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Politicians Must Look At The Bigger Picture!

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CN BC: Column: Federal Politicians Must Look At Big Picture On

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n102/a12.html

Newshawk: Herb

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Fri, 03 Feb 2012

Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)

Copyright: 2012 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc

Contact: editor@delta-optimist.com

Website: http://www.delta-optimist.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1265

Author: Ian Robertson




Our MP, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, recently spoke to the Delta Chamber of Commerce about pending federal legislation. While she spoke about a number of matters, I want to focus on one subject - the crime and punishment bills coming before parliament.


In her letter to the Optimist last month, she referred to statements made by the Surrey fire chief about the number of fires in homes with marijuana grow-ops. They are 24 times more likely to catch fire than a home without one.


Thanks to research this fire chief has done, he says 85 per cent of marijuana in B.C. is connected with organized crime. Interesting data for a fire chief to be gathering. What do you suppose would be the statistic if we legalized and regulated marijuana?


Grow-ops would move out of houses. What would organized crime then do to get all their cash? Do something else or go out of business! Might that be wiser than spending billions trying to catch and lock them up?


How widespread is the problem? Well, according to what I read, over one-quarter of young adults in B.C. regularly use pot - not just once, but regularly. Before we group marijuana users in with cocaine, etc., let's understand there are 10 times as many marijuana users as there are cocaine users.


Let's also separate the effects of these different drugs, just as we have done by separating alcohol and tobacco in the past. Even with all that we have done, alcohol kills 10 times as many as all illicit drugs, and tobacco kills 25 times as many as all illicit drugs. Do I hear any plan to lock up tobacco smokers or alcohol consumers?


Meanwhile, the federal government is going to get tough on drug dealers. In the instance of marijuana, if it were legislated and controlled, probably much of the trafficking would go away.


As for the rest, many of those who use hard drugs are addicted to them. Representing a small population, they can do a lot of damage. The chief of the Vancouver Police Department has said: "Crime rates in Vancouver are driven by repeat offenders who are likely addicted to crack cocaine or crystal meth and steal to get their fix."


The chair of the Vancouver police board says: "Repeat offenders will not change without measures to deal with their addiction." What does our MP say to that?


What does the chair of Delta police board ( and mayor ) say to that?


I have previously commented that up to one-third of the current prison inmate population suffers some form of mental disorder or disease.


Another large portion of inmates have a history of broken and dysfunctional upbringing. A disproportionate inmate population is from First Nations where, as we have seen recently, housing and education are well below acceptable standards.


What proportion of all this new federal effort is being directed to reducing these basic problems?


It's time to get our politicians to focus on the real causes and not just at "Band-Aiding" the situation.

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom



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