A Bad Day for Canada

École Polytechnique ~ 6 DÉCEMBRE, 1989 ~ Geneviève Bergeron 1968-1989 civil engineering student Hélène Colgan 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Nathalie Croteau 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Barbara Daigneault 1967-1989 mechanical engineering student Anne-Marie Edward 1968-1989 chemical engineering student Maud Haviernick 1960-1989 materials engineering student Maryse Laganière 1964-1989 budget clerk at École Polytechnique Maryse Leclair 1966-1989 materials engineering student Anne-Marie Lemay 1967-1989 mechanical engineering student Sonia Pelletier 1961-1989 mechanical engineering student Michèle Richard 1968-1989 materials engineering student Annie St-Arneault 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Annie Turcotte 1969-1989 materials engineering student Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz 1958-1989 nursing student

December 6th, 1917 was the day thousands of people died, and thousands more were injured in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The Halifax Explosion was the largest explosion the world had ever seen before the nuclear age.  Today is the hundredth anniversary of that horrific event. But bad as it was, it was an accident.

The same can not be said for the tragic event of December 6th, 1989.

A disturbed young man deliberately murdered Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz at the École Polytechnique.

Because they were women.

I chose to use the roses because they were part of a candlelight vigil in on December 6th, 2016 in Chilliwack, BC.  People across Canada continue to share in this sorrow.

In response to our collective mourning of the Montreal Massacre, in 1991, the Canadian Government designated the 6th of December as the “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada.”

Decades later, Canadians continue to mourn, but the sad fact is that violence against women in Canada shows no sign of abating.  Perhaps we need more than a day.

 


Image Credit

Roses [Dec 6 vigil 5 Corners-1]” cc by University of the Fraser Valley have been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Why is Cannabis Illegal?

Cannabis sativa by Otto Wilhelm Thomé

French pioneer apothecary Louis Hébert was the first European farmer in Canada. Cannabis Sativa, a plant known as “hemp,” was one of his crops.

The sails of sailing ships, canvas, rope, and linen were all manufactured from the rugged fibres of the hemp plant. As was the earliest known paper. Hemp dominated the paper trade until it was replaced by wood fibre in the 1800s.

Hemp stem showing fibers

When the Indian strain of Cannabis that had been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years became a popular ingredient in 19th Century Western medicine, French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck “came up with the name Cannabis indica to distinguish Indian cannabis from European hemp.”

War On Drugs

There were no illegal drugs in Canada prior to the 20th Century.  Deputy Minister of Labour William Lyon MacKenzie King changed all that in 1908.

“On Sept. 7, 1907, the Asiatic Exclusion League of Vancouver went on a rampage though the city’s Chinatown and Little Tokyo. No one was killed, but there was considerable property damage.

“The Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier sent William Lyon Mackenzie King, the country’s first deputy minister of labour, to investigate.”Among the many individuals who submitted claims for restitution were several Chinese opium dealers, which prompted King to study the opium trade in Vancouver.

“There were no laws then governing the use of opium or other drugs; and, in fact, during the 19th century, laudanum, a mixture of liquid opium and alcohol and highly addictive, was popular as a pain remedy.

“King was stunned by what he learned about the corrupting influence of opium, connected as it was with widespread notions that Chinese men used opium to exploit and sexually assault white women.”

— Winnipeg Free Press: Canada’s 100 year war on drugs

Asiatic Exclusion League Riot Aftermath
Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC

Rather than formulating policy to address Vancouver’s anti-immigrant racism, the Government based its first drug law, the Opium Act of 1908, on the Report by W. L. Mackenzie King, C.M.G., Deputy Minister of Labour, on “The Need for the Suppression of Opium Traffic in Canada.

A year later the Canadian Government instituted the first legislation to regulate the use of medicine to protect the public in The Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act (1909).  As an ingredient used in many such medicines, cannabis was regulated by this act.

