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Fuck Rich Coleman and his little dog too
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saxifrage00
I just walked the length of Commercial Drive on my sprained ankle because Rich Coleman doesn't like pot.

First, read that link for the background. It will help make sense of the rest. The first indication of something wrong was when the number 20 bus arrived to a crowd of irate transit-users--the bus was very late. The driver explained that the RCMP weren't allowing any buses up the Drive because they were executing a warrant farther up. Me and thirty others began the walk up the Drive.

There was (actually, probably still is) a police cordon from Williams St to Venables on Commercial Drive, extending a block west and two blocks east to Victoria. There was (is) a considerable crowd, news crews, and about thirty police officers all told. Only about a dozen and a half or two dozen officers were staffing the cordon and keeping the crowd at bay, while the rest were doing whatever it is that they came to do, out of sight but not out of hearing. Everybody was taking pictures and video-recording the scene. Apparently, they were arresting somebody connected to Da Kine for selling marijuana.

Now, here's my issue. Quite aside from the fact that the transit upon which I was depending was cancelled, this action has done and is going to do more harm than good. For starters, it has disrupted and alienated a peaceable community, of which I am a part, including a number of unrelated small businesses. That's bad for public weal, no matter the issue at hand. (Yes, it may be justified by the good it does; I'll get to that.) Further, the thirty-odd officers who were keeping me and others from their homes and businesses are not "extra" manpower: there are places going un-patrolled and calls not being investigated because the police department's resources are allocated.

(Mind you, I don't have any problem with the officers serving this warrant. They can only follow orders and do their jobs. The people in a decision-making capacity, however, right on up to Mr. Coleman, are the ones I fault.)

Still, that could all be justified if the greater good is served. I don't think it is being served, though. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not incite violent crimes by its users. Unlike tobacco, it is generally grown without pesticides and poses a lower risk to health.

Even more aside from that, though, the social implications of Prohibition are at work. I passed a guy who was being interviewed by a reporter and cameraman. "These people want this," he said, indicating the irate crowd. "I don't want to smoke it, I don't want my children smoking it. Larry Campbell says that we should have an Amsterdam culture here. But in Amsterdam they have hashish," he says incredulously, "they have prostitution." And when he paused I told him, "And they have less crime." He turned and looked at me, speechless for a moment, and then: "I don't care about that..."

I'm really sure he'd rather his kids be the victims of violent crime than be exposed to a joint. The fact remains that there is a correlation between suppression of a socially-accepted drug and organised crime. Gangs get their money from drug-running, but only because there is a government-created artificial scarcity that drives prices up. Criminals don't bother running liquor, do they? It's not lucrative enough to bother, but it sure was during the Great Depression. Further, the cost in taxpayers money in prosecuting this warrant, let alone the inflammatorily-named War on Drugs, is significant.

And if you really want to talk economics, just think of all the taxes that aren't getting paid to the government that would be if one could buy pot legally.

Rich Coleman and the rest of the BC Liberals don't represent me. Not only was his party not elected by this riding, but it's not even his job (as the article points out) to concern himself with the execution of the law. He's Legislative government, not Executive or Judicial! There's a reason for the division of our government... Besides, the law to which he refers is federal, not provincial, and the jurisdiction to which he refers is municipal, not provincial.

What conservative politicians (and the Provincial Liberals are conservative, unlike the Federals) seem to forget in this country is that they are always elected on the strength of their fiscal policies, not their social policies. Canada is one of the most socially-progressive countries in the world, behind only a few European countries. There are no socially-conservative and fiscally-liberal parties, because they would have died in their cribs.

I dearly hope that Rich Coleman and Gordon "I Abuse Legal Drugs And Put The Public At Risk" Campbell are thrown out of Victoria come next election. Dammit, I want a referendum for a no-confidence vote.

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I have a hard time being upset about police following up on crime.

Did they do it in a bad way? Sounds that way. However, given the area you are talking about, I can't see two police serving a warrant against Da Kine and it going well. Crowds are going to get out of control, the health and safety of those officers is going to be in question.

Organized Crime & pot ... sure, criminal organizations profit from the repression of pot. However, they are not going to suffer that much if it goes legal. There are plenty of other drugs ... other scams ... other crimes to run. We, as a society, are not going to be safer.

I was listening to a set of researchers on CBC radio today, talking about safety in Canadian society. The one researcher pointed out that studies show that Canadians feel less safe now than they do 10 years ago. This crosses, she says, with the stats that show that Canadians are less likely to be a victim of a violent crime now than they were 10 years ago.

... now that all said, I support legalization of marijuana. I also support legalization of prostitution.

Sorry to hear you had to hobble along the street. Though I disagree with your views, I would have piggybacked you up the street had I been there.

They did do it in the only way possible. I suppose I should be clearer that my disagreement is with the order-givers' choice to give these particular orders. The problem, today, is the implications of criminalisation rather than the transgression of those laws.

... However, you make a really interesting point, that organised crime will keep on keeping on without illegal pot. I'll have to think on that. An initial thought, though, is that those who see pot as illegitimately illegal (now there's a linguistic construction) and seek it out are going to be exposed to criminal elements to do so; society should not make exercising a (societally) harmless personal liberty riskier than it is inherently. Still, there is more to think about in that...

Thanks for the ride offer. :)
I took advantage of the hobbling to practice being an grumpy old man. With the amount of damage done to that poor foot over time, it's sure to be able to tell me the weather when I'm apropriately crotchety.

There are plenty of other drugs ... other scams ... other crimes to run. We, as a society, are not going to be safer.

I don't know about that. "Sin" may be a constant of human nature, but organized crime is a business. We can assume they're into drugs because it's the most profitable activity, and accrues them the most power. Therefore other crimes are less profitable, and make the gangs less powerful.

I can't find good statistics (other than interested sources) but it seems Holland's crime and murder rates are extremely low. This passes my common sense filter.

I was listening to a set of researchers on CBC radio today, talking about safety in Canadian society. The one researcher pointed out that studies show that Canadians feel less safe now than they do 10 years ago. This crosses, she says, with the stats that show that Canadians are less likely to be a victim of a violent crime now than they were 10 years ago.

Yup. Media-created situation: availability heuristic. Sux0r5.

Don't have your email. Is this what you were looking for?

http://www.svgames.com/tsr9358esd.html

Yeah baby!

Now, if only I can find a dead tree copy. You can't beat the price on that download-only site, but the Catalogue really isn't done justice except in catalogue form.

I got one. I'll find out tomorrow if it's still available. Don't think I can match that price. You could download and print your own of course. Maybe find a way to print it up at SFU?

Printing it out still doesn't hold a candle to the original without going to the trouble of binding it and using proper newsprint-quality paper.

Which, of course, would be much too much bother and expense if you have one that's available and for sale!

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