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Canada Marijuana Arrests Jump Dramatically

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #694)
Politics & Advocacy

New numbers from Statistics Canada show marijuana arrests jumped dramatically last year. According to its annual crime report, pot possession arrests increased 14% last year, and accounted for more than half (54%) of all drug arrests in Canada. That has advocates crying foul.

Some 58,000 Canadians were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, and another 18,000 were arrested for marijuana trafficking, also up significantly with a 10% increase over 2009.

Cocaine possession and trafficking arrests actually declined, down 6% and 4%, respectively, but arrests for all other drugs also increased. Arrests for drug possession were up 10% and for drug trafficking up 5%.

The increase in drug arrests comes amidst a decline in arrests for most other criminal offenses. Almost every category of violent crime dropped, with overall violent crime down 3%, while a similar portrait emerged with property crime. Every category of property crimes decreased, with overall property crime down 6%.

The marijuana arrest figures got under the skin of the Vancouver-based Beyond Prohibition Foundation, which laid into the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the uptick, as well as over its medical marijuana policies and its efforts to impose mandatory minimum sentences for cultivating as few as six pot plants.

"What we are seeing is a coordinated effort led by the Conservative government to crack down on simple marijuana possession as part of a multi-billion dollar increase in the war on drugs. At a time when almost every country in the world is recognizing the total and abject failure of the war on drugs, this Conservative government is increasing spending by billions of dollars" said Kirk Tousaw, executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.

"Mr. Harper continues to talk about how government spending needs to be reduced, and how we can't afford social programs, yet he is pouring billions into the failed drug war," Tousaw continued. "Why? Why did 58,000 Canadians need to be arrested over a plant that more Canadians want legalized than voted for Conservative candidates? Why is Mr. Harper spending billions to arrest Canadians for simple marijuana possession?"

"It's become clear what this government's priorities are," said Jacob Hunter, the foundation's policy director. "A crackdown on simple marijuana possession, mandatory minimum sentences for growing even one marijuana plant, and a dismantling of the medical marijuana program. This is nothing less than a total war on marijuana" said Jacob Hunter, the foundation's policy director.

Canadian marijuana activists, who seemed so close to freeing the weed just a few years ago, have their work cut out for them.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

that fucking piece of garbage will have full power with 40% of the vote. If the Liberals, New Democrats,Quebec Nationalists, and Greens won't cooperate in opposing the hardliners, they deserve what they get. But they're letting down the majority of Canada by not compromising among themselves so that they can present a united front against Harper's pigs. One look at Harper's thin, mean looking lips tells you where he is coming from. Hundreds of years ago he would have been into burning witches alive. He's an alcohol supremacist pig of the highest order.

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 7:25am Permalink
BillieBudd (not verified)

I believe I read in the run up to the Canadian election that Harper and friends have instituted a privately run prisons scheme...since the report said that crime in other areas is declining, perhaps the rich investors are putting pressure on the Canadian law enforcement to provided "clients."

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 8:27am Permalink
darkcycle (not verified)

They view anybody who uses pot as the "opposition". Just so happens, they have the legal ability to lock up the "opposition" and make a few bucks at it in the process. Harper is as cynical as any neo-con.

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 11:58am Permalink
Anonymousop (not verified)

God help this country until 2015(!). One of the great progressive nations in the world is now being run by a Neo-Con (who won with 40% of the vote).

Funny how crime is apparently going down while prisons and arrests for non-violent offenders are going up. Research has clearly indicated that arresting drug offenders does NOTHING in solving the problem of trafficking or use. Looks like Harper and his private prison cronies are looking to cash in at the expense of the Canadian people.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 1:58pm Permalink
Brian Kerr (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymousop (not verified)

There is no drug problem.

There has never been one.


LEAP's  numbers show that before there ever was prohibition of drugs, only 1.3 % of the population was

addicted to drugs (in a time where Heroin and Cocaine and Cannabis extracts could be purchased in your local drug store)

Today that number has not changed still after about 100 years, there is still only 1.3 % of the population is addicted to drugs.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 7:35pm Permalink
Just Curious (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymousop (not verified)

I too, after noting other crime decreasing had wondered....

Is it because people are too busy getting high to go out and commit crimes?

Is it because people who are high forget that they should not go in public and then get arrested?

Is it because the 58,000 who were arrested are the ones that would have been committing those crimes if they were not already on the police's "Watch for this person they may be getting high again and we can re-arrest them" list ?

Or is it because the police are spending too much time arresting people for doing something that people have been doing since the beginning of time and ignoring other criminals who do serious crimes such as home invasions, violent crimes, and using cocaine?


Sun, 09/18/2011 - 5:41am Permalink

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