The illicit opium smuggling that sprang up in answer to the Opium Act warranted a Royal Commission.  Its recommendations to:

  • make sale, possession & smoking illegal drugs separate offenses, and
  • increase the power of police search and seizure

were incorporated in the “Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs” in 1911.

The institutional racism of the day was reflected by the segregation within the title of the act, meant to differentiate between illegal drugs used by Chinese (opium) and white users (cocaine and morphine).

The British influence

“While the Chinese were being blamed for bringing opium to Canada’s doorstep, it was the mighty British colonial empire that was harvesting, refining and selling the drug on a massive scale.

“The British controlled vast poppy fields in South Asia — and soon discovered that making opium in India and shipping it to China made for very profitable business.

“As the drug began to flood into China, wreaking havoc on the economy and society, Chinese authorities attempted to shut it down by boarding British ships and destroying opium shipments.

“The British army responded by arresting those responsible and seizing harbours, ports, and cities along China’s coast and up the Pearl River.”

— Drugs: What’s race got to do with it?

When William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister, the scope of his legal war on drugs continued to expand with the Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill in 1923.   Part of the reason for this law was to combine the growing body of law dealing with illegal drugs into one. Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health) ~ Liberal ~ Mr. BELAND: There is a new drug in the schedule. Bill reported, read the third time and passed. | Topic: NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL

At the end of the third reading debate in April, Canada’s Health Minister, Henri Sévérin Béland announced, “There is a new drug in the schedule.”

There was no discussion, just that one sentence spoken in Parliament added Cannabis to the Schedule of Controlled Substances without even naming it aloud in Parliament.  (It was passed by the Senate without a word as well.)

There had been no mention of cannabis in the draft legislation (although it had been appended to one of the copies) but more importantly, it wasn’t a social issue when they made it illegal.  Most Canadians hadn’t even heard of the stuff (under any name).

Those who had, knew of it as “marahuana,” thanks to the sensational writings of Judge Emily Murphy (of Famous Five fame). Her series of articles about illegal drug use for Macleans Magazine published under the pseudonym “Janie Canuck” formed the basis of her book “The Black Candle.”  Taken as a whole, the racist dogwhistle Ms Murphy’s book was blowing warned of an international drug conspiracy to bring about the “downfall of the white race.”  Several of the photographs depict addicted white women consorting with men of colour to help drive home Ms Murphy’s race war narrative.

“One becomes especially disquieted — almost terrified — in face of these things, for it sometimes seems as if the white race lacks both the physical and moral stamina to protect itself, and that maybe the black and yellow races may yet obtain the ascendancy.”

—The Black Candle, Chapter XL “Black Smoke”

The incendiary book plied the reader with misinformation about of the dangers of “marahuana.”  Although hemp was grown in Canada, there was no actual evidence supporting Ms Murphy’s imaginings, although she had no shortage of specious “expert” testimony to present.

Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons’ using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured Without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.

“When coming from under the influence of this narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will power, and their mentality is that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict.

— The Black Candle, Chapter XXIII “Marahuana— A New Menace

Ms Murphy’s best seller is thought by some to have influenced the decision to quietly add Cannabis to the schedule a year later. First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon

At the time they made it illegal, Cannabis was such a non-issue that:

“The first seizure of marijuana cigarettes occurred only in 1932, nine years after the law had passed (p. 182); the first four possession offences (it is not clear whether these were charges or convictions) occurred in 1937, 14 years after cannabis was criminalized (p. 599)

The Origins of Canada’s Cannabis Laws

No one really knows the “why” of it.   Racism was clearly a factor in Canada’s war on drugs, but the reality was that Marijuana didn’t become a social issue until long after Cannabis had been made illegal.  Although criminalization led to a handful of arrests here and there, marijuana arrests never exceeded 100 annually prior to the 1960s.  Some think the real reason Cannabis was added to the schedule was to eliminate the hemp industry, but something else to consider is that its inclusion in the schedule meant it could no longer be used for medicinal purposes in Canada, so pharmaceutical competition may have been the reason.

