Modern drug policy long past due

Two & Out
By James Peters
June 6, 2016 - 10:37am Updated: June 6, 2016 - 1:44pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops RCMP detachment was very proud this week to show off the spoils of its most recent gang enforcement activities in this city. 

Officers seized guns and cash, and a lot of drugs. 

All the usual illicit suspects were there. 

Heroin, cocaine, meth, and the newest kid on the block, fentanyl. 

But by weight, the number one drug seized during this months long investigation was still our old friend: marijuana. 

There was still more pot seized than any other drug. 

Organized crime and pot - it's a marriage made in heaven thanks to the widespread public appetite for the drug, and the restrictive approach to regulating its sale. 

The demand for marijuana is not going away, no matter what the laws say. 

It's long past time the laws match up with the reality.

If there are problems that stem from the consumption of marijuana, they should be treated through a medical framework, not a legal one. 

The same is true for addiction to other opiates. 

This week, my fellow Kamloops editorialist Jim Harrison suggested otherwise, saying addicts are first and foremost lawbreakers, and law enforcement agencies need to crack down. 

The intimation is that a safe injection site, like the one being contemplated for Kamloops, wouldn't do enough to tackle illicit drug use, so for some reason it would be better suited for Kelowna, a city whose addicts are apparently worth saving. 

The editorial is so mind bogglingly out of touch with reality, it may have been transcribed from hieroglyphs. 

If a goal of our society is that fewer people die of drug overdoses, then simply telling them drugs are bad and they could go to jail isn't going to help.

If another goal of our society is to take the distribution of drugs out of the hands of criminals, then it's time to address the supply, as well as the demand. 

The RCMP did good work busting an organized crime group, but if the script is flipped on drug regulations and treatment options, maybe we'll have fewer news conferences like the one we had this week.

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