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The Future of Cannabis in British Columbia

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The Future of Cannabis: How Are We to Move Forward?

Cannabis has been taking centre stage in recent weeks. Former attorneys-general and Vancouver mayors in British Columbia have called for regulation and taxation of the industry, in an attempt to stop the violence of the illegal trade. At the same time the Harper government continues to move to passage of legislation that will mandate a six month minimum term of imprisonment for anyone growing six plants or more.

Undeterred, activists and pundits are now squabbling over the future of cannabis. How is it to be regulated? Placed in the pharmacy and made available on prescription? Regulated like fine red wine, with a focus on the quality of the product, the metaphorical grapes, the vineyards, and the country of origin?

This talk all seems a little bizarre, reminding one of Woody Allen’s response to Christopher Walken’s character in Annie Hall: “I have to go now, Duane, because I’m due back on the planet earth”.

We are having a conversation about how we should regulate the consumption of cannabis, at the same time that we have a government that not only seeks to retain criminalization and the possibility of imprisonment for adults who possess the drug, but is also bringing a new strategy to the table: imprisoning thousands of cultivators, irrespective of whether they are violent or have engaged in any form of predatory crime, beyond a relatively basic horticulture.




What we’ve learned from alcohol and tobacco – and we should not forget when it comes to cannabis – is that mind active drugs can be abused, and that advertising and promotion of these products can cause significant harms, whether intended or not. At the same time, however, we can see that the extent of use of a drug is not simply a function of its availability. Tobacco is more available today that it was in the 1960s, but use has dropped significantly. And cannabis use in the Netherlands, where the drug can be purchased at any of more than 600 “coffee shops” is much less substantial than it is in Canada, the U.S. or the United Kingdom. Less than 7 per cent of Dutch adults reported use in the most recent survey year, while in Canada, the UK and the U.S. the comparable figures all sit at 10 per cent or more.

Government policies regarding mind-active drugs should be dictated by the best available science and cast in the framework of public health, not a historically and culturally mediated morality. The line that separates cannabis from tobacco and alcohol today cannot be understood by public health, only by history, culture and politics. Cannabis was the bad drug of Mexican migrants, those who played jazz and the blues (often blacks), and the beat and the hippie generations. In contrast, alcohol and tobacco are the so-called good drugs of established North American corporate interests.

But the response to this reality should not be one of extolling the virtues of cannabis; it remains sound social policy to discourage cannabis use, and to construct responses to its realities that are premised upon the protection of public health. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, however, there is no compelling evidence that criminal prohibition will be helpful in pursuing this objective.


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I miss BC Bud.. It's good stuff.


The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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