The maximum penalty for possession of small quantities was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence.[26] Convictions for cannabis skyrocketed, from 25 convictions between 1930 and 1946, to 20 cases in 1962, to 2,300 cases in 1968, to 12,000 in 1972.[27] The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increased maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.[28]

Wikipedia: Legal History of Cannabis in Canada

In 1961 Parliament replaced the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act with the Narcotic Control Act to be able to ratify the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs  (PDF)

Even though Cannabis still hadn’t become a big problem, its continued presence on the Schedule was supported by the Minister of National Health’s (now debunked) argument that it was a gateway drug,

The use of marijuana as a drug of addiction in Canada is fortunately not widespread. It, however, may well provide a stepping stone to addiction to heroin and here again cultivation of marijuana is prohibited except under licence.

— Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare), Hansard

But by the mid-1960’s the recreational drug culture had become a social problem among Canadian youth.  Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government tasked Gerald Le Dain to look into it.  LeDain’s Royal Commission of Inquiry Into The Non-Medical Use of Drugs invested four years in an exhaustive study of the issue, even going so far as to interview John Lennon in December 1969.

Lennon’s testimony suggested flagrant government misinformation about the effects of marijuana led users to assume legitimate government warnings about the hazards of hard drugs were also unfounded propaganda. And indeed, the Le Dain Commission concluded that there was no scientific evidence warranting the criminalization of cannabis.

When the Le Dain Commission Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs was turned in, Pierre Trudeau chose to ignore its recommendations to decriminalize possession and cultivation for personal use, reduce penalties for trafficking, and decriminalize non-commercial sharing.

Marie-Andree Bertrand, writing for a minority view, recommended a policy of legal distribution of cannabis, that cannabis be removed from the Narcotic Control Act (since replaced by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and that the provinces implement controls on possession and cultivation, similar to those governing the use of alcohol.[2]”

Wikiwand: Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs

Michel Trudeau

Some years later, former Prime Minister Trudeau’s youngest son Michel was charged with possession of marijuana, not long before his 1998 death in an avalanche.

Today’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a young man at a Vice Town Hall about his brother’s predicament:

“…he was charged with possession. When he got back home to Montreal my Dad said, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ reached out to his friends in the legal community, got the best possible lawyer, and was very confident that we were going to be able to make those charges go away.

“We were able to do that because we had resources, my Dad had a couple connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.”

— Five Things We Learned Interviewing Justin Trudeau About Weed” ~ Vice


Part I of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Ahead to Part II: “The Road to Legalization”


Image Credits

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé public domain image circa 1885 via Wikimedia Commons

Hanfstengel (Hemp stalk fibre) Public Domain image by Natrij

William Lyon Mackenzie King public domain image from City of Toronto Archives

Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC Public Domain image shared by Vancouver Public Library

Henri Sévérin Béland Hansard quotation on the April 23, 1923 NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL Parliamentary debate, image reproduced from the University of Toronto’s LiPaD (Linked Parliamentary Data Project). Follow the entire discussion or any other historic Canadian Hansard Parliamentary Debate with LiPaD

The Black Candle” cover (and the whole book) via Internet Archive are in the Public Domain

First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon Public Domain Image released by Vancouver Public Library Special Collections on Pinterest

Michel Trudeau photo by Kari Puchala (CP FILE PHOTO) used under the Fair Dealing exemption

Canadian Canabis graphic created from Cannabis Chemistry art by Kyrnos with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain on Pixabay

Celebrate Our Waters: A Family Event, Book Launch and Fundraiser

Our Green friends in Brantford—Brant have extended us an invitation to a multifaceted family event in support the Paris Pit Ministerial Appeal.

