Focus On The Media
Where do Canadian media stand on drugs today? Help with that question came from the Senate Committee’s Report that was released in September:
Where do Canadian media stand on drugs today? We did not analyse all the press coverage of drugs in Canada, although the exercise would probably have been interesting in sociological terms in identifying key notions and seeing just how public opinion is shaped. All we do here is examine two main types of media article. The first is news related to criminality, the second, feature stories and editorials.
News stories on illegal drugs usually focus on police operations: raids, seizures, dealer arrests and dismantling of organized crime rings. The best-known modern example was surely the 2001 arrest in Quebec of more than 70 Hells Angels members known to be involved in narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities. And then there are seizures, month after month, of kilograms – even hundreds of kilograms – of drugs, more and more often marijuana.
We do not know how this information helps shape public opinion on drugs or what impact it has on the public’s demands concerning drugs. However, these articles probably give people the impression that the “drug problem” is first and foremost an organized crime problem. But while there may have been an impression until the mid 1980s, shall we say, that marijuana was a problem exported into Canada from other countries, the growing number of articles on raids of domestic producers – as opposed to shipments from overseas – is giving more and more people cause to think of marijuana as a home-grown problem.
Other news stories focus on the relationship between drugs and crime, especially prostitution, residential break-ins, and “incivilities” experienced by street youth and the homeless. Some of these activities are at least in part associated with drugs. For prostitution, it is the fact that people, mostly women, are forced to work as street prostitutes in order to support their habit. Residential break-ins are also tied to supporting drug habits, although the perpetrators are different: most break-ins are committed by young men. For street youth, the main problem is intravenous drug use and the risk of spreading AIDS. None of this is directly related to marijuana. Except for schools. Virtually every big city in Canada – and every not-so-big city, too, for that matter – has seen some kind of police operation in schools. School raids usually elicit two types of reaction, both rooted in indignation: people are indignant when they learn that drugs are so much a part of the school environment while others think the police are abusing their authority and failing to respect young people’s rights.
The Senate Committee’s Report on the Media, Chapter 10
After sifting through 4,500+ news clippings that originated or relate to Canadian cannabis policy to piece together a picture for 2002 by choosing over 200 of the items, I can only conclude that the Committee’s examination accurately describes the media themes that predominate over the year. Over 500 Opinions, Editorials or columns were written about it and over 1300 letters published; with approximately 900 of them favouring reform to one degree or another. They all pointed – most unintentionally – to a failed drug policy.
While some articles recognized the most harm done to society is the direct result of prohibition and not so much the substances in question, and that children and adults are more at risk when substances are prohibited; there is very little acknowledgement that prohibition is directly responsible for deaths, police corruption, flourishing grow houses, the emerging police state in our schools, the continuing war on the sick, and the mixed messages that abound.
Sadly, many still miss the mark by spouting disguised, official government or police press releases. Predictably, the sick and the young are the most marginalized and totally disregarded in the grand scheme of things.
What was mere speculation in 2000 about the U.S. government’s attitude toward a liberalized Canadian drug policy, is now a matter of record, in both thought and deed. Rhetorically, our politicians have stood up to them, but nothing has changed, only inched along a little further since the last review two years ago. The same headlines blare at us, and Canadians are still using every available avenue to legalize cannabis.
It is disturbing to see that despite all our technological advances, forces are at work, attempting to propel us into some sort of Age of Ignorance and Unenlightment, often referred to as the “dumbing down” of society. It results in both the government and the media continuing to present such a muddled picture, that we can only assess the situation by where we stand now, not by innuendos dropped here or there over three decades.
January sets the tone for the year, giving us a glimpse of what’s in store when the Police Depend On Tips In War On Drugs, shamelessly using the obliging media, “One of the greatest tools we have is the media, who get the message out to the public,” asking for help locating grow houses to enable ‘Operation Greensweep’, Nationwide Drug Busts Weed Out $50M In Pot. It makes one wonder whether this cozy partnership is really trying to promote mistrust, betrayal and fear.
Rather than tell the truth – that prohibition is responsible for corruption, Drug Cop Arrested For Trafficking, and a soaring murder rate, Drug Violence Behind Record Murder Rate; more fear is sown and the same wrong reaction aid it’s perpetual survival.
Some of the lies and misinformation the police spout about things like Hotboxing Reaching New Highs, would be comical if such dire implications, including death, weren’t associated with it, “Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol usually drive slowly to avoid detection because their reaction time has slowed down, … Stoned drivers are more aggressive than drunk drivers… With marijuana everything speeds up,” Although it sometimes seems there is a Conspiracy? Government’s Not Smart Enough To Fool Anyone.
The new Marijuana Medical Access Program is now in full swing and we get a glimpse of how the sick are faring under the MMAR when Marijuana Exemptees Wait Seven Hours Before Judge Turns Down Request: “While expressing “the utmost sympathy” that Paquette and the other exemptees had lost their medicine as a result of the raid, Morgan accepted the Crown’s argument that under Subsections 24( 2 ) and 24( 3 ) of the CDSA, seized marijuana must be kept until no longer needed for evidence at trial.” No wonder many Canadians think our Bizarre Drug Policy Exposes Justice System To Ridicule.
