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

Louise Baxter found after 72 hour search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

Nelson city hall will fly Pride flag this year

Council will develop a policy for future flag decisions

VIDEO: Happy birthday Kaslo

Village marks 125th birthday with reopening of city hall, sealing of time capsule

Nelson architecture firm to redesign Arrow Lakes Hospital

Cover Architecture Collaborative will work on the hospital’s emergency department

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Church sex scandal: Abuse victims want a full reckoning

Since the crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, dioceses around the country have dealt with similar revelations of widespread sexual abuse.

Baloney Meter: is flow of asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border a ‘crisis’?

“I think any time you have a government that allows 30,000 people over the course of a short period of time to come into Canada illegally, the impact that that has, that is a crisis,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

B.C. RCMP say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled today

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Most Read