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Current Affairs 2007 - Chronological (88 items)

Jun 13, 2007 Put the Gangs Out of Business: Legalize D Childhood and adolescence should rightfully be a time of love, learning and life. But for thousands of young Canadians, their journey to adulthood is marred forever by street-gang involvement, which almost always means an active role in the massive business of illicit street drugs, too. ...Many allocate blame to street gangsters for this sorry state of affairs -- the idea being that if it weren't for these aggressive and money-hungry "pushers," we wouldn't have such a problem. However, this reasoning is incomplete: It fails to consider the demand generated by millions of Canadians of all ages who, at least once this year, will act on their desire and make a back-alley purchase of an illicit drug...Finally, we need to embark upon drug legalization, which will starve gangs of their principal oxygen supply and serve to upset the attractive risk-reward proposition that every new gangster now faces.

Jun 8, 2007BC: Judge Nixes Cops For Hydro Inspections "We only use police for safety issues," she said. "If they don't like the fact that it's the police that are working with our firefighters, then that's fine; we'll have somebody else. "But at the end of the day we want to make sure our firefighters are protected and are safe and that whole team of B.C. Hydro personnel as well, their safety is first and foremost. That's the reason why we had the police there, and the only reason. The police aren't there to lay charges; the police aren't there to execute warrants. We're there because it's a fire safety issue."

[Talk about mixed is a legal issue when the police alone shut down cannabis cultivation, but it is a fire safety issue when other civil servants are enforcing prohibition]
Jun 7, 2007ON: Man Pleads Guilty to Pot-By-Post Plan A medical marijuana crusader accused of mailing pot to fellow users in the United States and Britain pleaded guilty yesterday to committing mischief by using Canada Post services "without proper authority." Following Marco Renda's plea, federal prosecutor David Doney asked the court to withdraw three counts each of trafficking and exporting a controlled substance and a single count of possession of a controlled substance.

May 30, 2007ON: Proceeds Of Crime Law Upheld Ontario defence lawyers and a Thornhill man suspected of running a marijuana grow operation have lost their battle to strike down a law that gives the province power to seize property obtained through crime. Robin Chatterjee and the Criminal Lawyers' Association argued that the Civil Remedies Act, which took effect in 2002, is really an attempt to punish offenders, not compensate crime victims.

[The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a law allowing the province to seize alleged proceeds of crime from people who have never been convicted or even charged with an offence. ]
May 24, 2007 Supreme Court - Backpacks and Searches If police officers were allowed to drop in on quiet house parties, snoop around backyard patios or search the private vehicles and backpacks of people at random and without cause, an awful lot of upstanding citizens would likely find themselves getting pinched for minor drug crimes. But police generally need a warrant to search our homes and our purses and briefcases and that same protection should extend to the backpacks of students. Kids should have constitutional rights too, whether they are in school or at the shopping mall.

May 23, 2007 Harper To Unveil US-Style 'War On Drugs' OTTAWA - The Harper government's new anti-drug strategy is expected to take a tough approach to illicit drugs: cracking down on grow-ops and pushers, and retreating from "harm reduction" measures such as safe injection sites for addicts.

May 22, 2007 Random Searches Tested In Court Did Police Breach Student's Rights By Visiting School With Drug Sniffer Dog A case that began when officers showed up at a Sarnia high school with "Chief" the drug-sniffing dog is about to test the limits of police powers in Canada. The Crown appeal, to be heard today by the Supreme Court of Canada, will help determine whether police can use sniffer dogs to conduct random searches of schools and other public places, such as parks, sports stadiums, beaches and malls. At issue is whether an unannounced police visit to St. Patrick's high school in November 2002 amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

May 17, 2007 Paralympic Skier Suspended For Marijuana Use Edmonton's Kimberly Joines has no intention of staying on the sidelines after she's done serving a nine-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana use. ...Joines had applied to Health Canada to be allowed to use medicinal marijuana, which she says she used as a painkiller because it had fewer negative effects than prescription medications. At the time she applied to Health Canada she was told that the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports would allow the use of medicinal marijuana, not realizing that the IPC Anti-Doping Code, which uses the same list as the World Anti-Doping Agency ( WADA ) -- has no similar exemptio

