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Beyond Prohibition Foundation Commends Liberal Party of Canada for Opposing Bill S-10 (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2011

CONTACT: Jacob Hunter at 604.803.4085 or jacob@jacobhunter.org, or Kirk Tousaw at kirktousaw@gmail.com

Beyond Prohibition Foundation Commends Liberal Party of Canada for Opposing Bill S-10

Today the Liberal Party of Canada announced that it would vote down Bill S-10, a cornerstone of the Harper Conservative’s incarceration agenda, which would have imposed mandatory jail sentences on non-violent minor drug offenders. The Beyond Prohibition Foundation commends the Liberal Party for standing up to Mr. Harper’s false “soft on crime” slurs and defeating this dangerous, enormously expensive and ideologically-driven legislation.

“We are extremely pleased that the Liberal Party has made its decision on the basis of evidence,” noted Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director of the Foundation, “This punishment plan would not have reduced crime, nor would it have made Canadian safer from the influence of gangs. In fact, the Foundation has long argued that the evidence is clear that ramping up a war on drugs has the perverse effect of making drugs more available, cheaper and more potent while simultaneously increasing the profitability and violent tendencies of organized criminals. Today the Liberal Party of Canada decided to be smart on crime.”

The legislation had previously been the subject of intense criticism during two rounds of testimony before committees of the Senate and House of Commons. Experts from Canada, the United States and abroad testified that other jurisdictions using mandatory jail terms have worse crime and drug problems than Canada, and that these experiments have been expensive failures. Despite this, the Harper Conservatives have been pushing for the legislation for years.

“The Foundation knew that the Conservatives would not listen to expert advice and, therefore, we made a strategic decision early on to appeal to the Liberal Party,” explained Jacob Hunter, the Foundation’s Policy Director. “We believed that the Liberals would understand that making economically and socially smart decisions with Canadian’s tax dollars would be a political benefit, not a liability. Everyone knew that Mr. Harper would attempt to fool Canadians with ‘soft on crime’ rhetoric but the Foundation believes that our citizens are smarter than that. We are very pleased the Liberal Party agrees.”

Earlier this week, the government refused to tell the House how much its incarceration agenda would cost Canadians. “Mr. Harper tried to use fear to sell Canadians on a multi-billion dollar legislative boondoggle by hiding the costs and falsely describing it as targeting only major criminals.

Instead, it would have almost exclusively punished non-violent small time drug offenders. Now that the legislation appears doomed, we urge all Parliamentarians to conduct a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of drug prohibition. Its time to reject the failed approaches of the past and, instead, to work toward putting criminals out of business by ending the war on drugs,” Tousaw continued.

Location: 
Canada

Canadian Doctors Decry Crackdown on Drugs

Location: 
Canada
A large group of doctors, HIV researchers and other public health officials has just released a letter lambasting the Canadian government’s bill S-10, which would overhaul illicit drug laws. The principle target of the 564 signatories – which includes doctors, nurses, social workers and law professors – is a provision that would impose minimum prison sentences of at least six months for a variety of drug offenses, including operating small-scale marijuana grow operations.
Publication/Source: 
National Post (Canada)
URL: 
http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/02/07/blackwell-on-health-doctors-decry-crackdown-on-drugs/

Canadian Patients Ask Ottawa to Fix Flawed Medical Marijuana Program

Location: 
Ottawa, ON
Canada
A group of medical marijuana patients traveled to Parliament Hill to draw attention to the government's "wildly dysfunctional and onerous medical marijuana regulations" and the effects they are having on sick Canadians. "Ten years ago, we put in place a government program, a legal government program, that would allow sick patients to have access to a medicine that worked for them," said Member of Parliament Dr. Carolyn Bennett. "We now are seeing a perfect storm of administrative delays that have these patients with a licence waiting four to six months till the point that it expires – and then they are criminalized because they don't have a licence because the government's backlogs and lack of resources have put them there."
Publication/Source: 
Cannabis Culture (Canada)
URL: 
http://cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2011/01/31/Patients-Ask-Ottawa-Fix-Flawed-Medical-Marijuana-Program

