Open Letter to Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott
21 April 2016
Dear Minister Philpott:
Congratulations on your speech to the United Nations of April 20, 2016.
As Canada’s oldest drug policy reform organization, we commend you — and the government of Canada — for promising to end a tragic policy error; prohibition of cannabis.
NORML Canada has been trying to reverse cannabis prohibition since the mid-1970s after Justice Le Dain argued that a criminal record for cannabis use and possession was bound to cause more problems than it could solve.
Since then, NORML Canada has been front and centre advocating for cannabis laws that were evidence-based, informed by science, humane and effective. It has been a long time coming.
Cannabis was added to the Schedule of Prohibited Substances on April 23, 1923 for reasons no one — to this day — understands. Since then thousands of otherwise peaceful and law abiding Canadians have been burdened with a life-impairing criminal record for the non-violent consumption of an ancient and venerable natural product.
Today — in light of your speech to the United Nations — NORML Canada declares victory in our long struggle to correct this historic injustice and calls upon your government to immediately declare a moratorium on cannabis arrests and prosecutions where these do not involve other criminal code offences.
You’ve done the right thing, Minister, now you must end cannabis prosecutions.
It’s a moral imperative.
Craig Jones, PhD
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada