There’s a lot of puffing going on about marijuana this week.
The topic’s been raised again after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s admission that he smoked pot – really smoked it – inhaled and everything, albeit three years ago.
Now there’s two piles being formed it seems – the politicians who’ve smoked pot and those who haven’t… or say they haven’t.
And it doesn’t really matter which pile you’re in.
However, marijuana is an illegal substance and those politicians who lined up behind Trudeau and admitted it, have admitted to committing an illegal act.
Still, the more important question is – should it be an illegal act to smoke pot? Does the seriousness of the crime warrant the smoker being burdened with a criminal record?
This country’s chiefs of police – the ones left in charge of handling the grass smokers – are advocating a change to the laws. They want a simpler method of dealing with marijuana possession. They would rather hand out tickets for illegal possession of small amounts (less than 30 grams) of cannabis and say this would be more efficient than laying criminal charges.
For those being handed the ticket, they wouldn’t have to suffer the humiliation of appearing in court, having their names in the local newspaper and being saddled with a criminal record. This criminal record often places barriers on future travel, employment and citizenship.
However, the ticket, much like a ticket for a Highway Traffic Act infringement, would involve paying a fine. If those fines are steep enough, they would act as a deterrent without clogging up the penal system.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, at their recent annual meeting, passed a resolution saying officers need more enforcement options to deal with people caught with pot. They say it would reduce policing and court time.
When confronted with simple possession now, officers have two options – turn a blind eye or lay charges. The police chiefs admit that “quite often” officers are not laying charges because they feel it’s not worth the effort.
There is no need to legalize marijuana as Trudeau is proposing, but giving cops more options to deal with simple possession charges make perfect sense. Perhaps when the smoke clears, everyone will see that.