|Graphic: Ed Rosenthal|
|Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government arrested 58,000 Canadians for marijuana possession last year.|
Canada’s crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in almost four decades, according to Statistics Canada, but marijuana-related arrests are dramatically increasing.
Stats Canada shows that 58,000 Canadians were arrested for cannabis possession in 2010, a number that is 14 percent higher than the year before, reports Renee Bernard at News 1130.
Pot smokers are being unfairly targeted by the Harper government, according to Jacob Hunter with the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.
|Photo: I Love Weed|
|Jacob Hunter of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, left, is arrested June 10 at a “Free Marc” protest in Ontario.|
”There’s been very little evidence of any increase in use in Canada, but there seems to be a huge amount more attention being paid to just simple marijuana possession,” Hunter said. “Both the arrests for production and possession of cocaine and other drugs have gone down.”
The crackdown on pot use is a huge waste of money, according to Hunter, given that a large number of Canadians support legalization.
“The great irony of all this is that of every poll conducted in the last 10 years, more Canadians support the legalization of marijuana than actually voted for a Conservative candidate in the last election,” Hunter said.
The crackdown on simple marijuana possession is incredibly costly and ultimately futile, Hunter said.
“It’s become clear what this government’s priorities are,” Hunter said. “A crackdown on simple marijuana possession, mandatory minimum sentences for growing even one marijuana plant, and a dismantling of the medical marijuana program.
“This is nothing less than a total war on marijuana,” Hunter said.
“What we are seeing is a coordinated effort led by the Conservative government to crack down on simple marijuana possession as part of a multi-billion dollar increase in the war on drugs,” said Kirk Tousaw, executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, reports Phillip Smith at StoptheDrugWar.org.
“Why? Why did 58,000 Canadians need to be arrested over a plant that more Canadians want legalized than voted for Conservative candidates?” Tousaw asked. “Why is Mr. Harper spending billions to arrest Canadians for simple marijuana possession?”