University
#2400 - 515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3


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