Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs was right to champion the complete legalization of marijuana in Canada – as a straightforward economic proposition. “Look at the money that governments make off alcohol,” Mr. Hobbs told the CBC. “You know, perhaps instead of organized crime getting the profits [from marijuana], the federal government could generate revenues from it.”
His statement flies in the face of The Safe Streets and Communities Act which is a centrepiece of the Conservative Party’s spring re-election platform, and the Tories – mindful of ingrained voter cynicism about unfulfilled political promises – are giving it pride of place as the first bill introduced in the fall sitting.
With this new Act Prime Minister Stephen Harper has created his own war on drugs, just like President Richard Nixon did when he cited drugs as “public enemy No. 1” and declared war on drugs in 1971, although the statistical evidence doesn’t support the pronouncement.
Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, incidentally, says legalizing drugs would save the United States $44-billion a year in law-enforcement costs and generate another $42-billion in tax revenue – finally, after the longest war in American history, a peace dividend that could buy a lot of help for a lot of troubled people.
When will Harper and his fellow Conservative politicians learn that drugs is a health problem, as witnessed by the Supreme Court of Canada’s 9-0 ruling on Insite which is considered a rebuke of the Harper government’s tough-on-crime agenda.
Mayor Keith Hobbs should have called for the legalization of all drugs, not just marijuana.