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Canadian politicians are taking their country back to the dark ages. I urge Canadians to listen to Global Drugs Commission. Canada should follow Portugal's example (, let's help the young rather than locking them up.
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i have a idea lets go back on disney channel on new jonas l, a,
I agree totally but the trouble is that Canadians seem to have a very short memory (or don't care) and voted in Harper with a majority.... I still cannot understand why... and now he will do whatever he wants to do. He is showing his true Bully Colours with this piece of crap legislation that will lead to more people in jail, more $$ spent on building and staffing jails all while we are looking at a weak economy. What is next for Mr Bully... abortion, gay rights... take your pick!!!
Mr. Harper, I have no intention of paying for this past the next election
I'm one of thousands of centrist voters who voted for this government, thinking that it was moderate centre-right. Now that they have an unassailable majority, they're demonstrating that they're anything but moderate. I won't be voting for them again.
Possession of as few as six marijuana plants can confer a six-month stay in jail. We're asked to assume the small fry needn't worry, as police and prosecutors will apply common sense.
The Conservatives won a majority last May, rather than another minority, because thousands of centrist voters decided that Stephen Harper wasn't as scary as previously billed. Do they really want to tip that apple cart? Toews should give his head a shake. If he can't or won't, the prime minister should.
Totally agreed, Sir Richard, e.g. on the issue of prostitution Germany has the position that it is a profession and therefore has rights and obligations, such as paying taxes and social insurance, and enjoying healthcare and social insurance to receive a pension. In that the women in that profession enjoy protection under the law! All this in contrast to some backwards countries who view it a a crime...
I would not doubt it at all especially as Harper comes from the reformers and they were sending their troops down to the US many years ago to learn how to play dirty with the big boys!!
de quoi je me mèle Branson ??????
reste dont dans ton patlin et fou nous la paix
It is sad and true. The Conservative Government clings to it's misguided beliefs in the face of all evidence. On this and many other issues. They have their dogma and they are sticking to it.
well said Jim Douglas - I wish there were more like you!!
If you follow the money, it is actually about corruption and greed from a for-profit prison system.
Politicians taking their countries back to the dark ages seems to be an upper North American trend.
Political parties need money for campaigns.
Companies give them money for campaigns.
Political parties need to serve the companies because they need money.
So the companies own the government. Simple as that.
Wasn't this up for vote yesterday in the senate? Did that happen- is it too late?
What I don't understand is how Conservatives try to introduce more legislation, when they should be shrinking government instead. I thought being Conservative meant that you looked to have a capitalist system. In a true capitalist system, you don't outlaw marijuana, because someone can turn a profit on it, and if it's honestly harmful, it'll weed itself out.
Chad you hit the nail on the head - will we ever see the day when a politician will do the right thing inspire of some disapprovals .. I doubt it they just want to get re-elected and be in parliament just long enough to get their index linked cash cow of a pension!!
What to you expect from Harper. He really wanted to be president but was born on the wrong side of the line.
Too many people here in Canada still fell for his "I'm religious, I kept us outta the recession (That was mostly laws that have been getting put in place since the Great Depression.), and look, I have a cat".

With Harper, his majority, and his friend filled senate, what do you expect? The Harper government wants to outlaw the choice and use of using natural products for medical treatment. They almost passed a law that would have made it so you need a prescription to get vitamins.
Wow! What a great idea..... even more pot heads driving our roads, making decisions which affect MY taxes, MY kids' education and other important issues. Talk to some other police officers who deal with the lower end of this issue. Look at Portugal's judicial system, economy, social welfare and life expectancy... You must be brighter than this Mr. B ..... or is there something more in it for you?
+Brian Greene You might consider rewording that to focus on policies, not individual posters.
+Jaki Riley, please, don't act on prejudice. What is being proposed is not irresponsible use of Cannabis, but a legislation that prevents it from being sold to kids and allows it to be used by adults who want it, much like what is already done with alcohol and Tobacco. You cannot smoke and drive, or work and drive... if you do you lose your license, your job. Regarding Portugal, please, I urge you to read the data, substance use is not a legal issue, but a health one. If after taking all into consideration you still feel the same, I bet you will be a strong advocate of banning Alcohol, tobacco and even sugar (the cuprit of diabetes, obesity and other problems that come with it's abuse).