Snack on delicious desserts and enjoy fantastic live music with Madison Galloway and check out the live auction with Nick Maidment.  You’ll also have an opportunity to meet special guest Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert, a researcher and toxicologist who’s published more than eighty papers and book chapters on the metabolism of toxic chemicals. Her most recent work was on the Paris Pit case with the Concerned Citizens of Brant (CCOB).  She’ll also talk about her new book Fighting Dirty: How a Small Community Took on Big Trash, the story of one small group of farmers, small-town residents, and Indigenous people who took on the world’s largest waste disposal company to stop them from expanding a local dumpsite into a massive land fill.

It struck me early on, though, that for all their deep roots in this land, community members didn’t have a voice in decisions about how that land was to be used. As a scientist, I was trained to be dispassionate, objective, logical, rational—and none of that changed. But for the first time in my personal life, I joined forces with a community of people as they fought to avert environmental catastrophe.
— Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert

If you’ve already got your copy of “Fighting Dirty,” bring it along so Dr. Forkert can sign it; but if you haven’t, I expect you’ll be able to pick up a copy on Saturday.

Brantford-Brant Greens, the Grand River Environmental Network, OPAL Alliance and others have partnered with the CCOB in sharing our concern for this fragile watershed and supporting the precautionary measures that must be taken to protect our water.

Celebrate Our Waters: A Family Event, Book Launch and Fundraiser
Saturday, November 18the, 2017
2-5pm
St. Paul’s United Church
48 Broadway Street West,
Paris, Ontario, N3L 2S5

Check out the event’s Facebook Page

For background on the appeal visit:
http://www.cela.ca/publications/concerned-citizens-brant-reply

 

 

Elizabeth May’s midterm report for the Trudeau Administration

Unsurprisingly the big one was Mr Trudeau’s badly broken Electoral Reform promise.

Democratic deficit, the failure to restore protections to “navigable waters,” Environment policy direction, Climate Change policy, failure to live up to Reconciliation, ignoring evidence given by experts and citizens to Parliamentary Committees and National Consultations… there is much need for improvement.

“…the intangibles are re-engaging Canadians in having faith and hope and trust in a government — if you squander that you encourage cynicism and you hurt democracy in a fundamental way.”

— Elizabeth May

GPO EARLYBIRD Special Ends Oct 31st!

GPO 2018 Convention
The 2018 GPO Convention offers some excellent practical advice and workshops to help us get ready for the 2018 Ontario Election!

At the convention, you will have the opportunity to Connect with like-minded, passionate Greens from across the province.

Participate in practical campaign training to bring back to your local teams
Hear from inspiring speakers
Engage in policy and platform discussions

Check out the draft agenda here

Where: Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, 50 Stone Rd W, Guelph
When: Friday, February 2nd, to Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Get your tickets today!

Early Bird Special Ends October 31st, 2017

Waterloo & Kitchener Centre choose 2018 Candidates

WRGreens congratulate Waterloo’s “Zee” Zdravko Gunjevic and Kitchener Centre’s Stacey Danckert on their nomination as Green Party Candidates at Sunday’s combined WRGreens GPO Constituency Association nomination meeting at the Kitchener Public Library.

WRGreens Kris Braun introduces the Candidate Nominees
Stacey Danckert for Kitchener Centre
The former Waterloo Candidate talks about why she wants to represent Kitchener Centre.
The last riding boundary redistribution moved Stacey to Kitchener Centre
Zdravko Gunjevic for Waterloo
“Zee” Zdravko Gunjevic talks about why he wants to represent Waterloo
This is Zdravko Gunjevic’s first time seeking a political nomination
While the voting members cast ballots, Bryan Izzard readies the refreshments
Bryan’s fabulous food was (as always) a hit
Teresa announces the candidates!
Introducing the new candidates: Stacey Danckert and Zdravko Gunjevic
Julia Gogoleva and Sam Nabi talk about Volunteer Organizing for WRGreens
Small Group Discussion

A second combined nomination meeting for the other WRGreens ridings is in the works, possibly for December.  We’ll keep you posted!


