Media Coverage: Global Commission on Drug Policy Endorsement

February 29, 2012 Virgin Group founder Richard Branson; former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Switzerland; and former Federal Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour called Bill C-10 a ‘grave mistake’ and publicly endorsed Stop the Violence BC.

Please see below for complete media listing.

Print and Online

Demande de marche arriere (12/02/29). Journal de Montreal
Tran, N. (12/02/29). The war on pot is ‘destructive’ and ‘ineffective’ says panel Examiner
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Ottawa Citizen
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Vancouver Sun.
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, The Provincs
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Edmonton Journal
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Windsor Star
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Victoria Times Colonist
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Calgary Herald
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, The Star Phoenix Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, The Chronicle Herald
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, MSN News Canada
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, The Daily News.
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, The Daily Courier
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Brandon Sun
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Hamilton Spectator
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Winnipeg Free Press.
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Toronto Star
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Global News
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, CTV.CA.
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Huffington Post
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Metro News Montreal
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Metro News Toronto
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). Reconsider pot prohibition, international panel urges Harper, Globe and Mail
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News Halifax
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News Ottawa
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News London 
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News Edmonton 
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News Calgary
Kieltyka, M. (12/03/01). Luminaries lambast C-10’s approach to pot, Metro News Vancouver
Mulgrew, I. (12/03/02). Cal to legalize pot goes beyond wanting a puff, The Vancouver Sun.
Canada News: Stephen Harper repeating same old mistakes with tougher pot laws, global group says (12/02/29). Toronto Star
Payne, E. (12/02/29). Plenty of blame for the drug crisis, Ottawa Citizen.
Alter crime bill: world thinkers. (12/02/29). The Windsor Star.
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Montreal Gazette.
Press, J. (12/02/29). Richard Branson urges Tories to change crime bill and legalize pot, Canada.com.
‘Building more prisons ony deepens the drug problems’. (12/02/29). iPolitics.
Cheadle, B. (12/02/29). International panel urges Harper to reconsider Canadian pot problems, Winnipeg Free Press.
MacPherson, D. (12/02/29). The Global Commission on Drug Policy salutes Stop the Violence BC and sends message to the Senate Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Press, J. (12/02/29). Kofi Annan and Sir Richard Branson urge Tories to change crime bill, Canada.com.
Easton, M. (11/11/17). Why is it only ‘formers’ who want to talk about drugs?, BBC.

Radio

CBC Radio One – National
Newstalk 980 CJME – Regina
680 News – Toronto
AM 770 – Calgary
AM 900 CHML – Hamilton
iNews 880 – Edmonton
News 95.7 – Halifax
News 88.9 – Saint John
News 91.1 – Moncton
News 88.9 – Saint John
Newstalk 610 CKTB – St. Catherines
Newstalk 800 CJAD – Montreal
AM 770 – Calgary
600 CKAT – North Bay
CFAX 1070 – Victoria
News 1130 – Vancouver
CFRA 580 – Ottawa
600 CKAT – North Bay
570 News – Kitchener
AM 980 – London
630 CHED – Edmonton
660 News – Calgary
CKNW 980 – Vancouver
Radio NL – Kamloops
(12/02/29). CTV News St John
(12/02/29). CHCH Hamilton –News Now
(12/02/29). CTV News National
(12/02/29). CBC News Now National
(12/02/29). CKNW Vancouver.
(12/02/29). 660 News Calgary.
(12/02/29). 630 CHED Edmonton.
(12/02/29). AM 980 London.
(12/02/29). CFRA 580 Ottawa.
(12/02/29). News 1130 Vancouver.
(12/02/29). 570 News Kitchner
(12/02/29). CFAX 1070 Victoria.
(12/02/29). 600 CKAT North Bay.
(12/02/29). A770 Calgary
(12/02/29). Newstalk 800 CJAD Montreal.
(12/02/29). Newstalk 610 CkTB St Catherines.
News 91.1 Moncton.
(12/02/29). News 88.9 St John.
(12/02/29). News 95.7 Halifax.
(12/02/29). iNews880 Edmonton.
(12/02/29). AM 900 CHML Hamilton.
(12/02/29). AM770 Calgary
News. (12/02/29). 680 Toronto.
CJME. (12/02/29). Newstalk 980.
National. (12/02/29). CBC.
Tremonti, A. M. (12/02/29). The Current, CBC.