Best of luck!

+Brian Greene Wouldn't surprise me to find out +Jaki Riley works for Harper and is posting there stance on it. Just like they did on political forums before the last election. It's come out (I'll find the story) that the Harper gov paid to flood the forums with negative comments about his opponents.
+Richard Branson, on a side note, where is the PlusPage for the Commission? My Ex-President, Ferando Cardoso is also part of this great initiative.
This thread is full of epic win.
+Jaki Riley Is a prime example of someone brainwashed into believing the lies the government feeds us as children. Just head down to any police museum. They'll educate you all about the "dangers" of drugs and how they'll kill you, but they'll never breathe a word about how alcohol causes more damage to its users and society than heroin or cocaine.
+Brian Greene You don't influence anyone's opinion by insulting them. Read +Jaki Riley's comments -- I disagree with her, but she restricted herself to expressing opinions about a political policy; she didn't comment on any of the posters here. My considered opinion is that prohibition works as well with drugs as it did with alcohol; it's misguided and counterproductive. I have no interest in drugs myself (like most of us, I tried pot as a teenager; I didn't particularly like it). But I have a lot of friends who use marijuana in the same way that most of us use alcohol. As with alcohol, drug abuse shouldn't be a criminal matter unless it leads to harm to someone else, like a car accident.
Canada, Please don't end up like American. We are a mess, with totally right wing absurdities trying to run us.
Locking people up helps employment others. Considering the educational background of those new employees, that effect is not always a good thing. It creates a politically willing group of citizens who are devoted to keeping this dumbed down system going. Not Best Practice!
I am of the firm belief that Canada, if we can keep the internet low-cost and free of restrictions, can become an information superpower. It's how we'll become rich, both monetarily and culturally.
Agree you have a million homeless kids in the US, and tent cities. I'm UK and we give all our money to to our masters the common market
Just given 25 million to ARGENTINA what a joke and they want the Falklands crazy world. Shallom.
+Brian Greene In fairness, I've known a few "potheads", just like I've known a few "drunks". A response to her comment might be that yes, there are people who abuse pretty much anything, but we don't outlaw everything that can potentially be abused. The majority of people who use alcohol don't abuse it, and the same is true of marijuana. But when any political discussion reaches the personal insult stage, there's no possibility of anyone learning anything; everyone's position just becomes more firmly entrenched.
If it can be considered a reasonable solution to outlaw anything that can be abused, we will have to build quite a few more jails for all the abused children, domestic partners, and elderly.
I've seen what a life time of pot smoking does to a person. Believe it or not it is just as harmful as any of the other "hard" drugs. It does affect the brain, causing all kinds of mental disorders. I have two brother-in-laws that are prime examples. One is going to lose his business because his brain is just to mushy now to think properly and the other can't even make friends anymore. Neither of them can go more than a couple hours with their toke, and neither can keep their mind focused long enough to even have a decent conversation. Both families are on the verge of being torn apart. All because of your "harmless" canibus. These two cases are not unique, I have been around this stuff most of my life. Those of you who think it's harmless are either dealers , users, or you've fallen for a bunch of propaganda put out by the very people who would profit from it's easy access. Remember, people used to think cigarettes were harmless too.
+Brian Greene My point is that policy discussions shouldn't ever be about personalities, they should be about facts. If I disagree with someone in a political discussion, I at least try to start with "here's what I hear you saying, and here's why I disagree." If the other person counters by telling me that I'm narrow-minded and illogical, the discussion has nowhere to go. We may have to agree to disagree on this, and let it go.
+Tony Verhaaf, drugs are not harmless, including Cannabis, where does this argument came from?? The issue is that it is not more harmful than Alcohol... and yet alcohol is legal. I have seen people go to the neighbor's house to ask for a bottle of perfume, just so they could drink some alcohol. Needles to say, that person's family was obliterated.
These two brothers you talk about, did they live in a country where Cannabis is legal?
If yes, did they start using it at an appropriate age? After 21?
If not, tell me why do you think the criminalization is good? What is the benefit if your brothers could still get their hands on the 'stuff'?
Me being from Portugal I do agree with you Sir Richard Branson, that is the way forward!
+Tony Verhaaf Sorry to hear about the things going on and I hope the best for you and yours. I do agree that pot, or any other drug (especially the prescriptions) have dangers and cause problems personally and world wide. You do have to admit that pot is no more dangerous than alcohol, and that alcohol is a cause of the same problems, but 100 times more often.
There is also probably some underlying or undiagnosed condition that has increased these problems you and yours are having. If someone is having troubles with stopping pot, advise them to get some Total Amino solution and Vitiman C. It will help with the mental need to get more pot. Trust me it really does help, as long as the person wants to stop.
Then there are those who think it is irrational to spend our tax dollars feeding and housing someone like your brothers-in law. Pot may not be harmless, but incarceration for pot is brainless.
