In the United States during the years 1920 through to 1933 there was a constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages – both soft and hard drinks were included in that ban. During said time, enforcement of that ban created one of the greatest black markets in all of history.
The same mindset was used to criminalize illicit drugs of any type, both soft and hard. It has been that way for many decades if not centuries.
Millions if not billions were spent on enforcing those laws regarding the use of “street drugs,” which the governing bodies felt it was their responsibility. As well this created a huge black market which has a growing revenue that rivals Canada’s GDP.
Today, we face the imminent reality of the legalization of the softer of these drugs.
“We do it because we want to keep it out of the hands of the most vulnerable members of our society; our children”. This amongst other weak arguments came out of our leaders own mouth. What a great deal of balderdash!
This is the same body that felt it needed to control the sale of alcohol, and it probably used the same feeble arguments. It did not keep it out of the hands of kids, (I know, I was one once) nor did it stop the black market or illegal production, but it sure made a lot in taxes.
One of the federal declarations was that every person would have the right to grow up to four pot plants at home.
Can you imagine the number of inspectors you would need to enforce that?
Not going to happen folks!
Realizing if every person in Canada grew four plants, the politicians would eventually lose a tremendous source of revenue, so that’s not going to happen either.
What I observe out of this dilemma is the control the leaders thought they had, has turned into a puff of smoke, (no pun intended).
What started out as a noble fight has turned into a cash cow, which is being fought over by three levels of leaders like a bunch of greedy siblings over a large will. The ones to lose the most will be the municipalities where the front lines are.
If even 50 per cent of the revenues went back into the communities that have to deal with the problems, I believe the situation might have a greater degree of success, but only if the local leaders are sincerely committed to helping their citizens rather than sweeping them under the carpet.
I may be critical of the way things are happening, but the reality is trying to enforce control over an uncontrollable situation is a total illusion, so it would be foolish to spend the revenues that way.
Rather, spend your monies on education, and picking up the pieces while finding inventive ways to reduce the use of drugs in the first place; even if it does result in a revenue loss.
Control for the most part has been turned 180 degrees into a huge source of income. Gone are the days when control was for the growth and safety of a community. All the ideals that most of us grew up with have been tossed out the window as archaic and too restricting.
What we ignore is the fact all these rules and regulations were designed to produce a society, that those using these restraints were a decently functioning group of citizens, able to interact without too much conflict.
Before we go any further in legalizing all drugs, (revenue aside), we really need to look at the reasons behind the rampant and uncontrolled proliferation of drug use. Maybe then we can understand how the current and proposed use of control is nothing but an illusion.
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.