Even the police are in favour of legalization, risking their reputation and their jobs to do so.
Cops like David Bratzer are a rare breed.
Think of the late Gil Puder. A distinguished Vancouver police officer, Puder called for an end to the war on drugs while he was in active service during the late 1990s and continued to do so despite threats of disciplinary action from his superiors.
Or the recently retired West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed. At one time, while he was still with the Vancouver police, Heed, according to Bratzer, also spoke about the legalization of drugs.
Bratzer has been with the Victoria police for only three years, and already the 31-year-old officer has stepped forward to question the basis of the country’s drug laws.
The resources spent on fighting crime is staggering.
> Share of enforcement-related activities in Canada’s drug strategy: 75 percent
> Share of drug-related criminal charges in Canadian courts in 2002: 23 percent
> Cost associated with drug cases before the courts in 2002: $330 million
> Policing costs for drug enforcement in 2002: $1.43 billion
> Correctional-service costs associated with drugs in 2002: $573 million
> Canadians reporting having used illicit drugs during their life in 1994: 28.5 percent
> Canadians reporting illicit-drug use during their life in 2004: 45 percent
Source: “Canada’s 2003 renewed drug strategy—an evidence-based review”, published in the HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review’s December 2006 edition
Canadians are not alone in this endeavour. A widely read on line US journal has sent a pleas to help end the sham.
It is clear. We have the biggest opportunity in history to truly transform public policy about drugs.
Dramatically different political circumstances -- a new president and increasingly dire domestic and global economic crises -- give us a fresh opportunity to challenge the basic premises of the failed and destructive drug war.
But in order to seize the moment, we need to educate and mobilize the largest audience possible for drug reform in the next few months -- before the drug warriors reassert their influence
What can you do? Find out what is happening in your area about drug reform. Ask your local, provincial and federal politicians what their stance is.
Make some noise!
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