+Tony Verhaaf If you read the complete comment thread here, you'll see that the word "harmless" didn't appear until you used it. Very few substances are harmless in an absolute sense; you can even die of drinking too much water. You can screw up your life abusing beer, or scotch, or marijuana, or Marlboros, or Vicodin, or poker, or slot machines, or cheeseburgers, or any number of things. We can't ban every substance that might potentially be abused. For most abusable substances, we've reached a general consensus that the substance itself should be legal, and we should provide medical or other help for people who, for whatever reason, abuse the substance. (Tobacco is actually the outlier here -- it's a rare example of a substance that, when used precisely as designed, is likely to be harmful to the average user.)
100% Correct Only be sure everyone who reads Jim's List First should Be what our founding fathers new THE GOVERNMENT IS THE WORST Think about it!!!!
simple possession is almost never enforced. the mandatory minimums are in response to drug dealers getting slapped on the wrist. our legal system is so lazy though that instead of enforcing the law, the crown will just pursue lesser charges.
we see it with murder and violent crimes, the crown just goes for manslaughter cause it's easier and the judge has more leeway with sentencing
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If our governments created tax revenue from threads on this debate we might not be sat here with a glass of port, some cheese in our marlboro and on our burger addicted to the LCD. perhaps if they were not so addicted to poker we might be a bit closer to where we should have been.
I have to say that Tony's two examples don't prove anything. I have met plenty of lifetime smokers that have not experienced any of those symptoms, these people most likely already had underlying psychological problems and the cannabis is probably magnifying these symptoms and not helping them. We have no other input on these mens lives. To simply tell us that it is the fault of cannabis is cheating.
I agree with Paul on all points here ...Cannabis should be legal by now... if alcohol , that is a very dangerous drug is legal...I still do not understand why all this fuss about Cannabis... it has helped me a lot for the last 45 yrs ; is not for everybody...
My doctor told me that most people with my condition, (crohn's disease), who go for long periods without medication end up in the hospital. No other argument can ever change my mind that laws against cannabis are completely absurd, and a horrible waste of police officers time.
The price of pot will go up due to the increased penalty for cultivation. Most of the pot goes to the states which drives inflation. The provinces will require larger facilities with more employees to run them, and contractors and suppliers to build them. No matter what the penalty, people will continue to smoke pot. Increased international trade, increased employment, its a win/win.
true pot smokers will always Grow their own........ or never have to pay for pot........... not much
While I applaud your comments Richard (and wholly agree), such a policy change just does not agree with Stevies 1950 view of the future. Thanks though!
I understand reason behind this, but, I don't want the government in control of everthing in our lives. The Harper government will find a way for all us Canadians to eventually pay ofr this.
Not all Canadians are behind our government's position. I'm not "for" marijuana, but I'n sure not for prohibition -- it didn't work out very well for the Americans during the roaring 20's, did it?
"Helping" would mean that a physician could not prescribe any more addictive substances and we stop handing them out through tax funded programs. That's not going to stop anytime soon. :(
Richard I love your thinking on this issue,this so called war on drugs is an expensive mess!!!!!!
I was stunned (and pleased) to read of your position on America's misbegotten and failed drug war. As a result I am sharing your blog with everyone I know. It seems to well researched, thoughtful, articulate and most importantly--a sane proposal in an increasingly insane world.
+Philip Jenkins It's a little absurd for someone who lives alone with 3 cats to complain about "anti-social misfits", don't you think? Perhaps if you spent more time being positive you wouldn't be so angry with the way some people choose to spend their free time? Comments like what you made won't gain you any friends, nor will it make you a happier person.
Thanks for publishing that. While I don't condone drug use, I will say that typical (punitive) approaches don't appear to have been very successful. I don't know what the solution is, but your article is good "food for thought".
Thanks Mr. Richard ! i am glad of you that you are concerned for this big problem . although i never participated in anti drug campaigns in real life but i used to manage a group . drugs free world 2012 . i had 300 members in imeem . i gave assignments to members who were all europeans . but to my surprise no body even commented a single word .i had suggested them to give kids an hour a week and talk to them . then i observed that it is not possible without going europe and talking to people . i am an indian and things are so different in europe . canadians are sweet creatures and a religion hates them as well as europe americas . they do all the bad work . kids should be taught values honest truth manners ethics and importance of justice . i think we are failing to save our kids . if we can not care or give time to kids or neighbour's kids life is no worthy . sentences can not prevent drug menace but making human minds stronger by rigid awareness but by love . society is not a society these days family holds no importance for todays humans . life on earth is so strange .
First of all, thank you to the two gentle men who who actually put some thought into their response to my post. Your points are noted and appreciated.

