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THE MEDIA DEBATE 2004
THE ISSUE: CANNABIS IN CANADA

COMPLETE TABLE OF CONTENTS
CURRENT CLIMATE



PREFACE

Pot : Legalize Vs Prosecute: With So Many Canadians Smoking And Growing It, Is A Ban Practical? Canadians will today consume roughly 2,100 kilograms of marijuana... By the end of the year, three million of us, according to a recent study by the Senate, will have smoked, eaten or otherwise inhaled almost 770,000 kilograms of the stuff -- impressive numbers considering that marijuana use is a federal crime ... police and industry insiders estimate about 215,000 growers across the country produce more than 2.6 million kilograms of cannabis each year.
 

Everyone is calling for a national debate, the arguments for and against cannabis prohibition are headline fodder almost every day, but how are we to know exactly where the debate is at?  Print media provides an easy record of expressed sentiments as it gets played out in the public eye. The private accounts are more likely to be found on websites, in forum posts, newsgroups and maillists within the cannabis community.

This project began, and was first assembled, as other Year in Reviews on this site, but started to take many different forms as the task of assembling so much material into a coherent picture became overwhelming at times, but eventually a sense of order emerged. So the format is different this year, with the intention of having greater flexibility to reflect a more complete picture, and easier reference. Some headlines have a sentence quoted, and a very few have [a comment in brackets] and more may be added as time permits, but the main goal was the debate itself.

After sifting through 6, 343 Canadian drug policy articles for 2004, it was obvious The Trouble With Interesting Headlines, is they relate far more to selling papers than telling the truth. The repetition of some headlines, topics and other reefer madness over the years is certainly not a figment of anyone's imagination.

http://www.mapinc.org/find  Title search
  • Up In Smoke  Found    200+  
  • Going to Pot   Found    115   
  • Reefer Madness Found    200+
Crystal meth, oxycontin, or 'hillbilly heroin' and ecstasy were also headline grabbers and we are told they are as much a 'menace' to society as grow ops, but all are outside the scope of this review, which explains the absence of articles about them, although the related hemp industry is featured whenever it has managed to make some headway despite oppressive regulation.

I was caught off guard by the abundance of material to review in a very short period, which means equally important voices have not been adequately covered - the public who weigh in through letters to the editors. Editors know the scope of the letter writers efforts make them a force to be reckoned with, so more letters will be added as time permits. All the more prepared for next time, too.

All in all, almost every angle and argument from journalists is presented, all sides weigh in to some extent, and the jury has been back in with a verdict for a long time



2003 SUMMARY

The implications of the Supreme Court decision on December 23, 2003, are still reverberating throughout the land, as the  6-3 ruling quashed a constitutional challenge that has left all cannabis consumers abandoned by the same Charter rights other Canadians have.  Tokin' Justice was obscured by a Marijuana Smokescreen and only proves that the  US Gets Its Way Again along with the christian right vanguard pushing up from the south, Focus Applauds Marijuana Ruling.  Only a whisper in 2004, but will persistently try and permeate more and more in the coming years through Canadian media outlets. Fox News anyone?  Predictably, Drug Offenses Up In 2003

Some Questions For British Columbians  leave other niggling loose ends from 2003, "Six days after the shocking raids on the legislature, citizens still have been told next to nothing about the RCMP actions that have shaken the province's political life to its core.  Here are 27 unanswered questions:
How closely linked is the drug investigation led by federal prosecutor Robert Prior to the investigation led by special prosecutor William Berardino? - What if anything is the link between drugs, organized or commercial crime to staff in the B.C.  legislature? - To the federal Liberal party?"

When the media caught wind that Neighbours Told To Keep Quiet About Grow-Op Raid, speculation continued that the Government Can't Stay Quiet Forever, but by the end of 2004 we are still waiting for answers. Perhaps in 2005? 2006?

 The media's reflective mood on 2003's Rights And Wrongs concludes the Year Ends With Weed, Whacko And Whacked  "However, I will say that millions of marijuana smokers are perplexed by the court's reasoning that imposing criminal punishment is an effective and rational way to protect people from ill-defined and speculative health risks."  and was The End Of The Cool Era .



INTRODUCTION TO 2004

Now on to the harsher new reality that is taking hold, as we watch those freedom loving days slipping away into nostalgic stuff of bygone times as they ratch up the propaganda, rhetoric and fear to scaling new heights, thanks in large part, to the media. 

With the exception of a few holdouts:

Legal Pot Murder on Justice: T.O.'s Top Cop Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino likened decriminalizing marijuana to legalizing murder yesterday as he rejected arguments that legal pot would cut down on organized crime operations now growing it. "I guess we can legalize murder too and then we won't have a murder case." We can't go that way,

most of the 1930's reefer madness that made a natural, non-toxic plant look like it came from the devil himself,  has mercifully been retired by most writers and thinkers.   They know cannabis has too much history which easily destroys the propaganda and myths, so along with the prohibition-related consequences they hype as cannabis crime,  they needed to sell the public some new reefer madness that had no history so they could invent the dangers to suit their ends. This is the predominate news theme of 2004 - the grow op.

 Ingeniously, in this upgraded version, it's,  "THE PLACE where this non-toxic plant is grown that is really bad, and it is grown by really bad guys that the public needs protecting from". Welcome to Reefer Madness 2.0.  The quick movements and very hard work of politicians, police and business buddies, quickly created a perception that grow ops are the biggest threat to public safety, even spawning a new acronym, "marijuana grow operations" (MGO) and of course, the best solution of regulation, is really not the answer.

Other alarming themes that are emerging more and more, are the loss of privacy and the loss of voice.  Some even see nothing wrong with taking our voice away altogether if we disagree with the status quo, as this highlights,

Grow-Op Statement Speaks For Whole City The twist with the public safety committee's plan is that they want the police to read in statements on behalf of the community as a whole.


The headlines and articles speak for themselves, so without further ado...

See also: 2004 General Current Affairs





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Last Modified:Tuesday, 02-Jan-2007 11:34:18 PST
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