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Decriminalization vs. Criminalization


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Waitaminute! I've had a few puffs and I can think more clearly. Maybe making something illegal and banning it are essentially the same thing. Nonetheless, that's irrelevant because the product still doesn't disappear after it's been banned; negative legal consequences are only imposed. And the point was, those negative legal consequences are unfair when there are no victims from the crime.

Now, back to my session.

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There's nothing quite so wearisome as two barely literate,

In retrospect, I've been accused of far greater personal flaws than being "barely literate". Notwithstanding those flaws, this is a novel accusation. Given that my accuser resorts to morality-driven rather than evidence-based arguments to support his and Harper's position that permanent criminal records and potential jail sentences are appropriate for simple possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, I'm curious as to whether his accusations against me are based on fantasy or evidence. I look forward to my accuser posting the evidence. :angry:

I think the sputtering, confused drivel you post daily is more than sufficient evidence, along with your inability to understand fairly basic concepts and explanations.

Sweeping generalizations unsupported by evidence are unconvincing. I had hoped you would do better but then again, the ability to debate and respond to challenges are not among your strengths.

However, it is understandable that you employ terms like "confused" and "inability to understand fairly basic concepts" . These descriptors accurately portray your knowledge of elementary pharmacological principles. Perhaps one day you will learn what a drug is as you still appear confused about how to define this simple term.

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And that only worsens when they get drugs and too much alcohol into their system.

You don't think alcohol is a drug? Why, because it's legal? Or because it's a liquid? :lol:

How about nicotine? Is that a drug?

I use the term alcohol to differentiate liquor, which is legal, from illegal narcotics, much as the original poster decried alcohol being legal but drugs being illegal.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. So by your completely arbitrary and ill-informed definition, drugs are illegal narcotics. Therefore, I presume you view antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, antischizophrenic drugs, indeed anything manufactured by the multibillion pharmaceutical industry as not being a drug. :D

OK, let's ignore yet another of your mistakes and/or lack of knowledge and focus on your term "illegal narcotics". What about legal narcotics? Physicians regularly prescribe them. Should we criminalize them as well and if so, why?

And what about illegal drugs which are not even remotely narcotic in their pharmacological action? Should we decriminalize them?

Here you are Argus. In your own words, drugs are "illegal narcotics". That would explain why you are unable to answer simple questions such as should we criminalize legal narcotics? And it would explain why you are unable to answer the question of should we decriminalize illegal drugs which are non-narcotic. And you accuse me of "confused drivel"? To paraphrase Freud, projection is one of the first defense mechanisms to be employed. :P

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Anyone wanting to discuss child porn and its effects should really read the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Sharpe...it is a very well written analysis of the purpose behind the current Canadian law

The purpose behind the law was quite explicitly known at the time. It was to get the Tories re-elected. It failed, even in that.

as well as the Charter exceptions that were carved out of the original legislation to ensure that it's coverage was not too broad.

All to be closed by amendments by either the Liberals or the Tories.

And it's coverage is certainly too broad. Which is why it's been used against galleries and museums.

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Ha! Why don't you just admit that you find it morally offensive? That's the gist of why the child porn law is so broad. And that's the gist of why pot is banned.

There's a fairly broad social consensus regarding the depiction of children in sexual situations. Most people don't like it. However, no such consensus exists with regard to mind or mood altering chemicals, as evidenced by the acceptance and legality of many demonstratably harmful substances (as well as the acceptance and widespread use of banned substances). So the argument that pot prohibition is a moral issue based on "society's" disapproval of getting wasted falls apart because of the lack of consistency with which the social sanction is applied.

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Besides, all this talk about child porn (especially about how it isn't necessarily harmful) is ruining my buzz.

When they can't win an argument based on logic or facts, out comes the CPC's favourite accusation.... Child Porn....

It's probably just a coincidence that CPC's acronym could stand for something like Child Porn Crusaders.....

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When they can't win an argument based on logic or facts, out comes the CPC's favourite accusation.... Child Porn....

It's probably just a coincidence that CPC's acronym could stand for something like Child Porn Crusaders.....

It seems that Argus would rather defend his position on kiddie porn than his "drug" position, which he shares with Stephen Harper, of giving permanent criminal records and potential jail sentences to people who possess a few grams of a plant.

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In theory, this effect is reversable if you stop using dope but it can take years. Anyone who has tried to have a conversation with a chronic dope user has observed this effect.

I'm still waiting for you to provide evidence that reversing the effects of marijuana can take years. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been reported in any medical or neuroscience publlication. Please provide your source.

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It was just one of many sites discussing cannabinoid receptors, which were discovered by neuro scientists in 1988. They are receptors in the brain which appear to have no other purpose than to receive THC. It suggest the human brain has actually evolved (or been designed, that's another debate) to accept and use THC.

BM, thanks for bringing up the issue of cannabinoid (CB) receptors. To people who know nothing about drugs, it must seem very confusing if not unbelievable that the brain would have receptors for THC, one of the active ingredients in marijuana. Well there's a good reason why those receptors are there. The brain produces it's own cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids. For example, the brain substance anandamide is an endocannabinoid. Because anandamide and THC are structurally similar, they both bind to the CB receptor.

So what do CB receptors do in the brain? They regulate functions such as sleep, hunger (surprise, surprise), mood, memory, etc. Currently a number of drug companies are developing drugs which either stimulate or inhibit the CB receptor. For example, the drug Rimonabant has been shown effective for weight loss and cessation of cigarette smoking. Don't believe me? Google Rimonabant.

I know that Canadian neuroscientists are working on effective CB receptor drugs that would reduce depression. What's interesting about all of this research is that the drugs which stimulate the CB receptor are perfectly legal because they're sold by multibillion dollar, international pharmaceutical companies. But marijuana's THC, which stimulates the same CB receptor, is illegal. The law is completely irrational on this and it's yet another reason why marijuana should be legalized or decriminalized. I suspect if marijuana were a pharmaceutical product pushed by the powerful drug lobby that pushes antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs, rather than a plant, it would have become legal years ago.

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A hypothetical question. If decriminalization were to come to a national plebiscite, do you think the majority of Canadians would vote yea or nay?

I am a CPC supporter and personally think a criminal record for a few joints is too high a price to pay, but think 30 grams is too much allowance to be legalized. Also, I have serious concerns about how to deal with issues such as driving under the influence of pot. Again, my personal opinion is if you drink don't drive and the same goes for pot.

It seems to me to be a huge waste of resources busting people for a couple of joints, yet having worked as a volunteer in a detox centre my experience has shown the more unpleasant aspects of subtance abuse including pot.

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A hypothetical question. If decriminalization were to come to a national plebiscite, do you think the majority of Canadians would vote yea or nay?

I am a CPC supporter and personally think a criminal record for a few joints is too high a price to pay, but think 30 grams is too much allowance to be legalized. Also, I have serious concerns about how to deal with issues such as driving under the influence of pot. Again, my personal opinion is if you drink don't drive and the same goes for pot.

It seems to me to be a huge waste of resources busting people for a couple of joints, yet having worked as a volunteer in a detox centre my experience has shown the more unpleasant aspects of subtance abuse including pot.

I have a feeling that you aren't the only CPC supporter who opposes permanent criminal records for possession of a few joints. But alas, that's the position of your leader and he said so in British Columbia of all places. On a per capita basis, I can't imagine any part of North America with more users or more people wanting it legalized, never mind decriminalized.

As far as driving under the influence goes, Australia already has in place a simple and effective saliva test for the detection of even small trace quantities of marijuana. Such a system should be in place in Canada even if we don't decriminalize or legalize it since impaired driving is hazardous to everyone, not just the impaired driver.

Although I personally favour legalization, I don't think it would pass in a plebiscite.

