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SOC323H5 (91)
Lecture 10

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Nicole Myers

Soc323 – regulation vs. criminalization: the case of drug control Reading talked primarily about marijuana – arguments for medicinal purposes & laws are too restrictive Will talk about safe injection sites Government just released new regulations for safe injection sites & marijuana for medicinal purposes Final Test Final test in class next week; 1 hour 50 minutes to write; arrive early Cumulative – focus on post midterm; review first lectures – 20/80 split; same format as midterm: 4 Q with choice  answer all parts of the question Read questions, stop and think, then write – be clear & get straight to the point (more is not necessarily better) Think about themes that have run through the course Drug Regulation Marijuana: most people have tried it & a good proportion of the population uses it for recreational purposes; possession is a criminal offence but depends on cop who catches you; half the charges are cannabis ones in Canada; 2011: 24 000 adults charged w simple possession and 4200 youths & 10 000 adults w trafficking Heroin: injecting heroin, prolonged use results in constricted veins so being shooting in any vein can find Speed balls: injecting cocaine and heroin Cannabis Marijuana Public opinion: ~65% support legalizing or decriminalization Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has come out in support for decriminalization  can look at USA for drug war failure Harper government has introduced new MMS for growing as few as 5 plants (Safe Streets and Communities Act – 6 months in custody YET assault, crime of violence, has no MMS) - Interesting this is the way we are going when most public wants opposite - USA is moving away from drug war: failure, costly o Washington voted by popular vote to decriminalize MJ o Collecting tax revenue o May help reduce black market b/c take product out of it o But this depends on quality o If quality sucks, people will still go to street dealer - Selling drugs to person under 18 = 2 years MMS o What if a 19y picks up his girlfriend from high school and they light up a joint? Means 2 years for him Government regulates cigarettes and alcohol, despite harms – marijuana is bad for you, but not as bad as these  suggested regulating MJ = HUGE economic tax revenue potential British Columbia: MJ from here is known for its quality; exchanged for same as cocaine; government could make billion $ a year if involved in regulation (tax revenue); 500 million per year (produced); BC is most in favor for decriminalization followed by Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta Not same concerns as tobacco, but still lighting material and inhaling, so bringing smoke into lungs Apparently young people will be disposed to different mental health concerns in future and it affects their development Less motivated and productive – associated with potheads No evidence shows that severe penalties reduce crime – if this were true, USA would be the safest place on Earth; imprisonment is a costly way of dealing with offending Should funnel money into education and treatment rather than enforcement Illegal bust still existing - Vapor Lounge: have treats, sofas, and TVs; no sale; can rent vaporizer if needed; police don’t bother busting – do we pthfer potheads out of public view and leaving them alone? - 420 March on April 20 – police don’t really do anything b/c protesting is okay Legal Challenges Medical use R.v.Parker (2000) & R.v.Krieger (2006): both arrested for medical marijuana use – used it for relief of pain, nausea, etc. – inability to use it due to laws = violation of Charter Section 7 rights - Therapeutic benefit - Needed access to legitimate space - Shouldn’t have to find a drug dealer to access medication - Should not have to put self in danger of being charged for a criminal self - Violation of right to security - Court agreed: government should either revise and amend so that in accordance with Charter OR court will strike down the laws completely Recreational use R.v.Clay (2003): freedom of choice to use a drug and to choose to do so – court did not buy this argument and Section 7 of Charter was not violated  reasonable limits placed on people; marijuana is not included as something you have the right to use Video – Staying Alive r CBC News Safe injection site – Vancouver: called Insite, first on in North America Darwin is manager; notices when someone goes missing so he looks for them Ensure rooms are clean, stocked and sterile Medical staffs are always present, provide everything but drugs Addicts bring own drugs; fighting for lives Exemption in 2003, only place where can inject drugs legally under federal law – response to HIV, Hepatitis B and C, etc. Someone always ensure no one overdosed People who want to quit can be helped on the second floor – detox area: 11 day program Taz: third time trying to get clean; unable to take care of self and 2 daughters; sexually abused as a child; trying to use a legal substitute; completes detox program and moves up to third floor treatment Withdrawal is a long hard road Dave: using since he got HIV in 1990; ran away from home at age 12; homeless – been living on and off the streets; shooting drugs in Insite & smokes on streets; went on a bank robbery spree – caught and given 5 years; morning speedballs; lives in Blood Alley as homeless call it (robbed many times, not a safe place)  Darwin helps him try to find a place to stay but nothing is open  finally finds a place for him
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