Michaels: Flourishing drug trade evidence ‘war’ hasn’t worked

It may seem a bit over the top, but it’s not often we get to celebrate sensible decisions in the political sphere.

It may only be a symbolic political gesture for the time being, but news the bulk of B.C. mayors and councillors voted to decriminalize marijuana possession and research the regulation and taxation of B.C.’s most inhalable export caused me to do a gesture of my own.

This cubicle was witness to a muted fist-pump.

It may seem a bit over the top, but it’s not often we get to celebrate sensible decisions in the political sphere, and this is a clear sign that there are some sensible politicians in municipal governments across B.C.

Granted, they may not all be in Kelowna, home to a good chunk of the Hells Angels’ drug trade if one’s to believe the Mounties. A fair number of our local politicians voted against the motion, with some going so far as to claim ignorance about the issue in general.

But I digress.

This is not a time to lament inadequacies.

The rest did their homework and realized, among other things, the myth that pot decriminalization will somehow lead to rampant drug use has long since been debunked.

Fact is, pot is easy to come by. Even teens can readily get pot if they want it. Ask any high school kid if you’re unsure, and they’ll likely know an easier route to picking up a dime bag than a six-pack.

The only thing stopping them from doing either, really, is education and/or fear of parental reprisal. So, the laws that exist aren’t stemming the flow of smoke.

That means the only remaining question is whether decriminalization will cure any of the social ills associated with pot production.

Those who have been waging a battle against the war on drugs have said what we have now is a failed policy that has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs.

Doctors, lawyers, police officials and former attorneys general have all boarded the decriminalization train, and even taken it a step further.

Looking toward research and regulation of the demon weed, they’ve drawn parallels to alcohol prohibitionand its history.

There’s all sorts of information about how the drug trade flourishes as long as its production and sale is illegal.

Even the local police force has pointed out that when they intervene, take drug dealers off the streets, a door is opened for a new criminal organization to move in—and in case we’ve forgotten last year’s daylight shooting, gangsters aren’t polite when it comes to working out their issues.

A pithy refrain circulating at the moment sums up that argument like so:  “You don’t see Labatt’s and Coors having gunfights outside of bars they’d like to be sold in.”

It’s a line that resonates.

If the pot trade were regulated, a $7 billion industry would be taken out of the hands of thugs and creeps, aka organized crime, and would be funnelled into government coffers—a far more peaceful group of thugs and creeps.

But will the sensible municipal politicians gain the ear of their federal counterparts?

That’s what really matters, considering the feds have the control. Convincing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to change the law seems unlikely.

But, then again, each government has its day and the men and women we see in the municipal sphere often have a way of rising to higher levels.

So, maybe it’s just a matter of time until I can break out a less muted fist pump and sensible policy is enacted.

Kelowna Capital News