Not surprisingly, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are not very impressed with Stephen Harper’s plans to intensify the war against cannabis and its derivatives. They noted earlier this week that the Prime Minister appears to have his head up George Bush’s butt (they are speaking metaphorically, I assume); their advice is characteristically blunt, “Wise up, you douchebag”.
Politically careful and sensitive they are not; they don’t appear to be trying very hard to win over those Canadians who are unsure of the best approach for the federal government to take on the problem of cannabis. It’s certainly fair, however, to say that Mr. Harper’s approach to cannabis control is very similar to the kind of approach that has been undertaken in the United States during both the Reagan and Bush eras – imprison small scale growers and dealers for mandatory minimum terms, and spend billions of dollars building new prisons to accommodate cannabis criminals.
Has this had any impact on the rate of consumption of cannabis? Not at all. The irony is that in the Netherlands, where the Dutch can buy cannabis at any one of hundreds of coffee shops, there is actually less use of the so called “herb”. Last year 10 per cent of adults in Canada and the U.S. smoked pot; among the Dutch the figure was about 7 per cent.
Cheech and Chong are quite right to call for regulation of cannabis, even if they appear to be far from the most appropriate spokespersons for thoughtful and careful change of the law. When they say that pot is “quasi-legal”, one has to agree that there is some merit to the claim. Most Canadians no longer view adult consumers of cannabis as criminals, and don’t have any desire to put them in jail. Pity that Mr. Harper is so far out of step. As Cheech and Chong might have said, again metaphorically, I suppose, “Don’t Bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to Stephen”.If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed!