4.9 Ending the war on drugs

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.

After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;
  • Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;
  • Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;
  • Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;
  • Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;
  • Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;
  • Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.