Peter McKenna, The Star
Having just returned from Colombia — once known as the cocaine capital of the world — it’s not hard to see why impoverished Colombians turn to the cultivation and production of coca leaf and opium poppies.
The climate is most receptive, the scarcity of money is palpable, and there are few substitutes for such lucrative crops. The so-called “balloon effect” also makes any crackdown on production ineffective, since crop cultivation, drug laboratories and transportation routes squeezed in one area will inevitably pop up somewhere else. Read more »
By Terry Milewski, CBC News
News conferences with Canada's Prime Minister don't happen every day — which, of course, increases the likelihood that, when he does hold one, he'll make news.
But it's even rarer that you'll hear Stephen Harper concede that the war on drugs is a failure.
It happened, though, after two days of listening to Latin American leaders explaining just how costly, and bloody, the war is.
Harper met Canadian journalists at the summit in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday and readily admitted there are differences among the leaders over the exclusion of Cuba from the Latin America summit. He admitted, too, that there was a disagreement over British rule in the Falkland Islands. Read more »
Canada and the United States are finding themselves at odds with Latin American countries on two thorny issues — the war on drugs and the exclusion of Cuba — at a summit of hemispheric leaders in Colombia.
The event's host, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, delivered a frank speech Saturday to the assembled heads of state and government in which he said it would be "unacceptable" to hold another Summit of the Americas without Cuba. The communist country was suspended from the Organization of American States, the main organizing body for the summits, in 1962.
Canada and the United States are the only two countries in the organization that have not lobbied to invite to Cuba to the events. Read more »
BY MARK KENNEDY, POSTMEDIA NEWS Published: Vancouver Sun
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is flying to a weekend summit in Colombia where his hard line on drugs will put him at odds with some Latin American leaders who are calling for a debate over whether drug use should be decriminalized.
Harper's position on Cuba also could run afoul of a possible consensus by countries in central and South America.
Harper is attending the Summit of the Americas, a conference of leaders from 34 nations that is held every three years.
The talks this year will include such issues as trade expansion, and Harper will meet with senior business executives from Canada and elsewhere who are attending the summit to discuss investment in the Western Hemisphere. Read more »
I've really enjoyed the continuing revelations about Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ marital and ministerial infidelities, the most recent being the disclosure by the group Anonymous that alleges Toews made a paramour of his, Catherine Everett, a member of the Manitoba judge's bench.
Jodie has just returned from her visit to the US east coast where she was entertained by local activist and friends in Boston and Warwick, and spoke at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum. She shows a beautiful card from Marc, who has 859 days left until his early release date of July 9, 2014 - be sure to read his latest blog (posted today) at http://www.CannabisCulture.com and information about how to send Marc letters at http://www.FreeMarc.ca Read more »
By Sheena Goodyear, QMI Agency
Cops and judges in the U.S. are asking Canadian lawmakers to learn from America's mistakes and scrap harsher pot penalties in a controversial new crime bill.
The Conservatives have championed Bill C-10, dubbed the "Safe Streets and Communities Act," as a way of ensuring the punishment fits the crime, and they have the support of numerous public opinion polls that show Canadians want tougher sentences for criminals.
But mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession in the bill will help, not hinder, organized crime and cross-border trafficking, say the former cops, narcotics investigators, judges and other justice professionals who make up the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) group. Read more »
ALEX DOBUZINSKIS, Reuters Published: Toronto Sun
Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are gaining momentum in Washington state and Colorado, despite fierce opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural battle over America’s most commonly used illicit drug.
Officials in Washington state on Friday said an initiative to legalize pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination about an initiative there.
Supporters are prepared to possibly spend millions of dollars ahead of the November ballot, when they hope a strong voter turnout, particularly among youth, for the U.S. presidential election will aid their cause. Read more »
By donalee Moulton, The Lawyers Weekly
A controversial report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slams private prisons and mass incarceration in the U.S. for harming imprisoned individuals and the government’s bottom line while making companies extremely wealthy.
Legal experts in Canada say that the same jailhouse problems — escalating violence, increased costs, and overcrowding — exist in this country, and the federal government’s new omnibus crime bill may sow the seeds for private prisons here. There is, however, a constitutional issue that may make this impossible. The federal government is also saying private prisons are not coming to Canada. Read more »
By: James Lewis CKNW AM 980
B.C.’s self-proclaimed "prince of pot" is marking a milestone this week, as he passes the half-way point of his sentence in an American prison.
In September 2010, Marc Emery was sentenced to five years for selling marijuana seeds by mail and phone order.
He's now serving his time at a prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
Emery’s wife, Jodie, says with good behaviour, he'll qualify for early release in July of 2014.
"But if for any reason, he should lose his good time, good behaviour time, he'll be there until early 2015."
Last year, Emery's supporters tried to gain the attention of the White House, with more than 9,000 signatures on an official petition. Read more »