Sunday, April 25, 2010

Canadian drug legislation on hold?

Walter McKay has been doing a fantastic job of holding the blog together. I'm thankful for that, particularly as I am swamped at the moment. I'm in the middle of a long stretch where I don't have any vacation time for a while.

The Canadian government is going through a cabinet level drug scandal at the moment. It's difficult to know if there is any substance to the allegations, and it's important to note that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That said, the allegations themselves caused enough of a stir that the Prime Minister removed one of his cabinet ministers.

This spring, the government was expected to reintroduce legislation involving mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. I testified against this legislation, Bill C-15, last fall. However, in the current media climate, with allegations of cocaine use featured prominently in many newspapers, it is difficult to see the government increasing the penalties for drug offences.

It's ironic that unsubstantiated allegations may have done what all the scientific evidence in the world could not: derail the "ramping up" of the War on Drugs in Canada.

This is a painful way for a government to learn about drug policy.

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