OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada is welcoming the shift in Liberal policy to legalize and regulate marijuana. “It is nice to see another party come in line with Green Party policy. We have said for years that we should be regulating and taxing marijuana and freeing up our police resources to fight real crime,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
"I totally agree with Interim Leader Bob Rae that the war on drugs has been a complete bust," said May. “The traditional approach to preventing drug use has not only been a spectacular failure in itself, but has resulted in building a massive crime industry and has had catastrophic negative impacts on numerous young people, especially within poverty-stricken areas both within Canada and abroad.”
In 2008, according to the Treasury Board, Canada spent $61.3 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 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.
The Green Party recommends the following actions:
• 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.
• Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities and addict rehabilitation which have now proven to be economically and socially in the best interests of the country.