Photos by Laurel Russwurm released under a Creative Commons Attribution License may be attributed to WRGreens.  These (and many more) are available in the WRGreens Flickr album.
NOTE: If you find yourself in one of our blogs or Flickr albums but would prefer not to appear there, or should you wish to remain but be identified by name, please contact Laurel at laurel.russwurm@gpc.ca

Mike Schreiner gets ready to turn #Guelph Green in 2018!

Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner arrive

On Tuesday October 6th, 2017 #KitCon Greens Laurel and Bob joined the Guelph Greens to celebrate the Grand Opening of their new Office.

Deputy Leader Bonnie North (Barrie—Innisfil) joins Mike at the opening.
Kitchener Conestoga’s Bob Jonkman networks with Greens from around Ontario.
Elizabeth May joined the Guelph Greens for the Grand Opening celebration.
Elizabeth introduces Mike Schreiner
Mike says a few words (video coming)

When Greens get together there’s always plenty to talk about
Discussing Green Issues
Mike Schreiner is great to talk to
Bob (Kitchener—Conestoga), Pat (Halton), Elizabeth (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Ingrid and Ken (Brantford—Brant)

 

Mike leads!
panorama: getting ready for the group photo  [link to official GPO Group Photo]
Photographers at Work
Green Leadership in Ontario
Mike Schreiner (Green Party of Ontario Leader) and Elizabeth May (Green Party of Canada Leader)
Next time you’re in Guelph, stop by the office at 163 Suffolk and say “hi”
Those of us who navigate by landmarks can look for the
Mike For Guelph banner hanging above the storefront 🙂

[Reblogged from Kitchener Conestoga Greens]

Photo Credit
All photos © by Laurel Russwurm and released under a
Creative Commons Attribution License.

Find more photos from the Opening in the KitConGreens Flickr Album

Don’t Let The Sun Set on Canada’s PEARL

Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
© by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Five years ago the 39% “majority” Harper Government wanted to close Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) of the Arctic.

But it didn’t.

Waterloo Region “Stand Up For Science” Rally at Carl Zehr Square (2012)

Even so, the Canadian science community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the 2015 election replaced the Harper Government’s 39% “majority” with a Justin Trudeau 39% “majority” that promised “evidence based policy.”

But it seems that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government— like Stephen Harper’s before it, intends to close Pearl.  There was no press release or discussion, PEARL was simply ignored in the budget.  No funds are forthcoming. The important program is finished without funding, if it shuts down science will no longer be done there.

Why would this ostensibly pro-science government chosen to shut down the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)?  This is a serious problem.

The Green Party of Canada released the following statement regarding the planned closure to Canada’s high Arctic research station:

The last time this vital research station on Ellesmere Island was threatened with closure was in 2012, during the infamous anti-science Harper years, which also featured the muzzling of scientists on the government payroll,” said Richard Zurawski, GPC Climate Change Critic.

“I am not surprised PEARL is on the chopping block again. The Liberals say a lot of nice things – mouthing all the proper words at the right time, projecting a pro-science and research campaign – while simultaneously choking off funding and giving vested fossil fuel interests a free hand,” Mr. Zurawksi said.

GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: “The Arctic recorded its eighth lowest summer ice extent, along with the lowest winter extent this year, and ocean levels are rising at their fastest levels on record, which threatens low-lying coastal cities.

“Why would a government, supposedly so committed to science, climate change and international collaboration, allow this research station to be closed? I wish I had an answer. Without research, we will not discover answers. And without answers, we cannot take educated, informed action on climate change,” Ms. May said.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL … and Canadian atmospheric climate science!

Sign the Evidence for Democracy Petition in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory

  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) © by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Find out more at Evidence For Democracy

Read the CREATE Arctic Science blog

Image Credits
Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and the photograph used in the Sign The Petition Save Pearl graphic are both © by Dan Weaver, and used with permission

Stand Up for Science and GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) photos © by Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License

 

Cannabis Lounges in KW?

