Quotes from other organizations gathered by Norml Canada
Abby Deshman Director, Public Safety Program Canadian Civil Liberties Association/ Association canadienne des libertés civiles
Prior to joining the CCLA she worked with numerous local and international non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations High Council for Refugees in Kenya and Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism/Counterterrorism division in New York.
“It has been over 10 years since the Canadian Civil Liberties Association stood before the Supreme Court of Canada to argue that it was unconstitutional to criminalize possession of marijuana for personal use. Simply put, individuals should not be imprisoned for conduct which, the evidence showed, was harmless to the vast majority of users. To this day we continue to fight the consequences of criminalizing marijuana – most recently arguing before the Ontario Court of Appeal that effectively denying ill individuals access to medicine, whether through criminalization or through a program that makes it practically difficult or impossible to access medical marijuana, violates individuals’ Charter rights. And we will continue to seek out effective advocacy opportunities on this issue.”
Kirk Tousaw is the executive director for Beyond Prohibition Foundation and has testified several times before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the House of Commons and also before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
“The Beyond Prohibition Foundation, on the 10 year anniversary of the historic report by the Senate Special Committee on Cannabis, wants to first recognize the Senate for undertaking its works. The Report remains the most comprehensive examination of the issue of cannabis policy ever conducted in Canada. It is an absolute tragedy that now, ten years later, the Government of Canada still refuses to enact sensible cannabis policy reform and, instead, is ramping up the war on drugs approach condemned unanimously by the Senate Committee. It was clear then, and has become even more clear today, that cannabis prohibition is an unmitigated and dangerous failure.”
“Four decades ago, President Richard Nixon’s own Shafer Commission (National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse) concluded that “Marijuana’s relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.” It also concluded that, “In short marijuana is not generally viewed by participants in the criminal justice community as a major contributing influence in the commission of delinquent or criminal acts.” Today, in Canada, we recognize the tenth year anniversary of the Senate Report on Cannabis where it was concluded that, “The continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than the substance itself,” yet cannabis remains illegal in Canada, the US and around the globe. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) agrees with both findings and continues to work toward an end to the most disastrous public policy since slavery. It’s a sad day when our governments refuse to follow their own advice for the good of society and the citizens they are responsible for protecting. If you are in favor of public safety, you cannot be supportive of marijuana prohibition. Like oil and vinegar, the two do not mix.”