Television
Fitzpatrick, M. (12/03/12). Tories’ crime bill clears Parliament, CBC News.
Fitzpatrick, M. (12/03/07). Crime bill vote pushed back to Monday, CBC.
End ‘destructive’ war on pot, panel urges Harper. (12/02/29). CBC News.

 

 

Global Commission Members Call on Canadian Government to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana


To:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canadian Senators
From:
Louise Arbour, Richard Branson, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ruth Dreifuss, and Thorvald Stoltenberg

Re: Reject mandatory minimum sentences under Bill C-10

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Canadian Senators:

We are writing to you on behalf of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which is dedicated to reducing harms caused by drugs to people and societies. Our Commission includes global leaders such as the past presidents of Colombia and Mexico; former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan; former US Secretary of State George Schultz; and business experts such as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Paul Volcker.

Many Global Commission members have first-hand experience with the violent illegal markets that emerge in drug-producing regions, where corruption, organized crime and violence are inevitable consequences of cannabis prohibition that cannot be successfully addressed by strengthening anti-cannabis law enforcement. We hope that Canada—where both production and consumption are an issue—remains open to new and better ideas.

Building more prisons, tried for decades in the United States under its failed War on Drugs, only deepens the drug problem and does not reduce cannabis supply or rates of use. Instead, North American youth now report easier access to cannabis than to alcohol or tobacco. And yet, today, with the proposed implementation of mandatory prison sentences for minor cannabis-related offences under Bill C-10, Canada is at the threshold of continuing to repeat the same grave mistakes as other countries, moving further down a path that has proven immensely destructive and ineffective at meeting its objectives.

As was the case with alcohol prohibition, evidence shows that increasing the intensity of drug law enforcement through mandatory minimum sentencing and other legal sanctions will not reduce the crime and violence associated with the cannabis industry. Instead, these laws will serve only to further entrench control of the cannabis market in the hands of violent criminals and waste precious tax dollars.

This has been the experience internationally. In fact, among the things that are driving organized crime and violence in British Columbia and other Canadian provinces is, although on a lesser scale, just what is driving the violence in Mexico—demand for drugs in the United States. Tougher drug laws in Canada will not address this root cause. At this late date, we hope that Canada will elect to adopt an evidence-based approach to controlling cannabis, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the proposed path through Bill C-10 is destructive, expensive and ineffective.

Debate about ending cannabis prohibition often pits those in favour of persisting with the damaging and ineffective War on Drugs against those who downplay the risks and harms of cannabis use. Canadians should take a third, evidence-based approach, which is advocated by the Global Commission and local and national organizations such as the Stop the Violence BC coalition. The Global Commission fully endorses the Stop the Violence BC coalition and its call to reduce corruption, organized crime and gang violence by taxing and regulating cannabis use under a public health framework. Indeed, the call is entirely consistent with the recommendations of our first report. Taxation and regulation models should be evaluated, as they have great potential to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and safety of Canadians. Given the experience with tobacco consumption, this approach also has the potential to actually reduce rates of cannabis use while also generating significant tax revenue.

For decades, Canadians and their leaders have embraced positive societal change and the rights of all citizens, not just in Canada but around the world. Canada has a proud international tradition of innovative and realistic policies; tougher drug law enforcement tactics such as mandatory minimum sentencing for minor drug law offences will put a huge strain on Canadian taxpayers, will not have the intended effect of creating safer communities, and will instead further entrench the marijuana industry in the hands of organized crime groups.

The clear path forward to best control cannabis in Canada and other jurisdictions throughout the world is to move away from failed law enforcement strategies and to pursue a public health approach aimed also at undermining the root causes of organized crime. Canada has the opportunity to take a leadership role in implementing such policies. And it would be completely in keeping with Canada’s global reputation as a modern, tolerant and forward-thinking nation.

Sincerely,

Louise Arbour
GCDP Commissioner
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
President of the International Crisis Group, Canada

Richard Branson
GCDP Commissioner
Entrepreneur
Advocate for Social Causes
Founder of the Virgin Group
Co-founder of The Elders, UK

Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Chair, GCDP
Former President of Brazil

Ruth Dreifuss
GCDP Commissioner
Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs

Thorvald Stoltenberg
GCDP Commissioner
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway

cc: Canadian Premiers and Leaders of the Opposition

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