Stephen Harper is a pretty shrewd judge of public opinion most of the time. Who would have thought we would see the day when he was way behind the top cops?
Canada’s Police chiefs, meeting in Winnipeg, passed a resolution urging parliament to change the law on simple possession of marijuana. If someone is stopped by police, and a joint is found in the ashtray, officers are suppose to charge them with possession. They won’t do any jail time, but they will have a criminal record. It could make it difficult to travel to some countries. The Chiefs argue that in such cases the cops should have the option of writing a ticket instead.
There would be a fine involved, but no criminal record. They insist it would not be decriminalization, but rather a way to manage the problem without clogging the justice system. The government immediately made it clear that the law is not about to change … end of story.
But it didn’t end there. Several people who spoke at the meeting in Winnipeg confirmed what many have known for quite a while. Police regard the current law as a nuisance and a waste of their time. Most often when they find someone with less than 30 grams of mary jane, they tell them to just get rid of it, and be more careful.
In other words Mr. Harper, the law that you are not prepared to change, has already been changed by police officers. It’s a similar hodge podge in the U.S. when it comes to pot. Several states have moved to decriminalize, but the Obama Administration in Washington has still not declared a truce or a surrender in the war on drugs.
If you light up on the lawn of the Washington Monument, you might still end up in jail. In the city of Seattle, it won’t happen.
Does any of this make sense? I don’t think so either.
I’m Roger Currie