(Published in 24 Hours Sept. 10, 2013)

Pot legalization won't save money


   By Leo Knight




The inanity of the media continues as reporters hunt to determine which public figures have consumed pot in their lives. Why do they care? It’s certainly none of my business.

Some who have been contacted by local reporters have managed to stay above the fray, such as Vancouver Police Chief Const. Jim Chu. The stupidity of the question was underlined when Chu told one newspaper: “I understand why you ask the question, but there is a bigger issue here that must be decided by our politicians and ultimately by every Canadian voter.”


Chu added that “it must be recognized, however, that under the current legislation the only enforcement option for police, when confronted with simple possession of cannabis, is either turn a blind eye or lay charges.”

He is correct. For the past 30 or so years police have been turning a blind eye, or at worst seizing the marijuana for destruction. Oh sure, some folks do get charged. But typically those are the people who talk police into laying a charge through their attitude, insults, violence or just plain stupidity.

And you can’t fix stupid by changing the law.

While the recent remarks by federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have sparked much of this discussion, the ridiculous talking points by the pro-marijuana crowd seem to dominate the discourse.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told the same newspaper that, “we’ve seen the impacts of marijuana prohibition in terms of how it helps fund gang crime.”

Really? Marijuana is such a small piece of that equation, and as chairman of the Vancouver Police Board Robertson should know that.

Mayor Moonbeam goes on to drag out the old canard about costs. “People look at the billions being spent on law enforcement and bigger prisons and think, ‘Is this the best way we could be spending our tax dollars?’”

Last week, Canadian and American authorities worked together in the seizure of more than 500 kilograms of cocaine in a sea interdiction conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dependable. Authorities intercepted the Elegance, a Canadian-registered sailboat, approximately 500 miles east of Cape Cod. This is an example of where the money is really being spent in the so-called war on drugs.

Police don’t spend much time, energy or money chasing potheads. Yes, they do investigate organized crime and that won’t change. The legalization of pot won’t save the public any measurable money on the enforcement side. It will, however, create a shiny new bureaucracy with lots of public-sector union jobs.

That’s reality.


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