May 11, 2007 Court Case Set To Argue Grow-op As A Civil Right Vancouver Island Compassion Society planning constitutional challenge in defence of pot bust To the prosecution, it's a simple case of production for the purposes of trafficking, involving two local men caught red-handed growing a crop of 900 marijuana plants on an acreage in East Sooke. To Vancouver Island Compassion Society founder Philippe Lucas, it's a constitutional challenge of Canada's medical marijuana laws. Lawyers were in court in Victoria this week arguing that the two men arrested in the May, 2004 raid, Mat Beren and Michael Swallow, were operating a marijuana research and cultivation facility on behalf of the society. "We don't deny what we were doing," Lucas said. "Our defence is a constitutional challenge."

Apr 20, 2007 Cannabis Awareness Forum Treating Yourself and the Toronto Compassion Centre Invite you to the Cannabis Awareness Forum

Location: Delta Chelsea Hotel
Mountbatten Salon A
33 Gerrard St. West
Toronto, Ontario
Date: April 20, 2007
Time: 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

This is an open invitation to take part in the Cannabis Awareness Forum. Presentations and open-floor discussions will be taking place.

[ [ Read More ] ]

Apr 16, 2007

Health Canada Marks Up Medical Marijuana 1,500%

[...Records obtained under the Access to Information Act show that Health Canada pays $328.75 for each kilogram of bulk medical marijuana produced by Prairie Plant Systems Inc. The company has a $10.3-million contract with Health Canada, which expires at the end of September, to grow standardized medical marijuana in an abandoned mine shaft in Flin Flon. Health Canada, in turn, sells the marijuana to a small group of authorized users for $150 -- plus GST -- for each 30-gram bag of ground-up flowering tops, with a strength of up to 14 per cent THC, the main active ingredient. That works out to $5,000 for each kilogram, or a markup of more than 1,500 per cent...]

Apr 12, 2007 Review: Why The War On Drugs Isn't Working
Damage Done: the Drug War Odyssey
Times and dates:
Victoria: Saturday April 14th,12-4pm at the Roxy Theatre (2657 Quadra Street)
Vancouver: Sunday April 15th,12-4pm at the VanCity Theatre (1181 Seymour Street)
Damage Done Is The Smartest Documentary Yet On A Divisive Subject, With A Clear Message That Change Is Needed In all the documentaries about the stupidities of the war against drugs, the smartest documentary yet may well be Damage Done: The Drug War Odyssey. What sets Damage Done apart is the way it approaches the issue. Connie Littlefield's documentary, for example, doesn't interview the usual suspects. It doesn't include all those you'd expect to be in favour of drugs such as Marc Emery talking about being targeted by the U.S. federal government for selling marijuana seeds through the mail to U.S. customers, members of the B.C. Compassion Club pointing out the medicinal benefits of cannabis, or protesters snubbing authority by smoking up at the annual Smoke-In.

Apr 12, 2007 Ten Court Rulings That Cemented Rights And Freedoms A jury of the country's foremost constitutional experts is in -- and its verdict for the most influential Charter ruling of the past 25 years is a 1986 case, Regina v. Oakes, which provided a crucial blueprint for all future Charter interpretation.

Mar 31, 2007 Pot Crusader Upset At Crown There was no joy for medicinal marijuana activist Grant Krieger on Friday when the Crown stayed a trafficking charge dating back to 1999, for which the Supreme Court had granted Krieger a new trial. "That's disappointing," Krieger said when advised the stay was officially entered by Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice Neil Wittmann at the behest of the federal Crown. "But that's the way the system works. . . . The only way I can get it fixed is in front of a jury, so the jury can nullify this nonsense. "They ( the Crown ) know that's what I want to do. They don't want the laws changed."

