The federal health minister of Canada, Rona Ambrose, sent out a letter this week warning the Vancouver city mayor against attempting to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the area. The city council was expected to consider a proposal next week that would afford dispensaries with a special business license, for those who are currently operating outside of the medical marijuana system which is operated by the federal government. In keeping with Harper's senseless anti-drug warpath, Ambrose insists that the dispensaries are illegal, and she doesn't show signs of listening to reason on the topic anytime soon.
Thus far, the dispensaries have managed to operate with little-to-no interference from the local police and city officials, but Ambrose insists that this doesn't mean they fall into any “grey area,” and she maintains that they are illegal and shouldn't be supported. Suggesting that Vancouver's plan was akin to sanctioning marijuana use, Ambrose urges officials to reconsider their agenda. “Legitimizing and normalizing the use and sale of marijuana can have only one effect: increasing marijuana use and addiction,” she wrote. But she couldn't be more wrong on the subject matter.
On numerous occasions, after cannabis has become legalized it has shown to demonstrate the opposite of Ambrose's fears. Ten years after decriminalization took effect in Portugal, drug abuse was down by roughly half. In Colorado following their legalization, pot use among teens and drug use overall also showed a drop. Not only was drug use down following criminalization, but crime rates also decreased across a number of demographics. Overall property crime fell by 14.6 percent in Denver alone, homicide rates fell by roughly 67 percent, and the number of robberies decrease by roughly 7 percent. The roads in Colorado are also safer as well following the legalization, disproving the premise that if legalization were to occur that there would be “too many high people driving on the road and getting into accidents.” Meanwhile, Ambrose will never re-consider legalization of alcohol given that it has fueled millions of car accidents, attacks, and deaths. Ambrose joins the likes of Nancy Grace with her irrational fear of a natural plant that is used to help treat a wide variety of symptoms for people all over the globe. Not only that, but for a nation that supposedly prides itself on its dedication to human rights and social justice, throwing someone into a cage for engaging in a victimless crime seems rather counter-productive and uncivilized.
Ambrose writes in her letter that by Vancouver officials working along with the dispensaries, that this will offer them legitimacy and therefore encourage drug use, but considering the facts on the matter and the reality surrounding legalization, her fear's couldn't be further from the truth. The Vancouver council was considering a newly proposed framework as a response to public-safety needs it claims, as the number of dispensaries in Vancouver has grown considerably (to a total of about 80). Whereas back in 2012, there were only about 20 locations available. The new license proposal being considered, would require dispensaries to pay a fee of $30,000, and it would prohibit them from operating near a school, a community center, or another dispensary.
Ambrose notes that the cannabis issue remains a federal one, seeing as Canadians may be afforded prescriptions from their doctors for medical marijuana. Last year, the government implemented new regulations which prohibit patients from growing their own cannabis; forcing them to purchase from commercial licensed producers. This is an issue that is still being battled in the courts, to allow people the freedom to peacefully grow their own medicine. Many who grow their own for medical reasons wouldn't be able to afford the cost of the cannabis if they were forced to purchase it from the commercial market, and that would in-turn leave them in pain and without options. That is why growers and those who value natural rights, are fighting to maintain this right for the people when it comes to cannabis farmers. Along with legalization comes a tremendous amount of regulation and taxation, therefore the better route would be to have cannabis decriminalized.
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