Marijuana advocates warn NDP plans for decriminalization would leave organized crime in control

published on September 21, 2015 by Travis Lupick in The Georgia Straight

In November 2001, Kash Heed stood before the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs and outlined why his police department had essentially stopped arresting people for marijuana possession.

“It was de facto decriminalization,” the retired commanding officer of the Vancouver police drug squad told the Straight. “I took a lot of heat from the RCMP for doing that.”

Dan Werb, director of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, explained the changes legalization would bring that decriminalization would not.

“In the case of BC, we estimated that over $500 million in retail sales is going into the hands of organized crime every year,” Werb said. “If you remove that market, it is the most effective way of kneecapping organized crime and reducing the power of organized crime.”

Even the RCMP – a conservative organization that generally avoids even the appearance of disagreements with Ottawa – may be warming to the idea of reform.

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