Recently Waterloo Region has been catapulted into the news on the issue of cannabis:

But there have been positive articles, like the one about a “Family’s cannabis business will bring new life to former Lear plant in Kitchener.”  Though I’m no expert, it’s starting to sound as if existing medical marijuana manufacturers will be shut out of the industry altogether by Liberal legislation brought to us by ex-Toronto top cop Bill Blair.

And then there are the news stories like Now Magazine’s rundown of Marijuana, Inc: The buzz behind the Canadian bud biz the National Post’s Marijuana task-force member’s move to legal weed company raises conflict-of-interest concerns and Police chiefs and politicians: The new faces of corporate medical marijuana in B.C., the Toronto Sun’s looks at the  T.O. pot dispensary battle a ‘game of cat and mouse’ and Police chiefs and politicians: The new faces of corporate medical marijuana in B.C. while Macleans reports How public officials got into the weed game.

As Ms Emery writes:  Reefer monopoly madness – government doesn’t want to legalize pot, but DOES want to profit from it

Jodie Emery tweet: Friday at 8pm - I'm speaking in Kitchener, Ontario alongside @AbiRoach of @hotboxcafe at an event about cannabis lounges. Come say high! ✌🏻

Tomorrow night (Friday, September 29th, 2017) you can come to An Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness (ACCA) education night will take place Friday Night at UC Vape in Kitchener.
NOTE: There is a $5 admission fee,
and as I understand it from the Facebook Event Page you need to apply to attend.

The evening will featuring cannabis activists Abi Roach, founder of Hotbox Cafe and Cannabis Culture‘s Jodie Emery.

Ms Emery shared a video of her appearance with her husband Marc Emery before the Parliamentary Committee on Facebook.  Their view of the government’s proposed legislation not very good.

“There are more criminal offenses in the new Cannabis Act than there currently are in the existing legislation.”

Marc Emery, to Parliamentary Committee

8:00-10:30pm
Friday September 29th, 2017
UC Vape
33 Queen Street South
Kitchener, ON
N2G 1V8


[errata: corrections for  clarity ~ LLR Nov 21]

Mike Schreiner: “The #Green Party does not support the Monopolization of #Marijuana”

The 1936 Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” helped usher in new Prohibition against Cannabis

American Prohibition did not work.

Wikipedia points out:

Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.[28]

Not only did it not stop otherwise law abiding people from consuming alcohol, the costs — to the economy, the justice system and society — were staggering.

Although alcohol prohibition was repealed in 1933, one might wonder what gave rise to the new Prohibition against cannabis. Although films like “Reefer Madness” helped justify the early war on drugs, Wikipedia tells us Cannabis became illegal in Canada much earlier with “the Opium Act of 1908,[13] which was introduced based on a report by then-Deputy Minister of Labour, Mackenzie King.

Although the American Prohibition against alcohol never made drinking it illegal, the same was not true of cannabis prohibition in Canada, where users could be fined and imprisoned. As the 20th century wore on, the punishments became more severe, especially as Canada (again) followed the American lead.

A few decades ago this classic ad was part of “The War on Drugs”

Recently the same actress, Rachael Leigh Cook, reprised her role in this 2017 “Your Brain on Drug Policy” video.

The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.

During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.

Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different.

Although the Justin Trudeau Government says it will legalize cannabis, its about half way through its term and they keep arresting people.

The Green Party has better policy:

4.9 Ending the war on drugs

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader
Elizabeth May

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

Green Party MPs will:

Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;

Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;

Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;

Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;

Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;

Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;

Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Unfortunately the way the Liberal majority government is doing this is not the way a Green government would have.

On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:

“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.

Mike Schreiner, Green party of Ontario Leader
Mike Schreiner

Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.

The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.

The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.

This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”

[reblogged & expanded from Kitchener Conestoga Greens]