Yes, alcohol is a problem. My own mother died from reasons linked to her alcoholism. Pot carries with it it's own brand of physical and mental issues as well, and by making it more accessible, you make those problems more prevalent. Isn't it bad enough we have to deal with alcohol's problems? Do we really need to add another ingredient to the mix?

Here's a little something for you all to consider, here in Vancouver we have a "safe injection site". All kinds of propaganda from the socialist party's that set it up say it's working wonders. It was supposed to help with the drug and homeless problems here. One of the promises made when it was opened was that it would help reduce the number of addicts on our streets. The actual facts however are some what different than what's been told, the drug addicted homeless population of the city is now more than 4 1/2 times what it was when the site opened, and it's only getting worse. The same people who want to legalize pot are the same people responsible for opening that site.
Thanks to Mr. Branson and Co. for raising their voices in opposition and bringing attention to this incredibly flawed Canadian legislation.
+Tony Verhaaf Thanks for the thoughtful response. It's important to distinguish between marijuana and heroin, I think. This thread was primarily about proposed mandatory minimum sentences for relatively small amounts of pot. I'm generally opposed to mandatory sentencing minimums; it amounts to putting your finger on the scales of justice, taking the judge out of the equation. We're both in Vancouver, so we watch the same news stories about illegal grow-ops, and the involvement of biker gangs in the illegal drug trade, which parallels the rise of organized crime during Prohibition. And we both know that marijuana is already readily available in Vancouver. Legalizing it would eliminate the organized crime involvement, and would add tax revenues that can be directed to drug treatment programs.

I hesitate to comment on the safe-injection site, because it's a different topic from mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana. But a quick glance at the Wikipedia article finds references to peer-reviewed articles in medical journals indicating that the net effect has been positive:

And a couple of articles:

The number of drug-overdose deaths on Vancouver’s notorious downtown Eastside fell sharply after the opening of a safe injection site, new research shows.

The study, published online Monday in the medical journal The Lancet, shows that fatal overdoses dropped 35 per cent in the vicinity of Insite in the two years after it opened. By comparison, OD deaths dropped only 9 per cent in the rest of Vancouver in that same period.

"We are convinced - and all the scientific studies back us up on this point - that supervised injection sites do not create new problems," Lessard told The Gazette. "On the contrary, they reduce the problem of syringes found on the streets and in the parks, and they reduce the number of overdose deaths."
I am Canadaian and I completely agree. The goivernmen t we have know is so backwards! What kind of givernment suggests minimum sentences when we see time and again it doesn't work? Who would suggest locking up young people and tranorming part of the jail into an education centre? The articles I keep seeing are scary.
Your right Richard, we should coddle our drug addicted youth. Tell them it isn't their fault and they aren't to blame. It's the system thats at fault. Then, when they move on from weed and start doing/selling coke and harroin, we can be sure that we did our best to try to turn their life around while there was still a chance.
Drugs in Canada are alot more complicated than in Portugal. This isn't a one size fits all kind of situation. I think the solution lay somewhere in the middle. We need a balance between enforcement and treatment.