But I suspect decriminalization would. Here are some stats on how Canadians feel about the issue:

http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/info_statistics.html

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A hypothetical question. If decriminalization were to come to a national plebiscite, do you think the majority of Canadians would vote yea or nay?

I am a CPC supporter and personally think a criminal record for a few joints is too high a price to pay, but think 30 grams is too much allowance to be legalized. Also, I have serious concerns about how to deal with issues such as driving under the influence of pot. Again, my personal opinion is if you drink don't drive and the same goes for pot.

It seems to me to be a huge waste of resources busting people for a couple of joints, yet having worked as a volunteer in a detox centre my experience has shown the more unpleasant aspects of subtance abuse including pot.

I have a feeling that you aren't the only CPC supporter who opposes permanent criminal records for possession of a few joints. But alas, that's the position of your leader and he said so in British Columbia of all places. On a per capita basis, I can't imagine any part of North America with more users or more people wanting it legalized, never mind decriminalized.

As far as driving under the influence goes, Australia already has in place a simple and effective saliva test for the detection of even small trace quantities of marijuana. Such a system should be in place in Canada even if we don't decriminalize or legalize it since impaired driving is hazardous to everyone, not just the impaired driver.

Although I personally favour legalization, I don't think it would pass in a plebiscite.

But I suspect decriminalization would. Here are some stats on how Canadians feel about the issue:

http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/info_statistics.html

I think this is an issue that given time will change. It's pretty low on most Canadians radar.

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I think this is an issue that given time will change. It's pretty low on most Canadians radar.

This is hardly a reason for Harper to announce in British Columbia that he will not re-introduce the decriminalization bill tabled by the Liberals and supported by the NDP, BQ and a majority of Canadians.

It's low on most Canadians' radar because (1) the law is frequently not enforced and (2) the media have chosen not to focus on it. If the media were to actually bring this up, it would remind people just how outrageous Harper's position is.

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Are you claiming a right-wing bias in the MSM? :lol:

I would say it is more an issue of *salience* in most people's minds. I don't have any issues with decriminalization, but it isn't that important to me. If it were to a lot of Canadians the issue would get a lot more coverage than it is.

It's low on most Canadians' radar because (1) the law is frequently not enforced and (2) the media have chosen not to focus on it.  If the media were to actually bring this up, it would remind people just how outrageous  Harper's position is.

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Are you claiming a right-wing bias in the MSM? 

I would say it is more an issue of *salience* in most people's minds. I don't have any issues with decriminalization, but it isn't that important to me. If it were to a lot of Canadians the issue would get a lot more coverage than it is.

No, I'm not claiming a right wing bias in the media. I think salience is a very good term and relevant here. Not only is decriminalization not yet salient to most people, it's probably not yet salient to the media. But I sincerely believe that if it does become salient to the media, it will become salient to the Canadian people. ;)

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That's just the way it is with almost any issue. Strange though, but for whatever reason the MSM is covering issues that play much more to helping the Conservatives in any election in the last decade.

Makes you kinda wonder how much of this is because of Harper's new communications team (since the last shake up)/new messaging and how much is due to the MSM just deciding it is time to introduce a little competition into the system.

No, I'm not claiming a right wing bias in the media.  I think salience is a very good term and relevant here.  Not only is decriminalization not yet salient to most people, it's probably not yet salient to the media.  But I sincerely believe that if it does become salient to the media, it will become salient to the Canadian people.  ;)

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It’s kind of ironic how the anti-decriminalization forces are the ones coming up with half-baked data to support their arguments. And when their arguments are shut down, they never respond because they’re happy to leave well enough alone. They have the status quo on their side.

Argus has said things like:

Which I can say is exactly why pot is banned. Because society doesn't want people smoking pot, because it doesn't approve of pot, and because it feels those who use one mind-altering substance are more likely to try other mind-altering substances which are more dangerous.

Isn’t it potentially more damaging to group a relatively innocuous drug (in that you can’t OD from it) with more dangerous drugs like crystal meth and cocaine under the Criminal Code? By doing so, you strengthen the black market network to the point where it is prominent in every high school (the current black market is practically founded on the criminalization of weed) and create a situation where kids might think “Hey, I’ve had no negative side effects from smoking weed and it’s a lot of fun. This law makes no sense. Maybe meth, which is covered under the same law, is equally innocuous and fun.”

If weed is a gateway drug (though after more than 20 years of daily smoking, I haven’t moved on to anything stronger), it is only one because its criminalization strengthens the black market and promotes disrespect for the law. That’s why I think this is an issue that doesn’t just affect pot-smokers. In fact, if people are truly serious about wanting to protect kids from drug dependence and would like to reduce or eliminate a primary source of revenue for organized crime, they should recognize the “salience” of this issue and call for decriminalization.

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If weed is a gateway drug (though after more than 20 years of daily smoking, I haven’t moved on to anything stronger), it is only one because its criminalization strengthens the black market and promotes disrespect for the law. That’s why I think this is an issue that doesn’t just affect pot-smokers. In fact, if people are truly serious about wanting to protect kids from drug dependence and would like to reduce or eliminate a primary source of revenue for organized crime, they should recognize the “salience” of this issue and call for decriminalization.

The "gateway drug" theory was thoroughly discredited in Conservative Senator Nolin's Special Committee Report on Illegal Drugs. The Senate Committee, after reviewing the evidence, recommended legalization, not mere decriminalization. I wonder how many people who oppose decriminalization/legalization have even read the report or looked at the actual evidence. In the Netherlands, after marijuana became available in cafes, hard drug use declined. Not a big surprise given that entrepreneurial marijuana dealers, but not the cafes, usually have other "products" to sell to the kiddies.

One problem the Dutch cafes are facing right now is that while they can sell the marijuana, it's against the law in the Netherlands to grow it. So the Dutch cafes need to import marijuana in order to sell it. A number of Dutch politicians are complaining about the flow of money out of the country and into the hands of organized crime. The VVD, a fiscally conservative Dutch rightwing party, is demanding that the government permit the legal growing and taxation of marijuana.

It would be interesting to know if the Dutch politicians got the idea from Canada's Fraser Institute which first proposed this:

http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/06/09/canada/pot_fraser040609

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Isn’t it potentially more damaging to group a relatively innocuous drug (in that you can’t OD from it) with more dangerous drugs like crystal meth and cocaine under the Criminal Code? By doing so, you strengthen the black market network to the point where it is prominent in every high school (the current black market is practically founded on the criminalization of weed) and create a situation where kids might think “Hey, I’ve had no negative side effects from smoking weed and it’s a lot of fun. This law makes no sense. Maybe meth, which is covered under the same law, is equally innocuous and fun.”

If weed is a gateway drug (though after more than 20 years of daily smoking, I haven’t moved on to anything stronger), it is only one because its criminalization strengthens the black market and promotes disrespect for the law. That’s why I think this is an issue that doesn’t just affect pot-smokers. In fact, if people are truly serious about wanting to protect kids from drug dependence and would like to reduce or eliminate a primary source of revenue for organized crime, they should recognize the “salience” of this issue and call for decriminalization.

Actually, the law you are referring to is the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), not the Criminal Code, and truth be told, canabis has its own category (Schedule II) separate and apart from all other controlled substances.

Meth is found in Schedule III along with magic mushrooms, LSD and a number of other hallucinogens. Opium, cocaine and other similar-acting drugs are found in Schedule I.

So, if your mythical pot-smoking kids were making their decisions about drug experimentation based on the provisions of the CDSA (as opposed to say peer pressure), then they would not be misled by the criminalization of pot into thinking it was okay to smoke crack.

And, lets actually point fingers where they belong...if you want to "eliminate a primary source of revenue for organized crime" then don't illegally consume pot daily for 20 years. Quite simply, the only way for there to be a "black" market is for there to be a market at all.

I for one happen to think that pot should be decriminalized but until it is, it is an illegal substance and you either 1) follow the law (and lobby for change if you want); 2) break the law and risk a criminal record; 3) choose pot over Canada and move to Amsterdam.

