An annual call to loosen cannabis laws: 4/20

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: flickr/Velcro

OTTAWA, April 16, 2015 – On Monday across the nation, Canadians from 41 communities are boldly showing their pride as cannabis consumers by publicly demonstrating the prohibition of cannabis, colloquially known as 420. Hundreds of thousands are expected to participate. While recreational cannabis is not yet legal in Canada, de facto legalization is taking place in many Canadian cities. From Vancouver's cannabis dispensaries to Toronto's vapor lounges, Canada finds itself on the world map as an epicentre of cannabis culture.

"Cannabis in Canada polls much higher than our political party leaders do currently," emphasizes Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Outreach Director Lisa Campbell.  "In Canada, more young people use cannabis than any other country globally, although use is in decline. As opposed to criminalizing youth, it's time to legalize and regulate cannabis and invest in health services like drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction."

According to several public opinion polls conducted by Forum Research and Ipsos Reid, over 60% of Canadians agree on loosening cannabis laws. This growing national consensus towards loosening marijuana laws is currently more popular than any federal party and sends a clear message that the Canadian people consider this an election issue. While the Liberals and NDP have indicated support for cannabis reform if elected, the Conservatives continue to support criminalization.

The hundreds of thousands of Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast who are proudly and defiantly consuming cannabis is indicative of the growing global movement for legalization. With Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Netherlands and Uruguay now allowing the legal sale of cannabis, Canada now has many models of regulation to consider. Last year the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto came out in support of cannabis legalization with stiff government regulation as a means to tangibly reduce drug abuse and improve public health.

The prohibition of cannabis results in the imprisonment of over 60,000 Canadians a year; currently over 500,000 Canadians hold criminal records related to cannabis. Monday's smoky gathering demonstrates that many Canadians have recognized the positive social, judicial, and economic potential that cannabis legalization will have for our nation.

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) is a grassroots network comprised of youth and students who are concerned about the negative impact our drug policies have on individuals and communities. CSSDP considers problematic drug use in society primarily a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, and advocates for appropriate responses to reduce and prevent harm from drug use.

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.