RE: Privacy Legislation Impedes Pot Battle, Crime Summit - Globe and Mail
While our leaders are making sensational attempts to step up the efforts to combat “grow-ops,” and our news sources are too-often unquestioningly helping to create the desired hysteria, it is sadly ironic that the very policies they are advocating clearly have a direct causal connection to the hazards they are concerned about. Striving to “eradicate grow-ops” through increased enforcement and investigation, higher penalties, and mandatory minimums for cannabis cultivation will only serve to increase the value and potential profit for those willing to break the laws, and will also increase the danger and prevalence of criminal commercial enterprises.
Gardening is by nature a peaceful activity and most cannabis cultivators are kind and otherwise law-abiding people. The "Drug War" has proven, over and over, to be a corrupt and counter-productive failure. It has eroded our rights, wasted uncountable millions of taxpayer dollars, made megalomaniacal millionaires out of ruthless criminals, turned our streets into self-inflicted war-zones, forced drugs into the hands of our children, discredited and disarmed our political and legal systems, and caused countless Canadians to suffer unnecessarily. Can even the imagined harms of cannabis remotely compare?
It's time for Canada to help lead our world out of this sad state. We must learn from the past and the mistakes and achievements of other Nations. It's time for Canada to resume its role as the "True North Strong and Free!"
More information about the Green Tide Summit and Green Truth Shadow Summit: www.greentide.ca
All the best,
Dominic S. Cramer,
Founder and President, Toronto Hemp Company (THC), www.torontohemp.com
Co-founder and Director, Toronto Compassion Centre, www.tccentre.org
Founder and Director, Sacred Seed, www.sacredseed.com
Regional Coordinator, Canadians for Safe Access, www.safeaccess.ca
OACP Propaganda (taken directly from their Green Tide Report), and our logical interpretation:
"The number of indoor marihuana grow operations (grow ops) have increased dramatically over the past three to five years (approximately 250%); In 2002, there were as many as 15,000 active grow ops in Ontario;"
There is no evidence backing up this claim. There is, however, lots of evidence showing that garden RAIDS have increased dramatically, and this fact has been used to suggest that there are more gardens. And of course, even if there are more gardens, so what? Our government is telling sick Canadians to grow their own medicine. Further, if there is any increase in the number of commercial cannabis gardens, this is a direct result of the drug-war-caused value of the herb.
"Grow ops are a serious threat to both the public and to Police Officers (fire, explosions, related violence, health risks ie. chemicals, mould, high concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide)"
This is absolute nonsense. In fact, some of it is even an admitted lie. In fine print in the OACP document they state clearly that there has never been a garden-related "explosion" in Ontario. All of the sensational claims of danger are easily mitigated with a little common sense, and are caused by the prohibition forcing people who want to grow this benign plant to do so in a clandestine manner. If we're worried about fire, we'd be far better off to ban cooking oil, electrical wiring/appliances and fireplaces! There is no risk inherent in cannabis gardening, as there is no risk inherent in growing rose bushes in your backyard or culinary herbs on your windowsill. PROHIBITION is "a serious threat to both the public and Police Officers." It's that simple.
"On December 17, 2003, the OACP released “Green Tide – Indoor Marihuana Cultivation and Its Impact on Ontario”. The report contained the following facts: In 2002, approximately 17% of grow ops were located within 500 meters of a primary/secondary school;"
This is such a blatantly ridiculous fear tactic. Total misinformation. I would bet that approximately 17% of ALL residences are within 500 meters of a primary/secondary school. And what exactly is the point? Is there any danger posed to the attendants at a school caused by a garden a few hundred meters away?
"Children are directly exposed to hazards related to grow ops; For every four grow ops, one child will reside in a grow op dwelling. The number of children residing in grow op dwellings is estimated to be between 995 and 10,000 for the 2000-2003 period. In 2002 alone, approximately 3,700 children may have resided in these dwellings."
There is no harm caused to children by marijuana gardens. In fact, there is usually benefit (financially, family health and otherwise) to children living with parents who choose to grow a few plants. The true harm done to children is perpetuated when the cops bust in and tear apart families for harmless behaviour in their own homes. Prohibition creates a situation where it is easier for kids to get drugs than for adults, and creates an enticing means of making easy money for our youth. Sensational claims such as those regarding children sleeping on "urine-soaked mattresses" are just absurd - you'll find more of that happening in houses without the supplementary income (or savings on medication expenses) associated with a cannabis garden.
