Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

M. Cauchon goes to Washington

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By G.D. Maxwell

It’ll be like trying to sell bibles to atheists. Big Macs to vegetarians. Abstinence to swingers.

I don’t know whether Little Marty Cauchon ever sold shoes or door-to-door magazine subscriptions for a living, but if there isn’t some traumatic sales job in his background he’s going to get eaten alive trying to sell decriminalized marijuana to this American Congress.

Marty – Minister of All Things Just and bag-holder for Sgt. Rock’s billion dollar baby, Canada’s gun registration – went south this week to ‘splain to the Americans why limp-wristed Canada was going to make simple possession of pot more or less equivalent to a traffic fine when the prevailing mood south of the border is to lock up potheads and throw away the key. And we’re not even talking a traffic fine like for drunk driving or vehicular homicide. The Liberals want to make possession kinda like speeding or failing to yield or maybe forgetting to renew your drivers license because you were too stoned to remember it was your birthday even though you remember eating leftover cake when you got the munchies the other night during Star Trek.

If there is any justice in the world, he got stripsearched crossing the border.

Decriminalizing pot is a cruel joke. It’s like loosening, but not removing, the screws in somebody’s crutches. It’s popping a child’s balloon, pocketing a dog’s ball, putting itching powder in your brother’s Jockeys when he has to give a big speech at school. Don’t ask about that last one.

On the plus side, it will keep some people out of jail who were stoned enough to get caught with their stash in their pockets and let them live their lives without the stigma of a criminal bust.

On the minus side, it’ll most likely result in more arrests for possession. There are at least three reasons busts will go up. Stoners will be less discrete knowing they’re only going to get fined. Of course, in an almost Darwinian move, they’ll probably have to sell a little pot to come up with the couple of hundred bucks for the fine and get charged with trafficking.

Cops will be less prone to turn a blind eye to simple possession. It’s just a traffic fine they’re laying on someone, not a life-ruining criminal rap.

And let’s not dismiss the cynical belief this is just another of the government’s favourite ploys – a tax on the dumb. Replace jailing someone with fining them, boost the number of busts and presto, a much better bottom line.

Decriminalization will also not move Canadian society away from the pointless, expensive and long-lost war on drugs. It will take neither the profit motive out of pot nor the quasi-organized thugs who attempt to control distribution. It will not bring the production and distribution of pot within the realm of legal – and taxed – commerce. It will offer no new opportunities or modalities for dealing with people who want to stop using drugs.

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