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Canadians: read this

Joe Fiorito has an excellent column in The Star, discussing Canada’s plans to add mandatory minimums to a bunch of drug offenses, and a speech by Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy.

The column is like a basic primer: Why tough drug laws won’t work

Here’s the problem, according to Oscapella and almost everyone else who looks at drugs with a clear eye: The first result of the prohibition of any substance – alcohol, tobacco, cocaine – is the creation of a lucrative black market. […]

Drugs are less about getting high, and more about making huge pots of money. As for risk, it is possible to fit enough heroin to supply this country for a year in the back of a cube van; a year’s supply of cocaine will fit in a shipping container. How many shipping containers and cube vans come into Canada in any given year? What’s the cost of a timely bribe?

In other words, criminal law has created a lucrative black market, and criminal law is powerless to stop it. […]

Oscapella said, “If you’re a mom-and-pop producer of marijuana, mandatory minimums will scare you out of business.” Yeah, so? “Organized crime will step in; the government has moved the competition out of the way.”

This is an unintended consequence of the worst kind: Banning a substance makes it wildly lucrative; punishing the small fry makes it easier for the bad guys to do business.

Mandatory reading for all Canadian politicians.

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6 comments to Canadians: read this