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Enforcement increases violence

This is important.

In Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, one of the most pressing priorities for police is combatting an illegal drug trade that has spawned a rash of gangland violence in recent years.

A provocative new report from a B.C. HIV-research agency, however, suggests that throwing more police resources at the problem will only make the bloodshed worse, not bring peace to the streets.

The majority of studies conducted on the issue over the last 20 years in the United States and elsewhere indicate that gang violence increases as law-enforcement activity against the drug trade steps up, says the report from the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

The authors suggest that the Conservative government’s emphasis on law-enforcement to confront drug addiction, and a proposed new bill that would send more drug offenders to prison, are destined to backfire. […]

Alternative measures are needed to lessen narcotics-linked murder and mayhem, says the report, to be released today. For Dr. Wood, that means changing the status of illicit drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin, making them lawfully available to adults but under strictly regulated access to minimize their use. That way, he said, there is less incentive for criminal gangs to get involved in the trade, the way organized crime took over alcohol sales when liquor was banned during the Prohibition.

There are, of course, some who dispute this report. Do they have studies that show something different? No, they have… well, nothing, actually. They’re just sure it’s wrong. And they all work in law enforcement or pro-prohibition groups. Fancy that.

Some great stuff in this article:

“In the current situation of prohibition, which enriches organized crime, we are powerless to reduce the availability of drugs and meaningfully reduce violence,” said Dr. Wood.

Stephen Easton, an economics professor at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University who has called for legalization of marijuana, said the report’s findings should be heeded closely.

“I think this would certainly contribute to the debate in no uncertain terms,” he said. “I think it needs to be talked about … It’s not a question of whether you will have illegal drugs, it’s a question of who will make money off it.”

Easton’s right on the money.

Oh, and one more word: Mexico.

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14 comments to Enforcement increases violence

  • Just me

    β€œIn the current situation of prohibition, which enriches organized crime, we are powerless to reduce the availability of drugs and meaningfully reduce violence,” said Dr. Wood.

    What does he mean we are powerless. We here in the US have a solution we are well on our way to emplimenting…arrest everyone! Gezz … the gall of these reform people! πŸ™‚

  • denmark

    The typical response: Larry Molyneaux, a veteran Toronto police officer and president of the Ontario Police Association, said his experience suggests police enforcement is effective against the drug trade.

    Hemet, California arrested 30 motorcycle gang members for meth. The cops found a pipe bomb under a black unmarked, someone rerouted a gas line to go inside the station and there was one other incident I can’t recall. It won’t stop there but it’ll most likely get swept under the rug as so many stories do these days.

  • strayan

    The army has accidentally murdered some students in Mexico:

    Link

  • aussidawg

    An excellent article by Mike Whitney on the driving force and true reasons for the “War on Drugs”: Obama’s Bloody War in Juarez”.

    This article spells out what is really behind the drug war. Of course, this is nothing new to any of the Drug War Rant commentators, but this article is invaluable to convince those who support drug prohibition to consider otherwise.

  • ezrydn

    @Just Me

    You oughta know by now that when a Prohib uses the venacular “we,” they mean themselves, no one else. So, he was right. “They” have no other option for it’s not within their belief system.

    @strayan

    Re-read your story. Nowhere does it mention “murder.” “Accidently killed” does not equate to “murder,” which can’t be, by definition, “accidental.” Murder carries the element of “intent.”

  • permanentilt

    They haven’t yet figured out in Canada that violence and death in the War on Drugs is a sign of success!

    Silly reformers DRUGS are for THUGS! You can’t win a war with “logic” and “practical solutions”!

  • Just me

    Sarcasm is great.Gets me through a day of reading idiot prohib spew.

  • permanentilt

    Some toxic comments to this story by the way. I thought they were progressive in Canada, looks more like they are doomed to repeat the US’s failures….

  • Tim

    The National Post is pretty much the national right-wing paper (the Globe being the centre and the Star being lefty.) Not unexpected.

  • Tim

    Oh yeah:

    Police action against drug gangs may provoke some violence, but it is only a temporary phenomenon, argued Jeannette Hay, a Toronto drug consultant and spokeswoman for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada.

    This is the Canadian bargain-basement version of DFAF. Calvina Fay is even on their board. They are currently being sued, along with the RCMP, for defamation

  • Ztam

    “Progressive”. Hahahahaha

  • claygooding

    How long has it been since any American law enforcement has moved against the gang drug dealers with anything more than token arrests,usually caused by the accidental stopping of a gang member on possession charges and not a round up of gang members.
    The reason is that busting people growing marijuana is a lot safer than busting gangs that are dealing heroin,cocaine,crack and meth because those guys fight back and they are all armed. Why take the chance of removing a violent element from our society when you can raid peaceful potheads,shoot their dogs and ruin their lives without much danger of getting your ass blown off.

  • Just me

    The war on drugs….hummm. Usually the first casuality in a war is truth….naaa couldnt be !! They tell the truth about the war on drugs and cannabis….naaa couldnt be!

  • @ Tim… really? (on the Nat’l Post) I’ve had at least one letter published by the Post and had an amicable email exchange with the editor. Support is sometimes covert and the onus is on us to produce…

    For instance… MAP’s DrugNews archive shows over 1500 articles (news, opeds, editorial, LTEs) on drug policy. That’s a fair engagement in drug policy conversation, no? And a more detailed look shows a fair mix in the Opeds while Letters-to-the-editor are overwhelmingly ours.

    Not arguing… just sayin’… I’m a big believer in Jello Biafra’s “don’t hate the media, become the media.” It’s not what others do but what what we do.

    And along the line of more cliches, the old “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the proble” comes to mind too.

    The strides made in getting our argument into the mainstream has been carried forward by a really small group doing intensive work, another group that supports the first group wishing they could do more, and then there’s those that partake of the goods but don’t give a rip about the politics… they’re the albatross around our neck. There are 2 Pete’s couches. This one and the slacker one.

    I’d have walked away from drug policy reform years ago if it weren’t for those I’ve worked with behind the scenes at MAP and elsewhere who have been there and are still there. And there are lots more, but not enough lots more. We need to pile on like we never have before.

    I still say we need a giant pro-pot, weekend long festival/concert with the big name cannabands and musicians. Willie comes first to mind of course… a big bird flippin’ pot smokin’ weekend. Civil disobedience at its best and most happy.

    … sigh…

    I mean really, isn’t the dream a big standoff of a million folks smoking herb at the Capitol Mall in DC? or… we can keep beating ’em over the head with facts and science…

    Oops, didn’t mean to ramble on…