Toronto Ontario, Canada.:
A man was arrested for carrying 3.5 grams of marijuana, and subsequently used a new defense in court.
In court, the man argued that the federal government only made it policy to provide marijuana to those who need it, but never made it an actual law. Because of that, he argued, all possession laws, whether medicinal or not, should be quashed.
The judge.....agreed....And then threw out the charges
Crossposted at A Creative Revolution
This is a big day in Canada. This ruling could be used in a lot of cases, past and present.
In the meanwhile:
"That's probably why the government will likely appeal the decision," he said.
Borenstein has given prosecutors two weeks before he makes his ruling official. Prosecutors told CBC News they want a speedy appeal to overturn the decision.
"For the time being, nothing changes," Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said about how the force deals with marijuana possession. "We have to wait and see what happens with the process through the courts."
Judge rules Canada's pot possession laws unconstitutional
This comes on the heels of some other new information last month...
over half of Canadians (55%) support legalizing marijuana altogether. The same
is not true of other illegal drugs, with roughly nine-in-ten opposing the legalization of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and crystal meth.
This next paragraph is rather thought provoking. As it asks the question of how informed people are, and where they get their information?
Canadians with lower incomes and those with less educational years are more likely to feel that drug abuse is a serious national problem, not a concern localized to specific areas. Those with higher incomes and more education are more likely to oppose the loss of the Liberal programs of pot decriminalization and harm-reduction.
Public sentiment, hasn’t had any effect on the Harper Conservatives currently ensconced with a minority government in Canada, in fact the amount of arrests has gone up. The Harper Government wants to be a part of the US war on drugs/terrer/civil rights. If the Bush republicans tell Harper to jump, he just asks "how high"?
We almost got there once....
A top White House drug policy official is threatening retaliation from the U.S. if Canada relaxes its laws against marijuana possession.
David Murray, right-hand man to U.S. "drug czar" John Walters, says he doesn't want to tread on another country's sovereignty, but warned there would be consequences if Canada proceeds with a plan to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
But as the numbers now show, we are wasting precious resources and time. The Harper conservatives also want to phase out safe injection sites, because they say there is no evidence to show they work, despite the actual evidence......
OTTAWA–The number of people arrested for smoking pot rose dramatically in several Canadian cities last year after the Conservatives took office and killed a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
The spike in arrests for simple possession of cannabis appears in data compiled by The Canadian Press from municipal police forces through interviews and Access to Information Act requests.
National statistics will be released next week, but preliminary figures suggest the number of arrests jumped by more than one-third in several Canadian cities.
Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax reported increases of between 20 and 50 per cent in 2006, while Montreal and Calgary saw their number of arrests dip a few percentage points from the previous year.
Pot busts bounce back
So. We have public opinion saying that over 50% of Canadians want to loosen the pot laws, or decriminalize altogether.
We have a Government who would like noting better than to incarcerate many many people carrying even small amounts of marijuana. The Harper Conservatives are also moving towards privatizing the prison system, so someone will make some money from it. Never worry.
Indeed, the current policies involving all illegal drugs in Canada, cause more harm than good according to The Canadian Foundation for drug policy
And then we have a Judge who dismisses a case, agreeing that the current policies are "unconstitutional".
I would say it’s a great time to act on legalizing it, and concentrating on drugs that are causing actual harm to the general public.
Good luck with that until the grown ups come back into power.
Further reading: Iconic Canadians and Baby Boomers.
Boomers and reefers
Update: I forgot this....heh
And if you have an interest in Canadian and world politics, come visit our spanking new blog, A Creative Revolution
"I think the vision for this blog is sort of a pacifist anarchistic bit of S*it disturbing - with lots of music."-pale