War on drugs a waste; Nelson needs to take leadership

Calls to end the infamous War on Drugs don’t just come from the funny dressed hairy crowd anymore.

Calls to end the infamous War on Drugs don’t just come from the funny dressed hairy crowd anymore. Over the decades a number of Canadian senate committees have called for an end to it and the conservative Fraser Institute has condemned it since 2001.

Last June the United Nations Global Commission on Drugs Policy put it this way: “the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do no harm to others should be ended.” Here in BC, Stop the Violence, which consists of prominent BC police officers, health professionals, legal experts and academics have been advocating much the same.

While we have become used to ex-presidents expressing the sentiment, just a few weeks ago sitting heads of state of Central and South American countries expressed their frustration. They called the War on Drugs a never ending and unwinnable war for which the US provides the money and their citizens the many dead bodies. Last month BC mayors, including Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and a unanimous city council, joined the call to end the war on drugs.

According to a recent Angus-Reid poll only 12 per cent of British Columbians think the current marijuana legislation is effective and 69 per cent agree that BC would be better off taxing and regulating the use of marijuana. With science, politicians and the public on side, one would think that shifting to a “tax and regulate” marijuana law would be easy… but it is not. Our two large provincial political parties lack the courage to stand up, and insist that this is a “federal issue” which has nothing to do with them. The out of touch Harper government is acting against international trends and the will of a majority of Canadians by passing draconian mandatory incarceration legislation for minor drug offenses.

The only way to end the madness seems to be from the bottom up, to start change at the municipal level. Nelson, with its own municipal police force and a healthy alternative culture has a unique opportunity to start that ball rolling. All it would take is a courageous act of municipal disobedience by a few citizens and local politicians with the cooperation of the Nelson police.

That is how, back in the 1970s, the successful Dutch harm reduction policies began in the city of Utrecht. A conversation between the mayor, the chief of police and a local entrepreneur allowed the opening of the first, tightly regulated Amsterdam style “coffee shop.” The now famous Dutch non-enforcement tolerance model quickly spread, has been used for four decades in Holland and is adapted around the world. Today, Dutch kids smoke less marijuana than Canadian kids, Dutch coffee shop owners pay taxes on their profits, police protect minors and keep out organized criminals and the Dutch judicial system focuses its resources on serious crime.

After decades of carnage and failure there is now almost universal agreement that the American War on Drugs has been an expensive, ineffective, man eating experiment for which the public has paid the cost while criminals have profited.

May courage and common sense prevail in Nelson and then spread across the country — just do it Nelson!

Nelson-Creston Greens

Sjeng Derkx, spokesman

 

Just Posted

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ youth advocate tells Nelson audience

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Black belt tests on this week at Kootenay Martial Arts

Grandmaster Brenda Sell returns to assist in testing

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Canada’s top general takes aim at new reports of military sexual assault

Gen. Jonathan Vance is unhappy some troops continue to ignore his order to cease all sexual misconduct

Ignoring climate change poses potential catastrophe for B.C.

Fisheries scientist says ‘extraordinary challenges’ in water management lie ahead

B.C. grow ops left in legal weeds post-legalization

“I think people are going to get a big surprise that it’s not going to change things much.”

Most Read