Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Up in Smoke

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Up in Smoke

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Up in smoke

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published July 17:

Decriminalizing marijuana is the equivalent of opening the barn door wider after the horses all ran away to let out the last horse that decided to stay behind.

As anyone in law enforcement will admit when they're out of uniform, the Canadian public made its decision about marijuana use decades ago and the law hasn't caught up yet. Many adults simply ignore the law and indulge in a puff or two at their personal discretion. More importantly, these adults and even the ones who don't smoke up from time to time don't see this activity as breaking the law.

When a law has become that irrelevant to the lives of most of the adult population and when it's disregarded with open disdain, it's time to revisit the law.

Residents will have 90 days to support or ignore an Elections B.C. petition starting on Sept. 9 that, if it gets signatures from 10 per cent of the registered voters in each electoral district, would ask the provincial government to consider passing the Sensible Policing Act. The suggested law would instruct police forces to stop enforcing the current laws regarding the simple possession of pot and to make the rules the same as for alcohol - it can't be consumed while driving, being stoned behind the wheel could cost you your licence, and it can't be used by minors or sold to them.

If the petition passes the 10 per cent threshold, the provincial government would also be asked for the federal marijuana law to be repealed or for B.C. to get an exemption, which would then allow the province to tax and regulate its sale, just like it currently does for booze and regular smokes.

If the petition fails, however, it won't be because people don't want pot decriminalized, it will be because most people already think the law is ludicrous and ignore it. In other words, what's the point of decriminalizing behaviour that the majority of Canadian adults already find acceptable? …

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