Killer Weed

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Predictably, drug warriors are citing last week's killing of four Mounties investigating a marijuana growing operation in Alberta as an argument for more-aggressive drug law enforcement. Forgive me for stating what should be obvious: Those officers were not killed because Canada is soft on pot. They were killed because of prohibition, a U.S. export far more pernicious than Canada's B.C. bud. Even Bill Bennett, George H.W. Bush's drug czar, conceded that cracking down on drug traffickers can be expected to generate more black market violence. Far from encouraging Canadians to follow the U.S. model, the shootings reaffirm the wisdom of a more peaceful and tolerant approach.

Update: As Steve in Clearwater notes in the comments section, it turns out the officers discovered the marijuana (about 20 plants) only incidentally, after going to the property to repossess a pickup truck from man with a long criminal history, including a conviction for child rape. Writing in today's National Post, Colby Cosh compares the official version of the shootout to the mundane reality, concluding that the politicians making prohibitionist hay from the incident "are engaging in a calculated distraction that presents them as part of a thin line standing between us and an enormous, inchoate, 'organized' evil."

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  1. How’s this: the Drug Warriors would rather see law enforcement officers gunned down by modern-day Al Capones, than admit that the hippies they hated in college might have been right about something.

  2. Ah, but the “Drug Warriors” of today are the same people who were the hated hippies in college. They’ve already switched sides once (to avoid giving their kids ‘the wrong message’), and would fight hard to avoid switching back now. Hypocrisy is not immoral when you’re doing it ‘for the children’, y’know?

  3. It’s even crappier than first reported. Seems the RCMP lied their asses off as to the real cause for being there and also the real story about the ‘grow-op’.

    They were actually investigating the repossession of an unpaid truck and possible stolen truck parts.

    And oh yeah, the guy had 20 pot plants growing in back.

    Not THREE HUNDRED, as the RCMP first reported.

    This is like a guy here in Florida shooting cops and when the cops find 20 hibiscus plants in the back, they issue grave warnings about ‘flower growers who must be stopped!!’.

    Here’s a sobering, but smart commentary from today’s National Post.

    Canada: Column: What They Died For

    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n388/a04.html

  4. “Another marijuana related death.”

  5. Somehow, Nicholas, I doubt that Orrin Hatch, Asa Hutchinson, and Barry McCaffrey spent the 60s pushing their hair out of the way while strumming chords in the student union.

  6. Because of Canada’s ridiculously high taxes on tobacco, have they de facto emboldened their marijuana growers? Are cloves the new pot in Sasketewan? Discuss.

  7. Many of you are missing the point and going to your own agenda. It is wrong and horrible to kill, as killing a person is an irreversible action. If we harm someone, it may be possible to make amends in the future. If we kill them, that is the end of the story. These ?growers? are selfish materialist fools who are a danger to all of us and should be removed from society. It has nothing to do with ?growing?. How to remove them, that is the prime question?

  8. Gene: I think the same could be said for the RCMP troopers.

  9. Let’s not forget the underlying truth that the article mentions:

    But with possibly more than 1.5 million pounds coming south, according to the Canadian estimates, many acknowledge they are making a mere dent in what is coming across.

    No matter how much effort DEA, RCMP and the rest of the alphabet-soup of law enforcement agencies make, they aren’t going to stop people from getting their hands on something to smoke. If pot were legal, almost all imports would be subject to normal customs procedures, which would actually make our border more secure.

    Fewer cops and pot-growers would get shot, too.

    Kevin

  10. Gene, you’re missing the point too. How to remove you?

  11. Gene, there will always be foolish materialists. It would be better if the system encouraged them to follishly pursue their materialist through peaceful, legal transactions.

    You don’t hear about beer distributors shooting at cops.

  12. Relax, all. Gene is a troll.

  13. SteveInClearwater

    Thanks for that link. I first heard this story on the BBC Friday AM. They heavily stressed the MJ angle.

    If there is one thing that many of us need to be disabused of it is the notion that the WOD is some uniquely American disorder. It is not like the rest of the world is some enlightened paradise on this issue while America remains in some benighted barbarian state. Talk about drugs anywhere on earth and you are almost guaranteed an incoherent, irrational rant about the evils of the drug trade (or “drugs trade” as the limeys say) and the evils of the profiteers who enrich themselves in it.

    While reading the article linked I found this gem
    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n370/a02.htm

    A quote:

    “They should abandon any notion of decriminalization,” he told reporters in Calgary. Mr. Klein said the officers were slain at a “significant” grow-op with 300 plants worth $300,000. The Alberta Premier tore into the federal Liberals for being inconsistent on marijuana, talking about tougher penalties for growers while moving to decriminalize the drug.

    The premier is right (for the wrong

  14. Prohibition would have worked, too! It just needed a little more time.

  15. Woops, posted too soon.

    The premier is right (for the wrong reasons).

    If consumption is OK, then why not supply. It is foolish to decriminalize use without decriminalizing supply.

    Note that the 2002 Nevada Initiative (which got nearly 40% of the vote, and the support of the majority of the state’s police chiefs and sherriffs – until they had to go on the record.) expressly had the requirement that the state establish the machinery for a regulated supply system.

