Dr. Keith Martin Introduces Bill C-359 to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

“The ‘war on drugs’ has been a complete failure. It has not reduced the crime rate, drug use, nor has it saved money or lives. Decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot and up to two plants will sever the connection between organized crime and casual users of pot. This bill is bad news for criminal gangs, which are the only beneficiaries of the status quo because it would eliminate demand for their product. As a result this bill will significantly undermine the financial underpinnings of organized crime gangs in Canada,” said Dr. Martin.

Under this bill, marijuana possession would still be illegal, but people would receive a fine rather than being passed through the expensive judicial system.

Nationwide studies and House of Commons committees have found that federal drug and crime policies are not working to reduce drug trafficking and harm. Many have overwhelmingly pointed to this course of action. Also, the monies now used to enforce the law for possession of small amounts of pot could be redirected to programs that reduce the incidence of substance abuse.

“In the medical profession our mantra is ‘do no harm’. We are actually doing terrible harm if we continue to address substance abuse uniquely as a criminal issue from the federal level. The blinders have to come off; we have to take a medical perspective if we are going to reduce harm and drug use in Canada.”

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