I think the gun registry is total B-S, but I registered my guns and will comply with the bad law until it is repealed. You won't see me cry injustice for a gun owner who has willingly refused to register if he ends up with a criminal record for his actions. I will still think it completely unnecessary, but what I think does not dictate Canadian law.

If we allowed people to pick and choose the laws they follow based on personal belief, we'd have anarchy and chaos. Do I think kids should have permanent criminal records for minor possession? No.

Do I know how they can guarantee not to suffer such a consequence? Yes...don't possess pot unless and until it is decriminalized or legalized. Otherwise, smoke up at your own peril.

FTA

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Do I think kids should have permanent criminal records for minor possession?  No.

Do I know how they can guarantee not to suffer such a consequence?  Yes...don't possess pot unless and until it is decriminalized or legalized.  Otherwise, smoke up at your own peril.

FTA

Well, I'm glad we agree that young people should not have permanent criminal records for simple possession but it remains the case that they do. As you know, even a pardon won't erase that record as far as US authorites are concerned.

Yes, not smoking marijuana is one solution. It's a solution perhaps as effective as not drinking alcohol was during Prohibition. Another solution is to vote for any party other than Harper's party. The NDP, BQ and Liberals support decriminalization whereas Harper has said he won't re-introduce the decriminalization legislation tabled by the Liberals.

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Do I think kids should have permanent criminal records for minor possession?  No.

Do I know how they can guarantee not to suffer such a consequence?  Yes...don't possess pot unless and until it is decriminalized or legalized.  Otherwise, smoke up at your own peril.

FTA

Well, I'm glad we agree that young people should not have permanent criminal records for simple possession but it remains the case that they do. As you know, even a pardon won't erase that record as far as US authorites are concerned.

Yes, not smoking marijuana is one solution. It's a solution perhaps as effective as not drinking alcohol was during Prohibition. Another solution is to vote for any party other than Harper's party. The NDP, BQ and Liberals support decriminalization whereas Harper has said he won't re-introduce the decriminalization legislation tabled by the Liberals.

Thank you for the rational discourse on my last post Norm...it unfortunately is all too often the exception and not the rule on this board.

If the #1 issue for you or any other voter is the decriminalization of marijuana, then absolutely, you should not vote CPC in this election. In reality, I suspect for the majority of Canadians, their votes will be determined by other issues, irrespective of any party's position on marijuana...but that's just my opinion.

And I only pause to reiterate my point...no matter who is elected, unless and until the law is changed, you ought to not possess marijuana...or if you do, don't come crying for sympathy about your criminal record if you get caught...it's a calculated risk that you take.

Thousands of people have picked up criminal records while the Liberals have been tossing around the proposed decriminalization of marijuana...it's not a defence to tell the judge that proposed legislation might be coming into law soon...

For any individual person who wants to keep their record clean, not possessing the illegal substance is a 100% effective solution...same as not possessing alcohol would have been a solution during Prohibition.

FTA

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If the #1 issue for you or any other voter is the decriminalization of marijuana, then absolutely, you should not vote CPC in this election.  In reality, I suspect for the majority of Canadians, their votes will be determined by other issues, irrespective of any party's position on marijuana...but that's just my opinion.

I share your opinion that for a majority of Canadians, other issues will determine how they vote. I view CPC opposition to decriminalization as merely one symptom of a larger syndrome...social conservatism. Social conservatism is not a defining feature of the NDP, BQ, Liberals or Greens, or even the former Progressive Conservatives. But apparently it's a feature of Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper's opposition to including sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation is another symptom. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here and assuming that social conservatism rather than homophobia or religious conservatism motivated him to oppose C-250.

Opposition to social conservatism won't determine who Canadians will vote for but perhaps it will determine who many won't vote for. In my opinion, if CPC wishes to present itself as fiscally but not socially conservative, it will need to select another leader, preferably one who would appeal to former Progressive Conservatives.

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