Law Journal 3 Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

The Conservative government is considering making legal changes the allow police to, instead of laying charges, issue ticket to those caught with tiny amounts of marijuana. However, these legal changes should not be interpreted as either a legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. Rather they should be interpreted as additional enforcement measures that, should they need them, are available to police officers. Likewise, there is good reason to believe that this novel ‘ticketing system’ would only apply to simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana. Additionally, these tickets would function similarly to those administered for speeding, outlining a fine or presenting a court ...view middle of the document...

Likewise, they argue that simply decriminalizing marijuana could set set a dangerous precedent that could lead to the decriminalization, and possible eventual legalization, of other, harder, drugs such as cocaine. On the other hand, people argue Canada could benefit from more drastic marijuana reform, pointing to international examples such as the Netherlands and Germany who, despite having pot use decriminalized, legalized or liberalized, all, according to a 2012 United Nation World Drug report, have lower rates of cannabis use for individuals between the ages of 15 to 64 than Canada, which, has a rate of 12.7% . Equally, they argue that the cost of enforcing any form of marijuana criminalization “are disproportionately high given the drug’s social and health consequences”, especially with the police and court related costs of enforcing marijuana possession in BC alone being estimated at $10.5 million per year. The question is then, is do the Conservative’s proposed legal changes combat enough of the negative effects of criminalization to be factually more efficient than outright decriminalization. The other legal issue is the question of whether or not the criminalization of marijuana holds any factual basis in maintaining public safety. On one hand, people argue that marijuana, despite common belief, is an addictive and dangerous drug with research suggesting that about 9% of users become addicted. Likewise, they argue failure to keep marijuana criminalize would increase the chances of the drug falling into the hands of children who, along with daily users, have an increased 17% risk of becoming addicted. On the other hand, people argue, that despite continued criminalization, rates of child cannabis rates in Canada are still higher than other countries, with a WHO survey finding that 28% of Canadian children (aged 11, 13, and 15) have tried marijuana in the past 12 months. Moreover, they argue that the criminalization of marijuana actually causes an increase in drug related crimes by giving modern day gangsters the same business opportunities that Prohibition gave to their bootlegger counterparts. Thus, the question is whether criminalizing marijuana is enforcing public safety or merely giving the illusion of doing so.
My opinions on certain parts of the subject, such as decriminalization, lean towards...

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