Late last night and this morning a variety of police departments executed warrants that appear to have been sought by the Toronto Police Services. Marc and Jodie Emery have been arrested, along with several other cannabis activists including Chris and Erin Goodwin, Britney Guerra and perhaps others.
This latest salvo in Canada’s senseless war on cannabis and cannabis consumers is a moral outrage and has no place in a free and democratic society. The Canadian public has supported legalization for many years. Our government has finally gotten around to moving, slowly, toward ending prohibition after at least 45 years of studies, Royal Commissions, government reports and other evidence that legalization is the only rational, compassionate and sensible policy option.
And yet good people continue to be arrested, locked into cages and have their liberty infringed in the pursuit of our immoral and senseless war on this beneficial plant. Make no mistake, this is not about public safety. This is not about protecting the public. There is no harm being done by the production and sale of cannabis, for medical or recreational purposes, in storefront dispensaries. In fact, dispensaries quite clearly reduce harm, reduce street sales, create good jobs, increase economic activity and assist in the transition away from a black market for cannabis. Dispensaries are a public good.
Arresting anyone for a cannabis related offence is unjust, immoral and creates harm. Coordinated country-wide raids attempting, futilely, to enforce an outdated and harmful law degrades public confidence in the administration of justice, wastes valuable taxpayer funds, wastes scarce police, prosecutorial and judicial resources and benefits precisely no one.
Our Prime Minster has promised to legalize cannabis. That promise is now two years old. Yet the arrests continue and the harm continues to be done by this terrible law. This is Canada in 2017, some 45 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father accepted the Le Dain Commission’s findings that prohibition was an abject failure that should be repealed. In that span hundreds of thousands of good Canadians have been harmed by prohibition. Enough is enough.