"In 2002, Ontario's already strained electricity sector may have lost $85 million to illegal electricity theft associated with commercial grow ops - 85 per cent of the estimated $100 million economic cost to the provincial economy."
Another piece of ridiculous propaganda. A tiny minority of cannabis gardens involves theft of electricity, and this theft is only necessary because our idiotic prohibitory policies force gardeners to have to hide their garden and their electricity consumption.
"Grow ops cost the province of Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars;"
And yet the point of this propaganda is to request that we spend millions more fighting an impossible war. What nonsense. Obviously, "grow ops" generate a lot of money and should be making our province and nation income rather than this ridiculous waste of resources.
"Current lenient sentences do not accurately reflect the severity of the crime; the lucrative business of organized crime can likely easily absorb current penalties and continue to expand the number of grow ops."
Nonsense. The sentences allowed in our Criminal Code for cannabis cultivation are among the most severe we know. Cannabis gardeners can receive far more jail time than many perpetrators of many violent crimes. Judges simply acknowledge that those permitted sentences are usually extremely unrealistic and that the punishment should fit the crime. More severe sentencing would only serve to further drive up the value of this medicinal herb and bring more criminals and more violence into what should simply be farming market. Drug-war sentencing has clearly not been effective.
"Ontario's police leaders will use the Green Tide report as the basis for working with government and Industry groups such as electric utility companies, insurance companies and real estate associations on a provincial strategy for combating commercial marihuana grow operations ;"
And will cause even more suffering, violence and chaos as a result. That's a proven fact.
"Increased resources are required to be allocated to police investigations/organized crime units/MGO Coordination personnel;"
Surprise, surprise. So they'd like us to throw even more of our much-needed resources into a losing battle, when so many other issues are desperately needing attention and our governments at every level are virtually bankrupt. We commend the OACP for at least coming right out with this ridiculously self-serving suggestion. The millions spent fighting gardeners should obviously be put to better use within our police forces. Only then should we even consider increasing funding for policing. Police budgets should be spent on the crimes and activities that Canadians actually want cops to take care of and perform. Repealing the counter-productive prohibition will automatically remove the criminal element, the violence, etc., etc. The OACP does not represent police officers, they are clearly politicians and lobbyists. The majority of police officers will tell you that they don't want to be busting joint-smokers and that they want to enforce reasonable laws so that they can nobly serve the public and receive the respect that they deserve.
"Education and training of Officers and Judicial system personnel;"
Education is obviously important, but that has nothing to do with the Police. DARE and other programs involving police "educating" people about drugs are dismal failures. And we don't need any more bureaucrats and court employees - we already have too many. We desperately need to stop wasting our resources on this issue at the expense of all others. Too many cases are being thrown out of courts, too many real criminals being released or otherwise going unpunished for real crimes while we're clogging the courts with this nonsense.
"The OACP urges the Government of Canada to enact immediate legislative reform to provide for minimum sentences of 2 years as a deterrent for the cultivation of marihuana;
Judicial system must implement tougher sentences – assurance that Judges will impose these stiffer penalties;"
What obviously asinine suggestions, considering all that we know about the ineffectiveness of the deterrent effect of such policies, the fortifying impact they have on the black market, and the horrible prison-state situation enjoyed in the USA. Have our Chiefs and Minister researched this topic at all? None of their claims and suggestions seem to make any sense.
"The OACP Organized Crime Committee is working on public awareness, development of a summit for community stakeholders (Banks, Real Estate Firms, Utility Companies, Insurance Companies, etc.) impacted by grow ops. "
Wouldn't it be nice if they thought more about the people they are mandated to Protect and Serve, rather than the interests of financial conglomerates?!?
Bottom Line: The OACP Reports, Summit, and suggestions are ridiculous. Anybody with any real insight into this issue will tell you categorically that the more we believe these lies and self-serving requests, the more we'll suffer as a society. I'm disgusted that our leaders and representatives can be so blind and ignorant and resort to such blatant dishonesty and fear-mongering.
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