Canada: The Eve of the Vote to Legalize Marijuana – November 21 2017

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Statement on the UN Drug Conventions for your review prior to voting on Bill C.45.

Queen of Sweden: Sweden is in compliance with the UN drug prevention conventions, spends heavily on prevention, and is afforded the lowest rate of use of marijuana in the world. Low rates of use in Sweden was not always the case. Their achievement in reducing marijuana use must be credited to their committment to prohibition and their rejection of failed experiments with the lessening of restrictions on access. Here is 12 minute presentation presented by the Queen of Sweden.

Queen of Sweden

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences

I would also like to call your attention to the outcome paper  from the The Pontifical Academy of Sciences Casina Pio IV – Vatican City – 23-24 November 2016 – a meeting of international experts on drug prevention and drug policy.  ( open access document shared with permission)

“We recommend the following actions to be taken: Support the three UN treaties governing licit and illicit drugs, which are signed by virtually every nation. These treaties permit medical use of drugs, with tight regulations to prevent diversion for non-medical use and which criminalize the nonmedical sale and use of these same chemicals.

Governments have a moral and ethical responsibility to secure and defend the common good of their citizens. As trafficking of drugs imperils the health, security and the rule of law in nations, any compromise can be viewed as complicity. y Governments must unequivocally pursue drug trafficking at every level. They have a responsibility to denounce and criminalize corrupt banks, bankers and money launderers that profit from the drug trade and thwart large-scale and local drug trafficking.

Governments must not engage in any public, private or covert agreements to gain financial support for political or personal reasons from drug traffickers or industries. Such agreements subvert the common good, trust, health and safety of their people, especially, their youth. y Instead, governments have a public health, legal and moral responsibility to confiscate the gains of these traffickers/industries and to use these proceeds to fund assistance programs for the victims, which include providing treatment, prevention and medical services, family support, as well as educational and employment opportunities.

Governments should not use any ill-begotten gains from drug trafficking or sales to generate political messages, regulations or laws that foster use of abusable drugs and subvert public health and safety laws and regulations.

Reject drug legalization for recreational purposes as a hopeless, mindless strategy that would consign more people, especially the disadvantaged, youth, the poor and the mentally ill, to misery or even death while compromising civil society, social stability, equality, and the law.

Create a balanced drug strategy, coordinating public health and criminal justice systems to curtail supply, discourage drug use and promote recovery — as a more effective method to treat addiction than incarceration. The primary goal of addiction treatment is long-term care and recovery.

The foundations of this balanced strategy are fundamental human rights, that include drug prevention and recovery among the world’s diverse faith communities, with a special focus on the goal of protecting youth from drug sales and drug use, in accordance with Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The prevention of addiction among youth (less than age 21) is a high priority, and achievable by rejecting the use of marijuana and other rewarding substances.

The underlying reasons for this priority need to be conveyed to youth and their parents in collaboration with health, educational and local communities.

Educate the public with up-to-date scientific information on how drugs affect the brain, body and behavior, to clarify why legalization of marijuana and other drugs for recreational use is poor public policy, poor public health policy and poor legal policy.

Harness religion to support substance abuse prevention and treatment. Drug use can devastate the soul and a loving relationship with God. Drug use in our communities tests our faith. The faithful have a precious opportunity to engage in preventing this tragic form of modern chemical slavery. For those now enslaved, they can confront the challenge of addiction and achieve their emancipation.  References

UK Government’s Responce to Petition to Legalize

The UK also experimented with a lessening of drug policies only to revert, much the way Sweden did, and they enjoy a declining rate of use of marijuana.

“Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health. There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.” – UK Government

The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue (‘Cannabis Classification and Public Health’, 2008).

Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. Legalisation of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families.

Legalisation would also send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs.

Despite the potential opportunity offered by legalisation to raise revenue through taxation, there would be costs in relation to administrative, compliance and law enforcement activities, as well as the wider costs of drug prevention and health services.

The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities; help dependent individuals through treatment and wider recovery support; while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply and tackling the organised crime that is associated with the drugs trade. The Government will build on the Drugs Strategy by continuing to take a balanced and coherent approach to address the evolving challenges posed.

There are positive signs that the Government’s approach is working: there has been a long term downward trend in drug use over the last decade, and more people are recovering from their dependency now than in 2009/10. The number of adults aged 16-59 using cannabis in the last year in England and Wales has declined over the last decade from 9.6% to 6.7%, with cannabis use amongst young adults aged 16-24 and young people aged 11-15 following a similar pattern.

Home Office January 21 2016.

Conclusions: November 20-27 2017 is the week when Canada acknowledges and focuses on  The Rights of the Child Treaty.  Passing Bill C45 will violate our obligation under this treaty ( the most ratified piece of human rights legislation on the planet). Bill C45 should not be voted on or passed in the House of Commons until a full child’s right assessment is done, including how adult use impacts children. In all legislation children’s rights must come ahead of the adult users of marijuana. All legislation must be assessed for violations of human rights.

Signing this bill is a breach of the human rights of Canadian children as it places marijuana in their homes, second hand smokein their environments, and marijuana into their school life by allowing 12 – 18 year olds to possess, and distribute ( at various levels).

It also puts offspring at risk of mental and physical damage from parental use pre-conception and during pregnancy. This reckless experiment will be challenged under the court of public opinion, by the international community, and it will see challenges under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as children and all citizens must be afforded security – something both Bill C45 and Bill C46 fail to do

To all MPs who stayed to the prescribed script and four word talking points I offer this rebuttal: Our current system of controlling drugs is not working because we have a aggressive and well-financed pot lobby including international operatives in our country an ambitious and aggressive marijuana industry, a very low perception of risk across the general population, defacto legalization, an ill-informed or complacent media, and national access to marijuana for medical purposes that has confused the issue of marijuana and the potential of harm for many.

We have also witnessed for close to a decade law enforcement officers not willing or told not to prioritize marijuana infractions, something that has intensified in recent years. The issue of marijuana use has also been politicized to the point those who should speak have been “spooked” by politics and have stayed silence – this extends to many in the world of academia, science and the public sector.

Marijuana pot stores in Vancouver are selling marijuana advent calendars and major media outfit publicizes the story without questioning the health implications of promoting daily use of marijuana, an outfit in Alberta is shipping shatter laced ice-cream and have no problem discussing their activities openly on the CBC, billboards are on display across the country leading consumers to marijuana illegal outfits selling “suicide girl” and “poison” and those elected to protect the public have done next to nothing to curtail this. We do not have high rates of use because prohibition does not work – we have high rates of use because the adults appear to have left the room.

Fact: The historical record shows prohibition does work when complimented with massive education and prevention along with recovery resources.

I close with a reference to tobacco prevention – and the fact that we have achieved some success in reducing tobacco youth use by a campaign of denormalization and calling out the predatory nature of the tobacco industry. Tobacco smokers are now a marginalized group not by government efforts but because the public at large rejects smoking, rejects having to pay the costs of healthcare.

No responsible government would take such a gamble with the health of Canadians. The world has standards of what works and Canada is about to fail spectacularly.

Pamela McColl

SAM Canada – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada –


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