  16. In the movie Key Largo one of the schemes the Edward G. Robinson character, Johnny Rocco is out to promote is bringing back Prohibition. The writers seemed to recognize the effect Prohibition had in creating criminality and enriching criminals. Later in the same film one of the evils attributed to Johnny Rocco is selling drugs.

    I am amazed that so few people are unable to connect the dots. Why does this happen?

  17. So, somebody shoots at cops for reasons that have little to do with drugs (he’s a violent thug and child molester who doesn’t want his truck repossessed) and the cops then decide to pretend that this was a drug-related shooting based on the existence of 20 marijuana plants.

    But don’t worry, we can trust government officials to never, ever lie when claiming that somebody is a terrorist who needs to be tortured!

  18. Is this right time to mention that the ATF included a “meth lab” in the reasons for going to Mount Carmel?

  19. What? A government lie or its minions? No way! 🙂

  20. thoreau said:
    “So, somebody shoots at cops for reasons that have little to do with drugs (he’s a violent thug and child molester who doesn’t want his truck repossessed) and the cops then decide to pretend that this was a drug-related shooting based on the existence of 20 marijuana plants.

    But don’t worry, we can trust government officials to never, ever lie when claiming that somebody is a terrorist who needs to be tortured!”

    By George, thoreau, I think you’ve got it!

    There is always some portion of government whose agents are infallible protectors of the public good. The rest are, of course, jack-booted thugs bent on destroying the American way of life. All that differs from person to person is which agents of government are the good guys and which are the bad guys. The BushBots worship at the boots of the uniformed soldier/policeman. The Kerryites worship at the boots of the technocrat.

    Few people seem to understand that no one, in any position of government, can be trusted to refrain from someday trying on the jack-boots.

  21. Trusting No One-

    Your comment reminds me of something that a Reason writer once wrote in an article (sorry, can’t remember who): One party wants to run your life in the name of God, and the other party wants to run your life in the name of “4 out of 5 experts agree.”

    Me, I want to be left alone.

  22. They were killed because of prohibition

    Please. Just look at all the innocents and lawmen that are killed or injured each year over the Budweiser market. And remember alcohol prohibiton? It worked, didn’t it?

    Don’t blame the lawmakers for this one. As long as you shut up and do as your told, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  23. A lefty friend (practically a redundancy for me) told me last week that while possession should be legalized, sales shouldn’t be because the status quo provides good jobs in the inner city.

    Uh…the post just made me think of this.

    And in turn I thought of this: businesses here in Colorado are not allowed to own more than one liquor store outlet, which has allowed mom & pop liquor stores to proliferate. Guess it’s part of the same philosophy. (My sig other recently noticed liquor prices being way lower in less regulated Arizona…)

  24. Fyodor-

    Off the topic, but at least business are allowed to own ANY liquor store in Colorado. A lot of states bar all sales except through state run or chartered stores. Oregon and Minnesota come to mind (only because I’ve lived there). In Minnesota, even beer and wine are sold only through state-run distributors.

    I took a state-required alcohol serving license course in Oregon. My favorite quote was “The Oregon Liquor Control Commission only grants licenses to distribute alocohol, not to own it. All alcohol in the State of Oregon is the property of the OLCC from the time it reaches the state until it reaches your stomach.”

    And you thought alcohol was expensive in Colorado…

  25. “The Oregon Liquor Control Commission only grants licenses to distribute alocohol, not to own it. All alcohol in the State of Oregon is the property of the OLCC from the time it reaches the state until it reaches your stomach.”

    Why does it have to stop there. Doesn’t it end up in a government owned sewage treatment plant.

    What happened to mandatory recycling.

  26. Actually after reading several news reports (the US media has been almost silent as near as I can tell) I’m trying to figure out whether it was the Mounties or the Media that started the MJ spin. But it was pretty much out of control the way the Beeb reported it.

    The only level head seemed to be Colby Cosh.

  27. There is no question in my mind that the RCMP began the irrational associations with ‘dangerous marijuana’.

    They are really the only ones who have been publicly arguing against legalizing cannabis in Canada since summer of 2003 when the Canadian Supreme Court ruling effectively invalidated existing criminal prohibitions against possession.

    Good news is that my friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition got more calls from reporters and writers this past weekend than ever before and their quotes and input were included in a variety of the coverage from the past few days.

    http://leap.cc/tbay will point you to the Florida page, but all buttons take you to main website content.

    You can help us deliver LEAPs message by introducing us to civic clubs, church groups, school groups in your area where LEAP can create a speaking venue. See our SPEAKERS SCHEDULE for examples of the currently 50+ events we are doing monthly across North America.

  28. dlc, don’t neglect the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the world’s largest purchaser of alcohol.

  29. Somehow, Nicholas, I doubt that Orrin Hatch, Asa Hutchinson, and Barry McCaffrey spent the 60s pushing their hair out of the way while strumming chords in the student union.

    So if we get rid of them and put the Democrats back in Congress and the White House, surely the War on Drugs will be over, like it was in the 1990s when the Congressional Democrats and Bill Clinton…

    …oh. Right.

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