Mar 19, 2007 RCMP Entrapped Accused, Visiting Judge Concludes Crown prosecutors have dropped drug charges against 15 people who were arrested following a two-month undercover RCMP investigation throughout the territory last fall. Crown prosecutor Ludovic Gouallier said this morning visiting Justice Rene Foisy of Alberta sided with the entrapment argument presented in a Faro resident's case in February.

Mar 17, 2007 Number Of Criminal Groups Growing The number of organized crime groups in B.C. grew for the third year in a row in 2006 -- to 124, up from 108 identified the previous year, says a 2006 RCMP report obtained by The Vancouver Sun....The graph in the report looks alarming, starting in 2003 with just 52 groups and rising in each of the last three years. But the report also says better record-keeping and analysis of crime groups accounts for some of the increase...

[Duh... when the government abdicates responsibility to regulate and tax this plant like everything else from liquor to pet food, or allow individuals to grow it like tomatoes and petunias, then the only group left to grow and distribute it is the criminals, so why is this news not surprising or unpredictable? Until citizens demand the government create an alternative to the current system by using the existing wine, tobacco or liquor model or creating a new model, things will get MUCH worse before they get better.]
Mar 17, 2007 No Business Like Marijuana BRITISH Columbia is fast becoming the only province in Canada in which the biggest industry is illegal. In 2005, forestry ( $10 million ) was B.C.'s top economic driver, and construction ( $7.9 billion ) ranked second. But what was this, coming up fast on the inside to move into third place? The marijuana industry. Puff, puff.

With annual sales of $7.5 billion, it was worth more than the combined total of hotels and restaurants ( $3.8 billion ) and mining, oil and gas ( $3.5 billion ). Construction now booms as never before in B.C., but that won't stop the pot trade from steaming into second spot. After that, forestry industry, watch your behind.

"The amount of marijuana produced each year in British Columbia," said a 2005 study by the University College of Fraser Valley, "is estimated to have increased from 19,729 kilos in 1997 to 79,817 in 2003."

Is this a growth industry, or what?

Mar 6, 2007 More Young People Smoke Pot Than Tobacco, Survey Finds Average Age Of First Marijuana Use Is 14.7 Years, Compared To 13.9 Years For Tobacco And 14.1 Years For Alcohol
A Vancouver Coastal Health survey has found that most youth in Vancouver start smoking marijuana before their 15th birthday, not long after their first whiff of tobacco or sip of beer.... The city-wide survey of youth aged 16 to 24 shows cannabis sativa is the illicit drug of first choice for today's young people.... Almost seven out of every 10 of those surveyed ( 68 per cent ) said they had tried marijuana at least once.... That climbs to a whopping 80 per cent for those aged 19 to 24, suggesting that just 20 per cent of the city's younger residents have never experimented with the illegal plant.... Overall, 54 per cent of all those surveyed told researchers they had used marijuana during the past year.

Feb 22, 2007 Canada Must Not Follow The U.S. On Drug Policy The U.S. drug czar, John Walters, is in Ottawa today, trying his best to put a positive spin on one of the greatest disasters in U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Part of his agenda is to persuade Canada to follow in U.S. footsteps, which can only happen if Canadians ignore science, compassion, health and human rights. The United States ranks first in the world in per-capita incarceration, with roughly five per cent of the earth's population but 25 per cent of the total incarcerated population. Russia and China simply can't keep up. Among the 2.2 million people behind bars today in the United States, roughly half a million are locked up for drug-law violations, and hundreds of thousands more for other "drug-related" offences. The U.S. "war on drugs" costs at least $40 billion U.S. a year in direct costs, and tens of billions more in indirect costs. It's all useful information for Canadians to keep in mind when being encouraged to further toughen their drug laws to bring them in line with those of the United States.

Feb 17, 2007 Bill Would Force Landlords To Evict Suspected Criminals A Calgary MLA plans to introduce a private member's bill that, without using the Criminal Code, would force landlords to evict tenants from homes where drug use or prostitution is alleged.

[Why worry about things like due process and rights]

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