War on Marijuana Grow-Ops in British Columbia Has Unexpected Casualties

Location: 
BC
Canada
In the war on marijuana grow-ops, municipalities across the Lower Mainland are slapping homeowners – including those with no link to illegal drugs – with a hefty bill for an inspection of their property, saying the fees cover the costs involved. Critics say the safety inspections are a substitute for police raids of suspected grow-ops. Police cannot enter a home without reasonable grounds for believing that they will find illegal activity. However, safety inspectors can just go in and look around. If they find a grow-op, they call police, who are usually waiting at the curb.
Publication/Source: 
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/war-on-grow-ops-in-bc-has-unexpected-casualties/article1866458/

Canada: Voice Your Opposition to Costly Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Drug-Related Offenses (Action Alert)

The federal government of Canada is currently considering Bill S-10, which proposes legislative amendments that, among other things, would introduce mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses. Research clearly demonstrates that mandatory minimum sentences are extremely expensive to the taxpayer and do not meaningfully improve public health and safety nor reduce drug use or crime in communities.

The Urban Health Research Initiative is inviting concerned health practitioners, scientists, researchers and academics in Canada to join it in supporting evidence-based drug prevention and treatment initiatives and opposing the introduction of costly and ineffective mandatory minimum sentencing legislation.  Please see the sign-on letter at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6452/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY....

Location: 
Canada

Sixth Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Vancouver

Location: 
Vancouver, BC
Canada
The new dispensary is the first in south Vancouver. Jacob Hunter, director of Imedikate Medical Cannabis Dispensary, said the shops operate "on the edge of the legislative law" because Health Canada refuses to issue a dispensary license, but the country's judiciary has ruled people have a right to medical marijuana.
Publication/Source: 
United Press International (DC)
URL: 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/01/10/Sixth-marijuana-clinic-opens-in-Vancouver/UPI-60451294683110/

Medical Marijuana Licenses Still Taking Months to deliver

Location: 
Canada
A woman who's been waiting five months for an updated license to use medical marijuana says the situation for patients is getting worse. Health Canada issues medical marijuana licenses to people with debilitating illnesses and prescriptions from their doctors. Almost 5,000 Canadians have licenses to carry medical marijuana and just over 3,500 have a license to grow it. A spokesman for Health Canada says the department streamlined its process and is now hitting its eight to 10 week processing time target.
Publication/Source: 
Toronto Sun (Canada)

B.C. Medical Marijuana Growers to Pay Tax on Illegal Income

Location: 
BC
Canada
The Canada Revenue Agency is trying to collect some income tax from marijuana growers who supply B.C.'s Compassion Club. Compassion Club lawyer John Conroy says the two sides have reached an agreement and the club is now trying to convince growers to claim their income. He says many people don't realize that even if you're involved in illegal activities, declaring the illegal income won't result in criminal charges.
Publication/Source: 
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-medical-marijuana-growers-to-pay-tax-on-illegal-income/article1859117/

Marijuana Activist Declares Bid to Lead B.C. NDP

Location: 
BC
Canada
Longtime marijuana activist Dana Larsen announced his bid for the leadership of the provincial party from the Vancouver office where he dispenses medical marijuana. The 39-year-old is the first candidate to publicly announce his intention to take over the party since Carole James resigned on Dec. 6. James has said she will remain at the helm until an interim leader is chosen in mid-January. Larson, the founding editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine from 1994 to 2004, says he has support from many members of the provincial NDP party, but admits he isn't in the "inner circle."
Publication/Source: 
CTV Television Network (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101229/bc_marijuana_NDP_101229/20101229?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

Prohibition of Marijuana Is Responsible for Much of the Gang Violence Both here and Elsewhere (Opinion)

Location: 
Canada
Evan Wood, director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS; an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at UBC; and founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, opines on the role marijuana prohibition plays in producing gang violence.
Publication/Source: 
The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Prohibition+marijuana+responsible+much+gang+violence+both+here+elsewhere/4031861/story.html

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