FYI Canadian Senators have no power, they are just old men spending taxpayer money.
Branson, here is my vision for drugs all over the world.
I. Create a Worldwide identity card scheme.
II. Government should go direct to the suppliers of the class A/B drugs.
III. Governement's can then dispense said drugs from pharmacies, the citizen then purchasers the drugs using the ID card. Thus the Governement can limit and monitor its use.
VI. In addtion all of the unnatural chemical drugs should have there natural alternative available to citizens to purchase in same manner.
V. Consider the the amount of lives lost, taken, money spent on fighting the war on drugs. This solution is very simple and would not cost much to impliment.
VI. Consider the parts of the world where the drugs come from have these regions have produced them for millenia, they will not stop producing them. As such coporation is the best line of defense.
VII. This will cut the gangster element out, once the native peoples are dealing with a national/worldwide implemented scheme.
VIII. This would enable Police or Military to once and for all destroy all the evil drug barons.
Hows that Branson!!! + =)
if you tink about it the people that smoke pot stay home and watch movies super with friends and they dont go out so the one who are making trouble its with hard drugs and booz
fighting wars on drugs and losingmuch doesnt imply that we have no possibilities of ending that curse .
many soldiers would luv to dive on drugs . its is not a job for most soldiers even not allie dnations .
i repeat they should entrust me with that job iwould hire my own men and sweep the humans who do it . and i need authority to encounter any number of people i think fit and no jury would get such trials to decide .
fbi or cia is not god . they are limited . 90 % humans fear death or journeys to other lands they find it annoying they have families .
deal last = i need ammunitions for 200000 men i would train them my own and i need 40 war crafts . leave the rest on me .
i wud make world drug free but i must tell you i would annex 5 to 15 countries of middle east and asia . if european nations and usa or allied countries decide it and give me that i would do what i have said . i would first annex my desired countries 90% drug trade wud end forever . rest 10 % that day no country would stop me from entering their countries to eradicate the rest .
you know some men should die . atleast some millions . i do not lov ethe word = peace or those who cry for it . mercy for humans ? do they have it ? they are the cruelest form of life . they allow injustice . which i s worst kind of sin .
a smart stupid mad army can end the drug trade . i need safe base and ammunitions as well as recognition .

we do not need FBI or such other agencies , we need th e one who have strength to changehumans into machines . be a part of a fasciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii . you deal and recognise now then your countries are going to enjoy immunities some day .
if not then do not forget a super ambitious man changes fast . faster than the FP 's of any smartest policy maker or warfare plan makers .
trust is a small term through which i can get high strength , buti know nations would not do that . they would fear to foster a fasci .
gangsters ? ha ha ha ha ? i said i need just ammunitions and recognition my first legion would be 200000 iwouldmultiply it evry quarter . world have no idea iwouldmake the rest my own . but always note i abide by ethics
if i dont get what i want i think iam not going to indulgemyself in things or essays which are going to do nothing but wastelot ofmoney in debates and such stupid things .
do not forget that canadians are good people who are targeted by islam .
europe is almost dead america and canada would go poor by 2020 .
poverty is notjust money but happiness index . drugs = i feel sad no one understand swhat i try to tell .
yourkids wud suffer . wouldu then wage a war . so late when u wud haven o penny ,thatday u wud dream of a war but u wud be unable to do it . who wud save u ?
china ? or israel ? or india ?
uk ? usa ? germany ? france ?
so why not trust in one army or a commander who would save your countries altogether . its like a force outside your country free from all laws and supported by you all .
sure a purest dictator but you are immune . also i do not luv interventions in my work .
also iwud change some laws of your countries i wud make them rigid . i wud change juries .
even if i wudnot kill al who do drugs biz i bet they wud be jobless and die by hunger or plead guilty , they wud be shot .
so be a par tof no mercy army .
be a fasci be a fasciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
rest your wisdom . i wud do it my own if u nations dotn support . date wud bemine .
Everyone is Targeted by Islam even Islam, They should be able to wear turbins as long as they are copied from the south eastern American Indians.
Help us help America get its head out of its ass!

"+Gary Johnson trys to inject cannabis legalization into the presidential debates": ; also to end drug prohibition / wars; they're not going to talk about it otherwise;
He could use your social media support... he doesn't have a lot of money, thus large media outlets are not airing his campaign; spread the word & vote for Gary!
"Web quiz tells you which presidential candidate best fits your world view; NPR": ; or go directly:  Courtesy of: +Gary Johnson ;
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