Politics wins over health when Doctors Cautioned When Prescribing Medical Marijuana, but there was still reason to hope things would improve when headlines boasted, Potent Pot Promised: “The first crop of federal medical pot won’t hit the streets until spring but will pack enough punch to keep patients satisfied, says the official government grower.
It will probably be two or three months before people with medical exemptions will have access to his crop because Health Canada has yet to decide how medical marijuana will be packaged and distributed, said Brent Zettl, president of Prairie Plant Systems.”
And there is anticipation, CHR Eyes Medicinal Pot ‘Room’.
The war on youth is given some perspective, Teenager Caught Partying! Police Swoop! World Ends! that seems to be lost on our law makers/enforcers as this year progresses and children unwittingly become pawns in a deadly game, Schoolroom Talk About Plants Giving Away Parents’ Grow
February reveals why exercises like Greensweep are taking place, U.S. Pot War Comes North against an unwilling public, Decriminalize Pot, Says Poll. When Police Seize Houses, Cars In Pot-Grow Cases, we know we are inching ever closer to the American-style corrupt War on Citizens.
Is it any wonder people want to Just Say No To Rhetoric,
“No word on how to reduce that demand, how to take the aching hopelessness out of poverty, how to inject positive mentors into neighbourhoods teeming with gangs yet devoid of fathers, how to move the disenfranchised into the main
No words, in fact, except the rhetoric.
As long as we continue to “fight” the “war” on drugs, rather than treat substance abuse as the health care issue it is, addicts will remain the enemy instead of who they really are. Our neighbours, co-workers, family and friends. “.
Although no parent wants their child to do drugs, or especially bring them to school, ‘This Is A Wake-Up Call’ concerning the psychological abuse of our children that’s occurring, and how prohibition puts our children at risk, Tainted Pot Sickens 4. Yet apathy and/or ignorance reigns, and an uncaring government that demands regulated pet food, remains unmoved to regulate a human product.
Things went Zigzagging Forward in March as we watched more of Our Tax Dollars Go Up In Smoke To Pay For Federal Drug Policy. There is really no comfort either that Inflation Is Alive, Well In Police Drug Squad Reports.
Thanks solely to prohibition, another harsh economic lesson shows us how a commodity that realistically is worth no more than corn or tomatoes, is worth it’s weight in gold, Indoor Pot is Ontario’s Third-Largest Cash Crop.
Despite efforts to emulate American drug policy, Yanks Seek B.C. Refuge because our more moderate approach still provides a haven for the prey of US drug war zealots.
But when it is left to law enforcement to police health issues, Medical Marijuana Claimed By Exemptees Destroyed By OPP and Pot Eases Man’s Pain, But Not Legal Troubles, 52,000 Canadian Doctors Want Marijuana Decriminalized, because like others, they realize Marijuana Is Not A Joke.
Some public outcry concerning police involvement in the schools, Kelvin One Cool School was publicized but isn’t enough to stop the harassment of our children, Raids Regularly Arranged By School Boards.
News broke out on all fronts in April in The War Against Drugs; another study (it isn’t studied enough?), the police agenda, medical marijuana and the plight of our children.
Although Canadians have never shown any particular interest in their IQs, a nation-wide media frenzy about a Carleton University study with headlines ranging from Smoking Pot No Risk To IQ, Study Says to Pot Does Rot Your Brain was unleashed on an unsuspecting public, leaving many more confused than ever.
We seem to be regularly reminded of the popularity of cannabis, Pot The Top Crop, especially when Police Can’t Keep Up With ‘Grow’ Houses. But rather than admit prohibition isn’t working, more scare tactics are employed to keep the public fearful of Asian people, “In Vancouver, police say 85 per cent of grow operations are run by Vietnamese, two per cent by outlaw bikers and the rest by small-time growers trying to make some extra money.Growbusters 1 Of 5
And the grow houses themselves – which are sometimes more harshly referred to as ‘drug labs’, particulary in the East:
“Growbuster drug cops wear only gardening gloves, looking far more casual than their colleagues in Waterloo Region, who look more like scientists entering a contaminated laboratory. They sport full-length protective paper suits, goggles and breathing gear on their faces, and wear two pairs of gloves each”. Growbusters 4 Of 5
The little announcement on what lengths (and expense) they are willing to go to suppress the ability of Canadians to access a plant that has never claimed a life, War On Drugs Goes Into Orbit and to how low they are willing to go, Police Anonymous to harass people, could be part of the reason one newspaper stated, It’s Time To Take A Deep Breath And Legalize Marijuana , “In Waterloo Region and across Canada, high-priced police carrying submachine-guns invest vast amounts of time and money in a losing battle to enforce marijuana laws that the public and governments no longer care about.”
It’s now sort of official that Feds Shelve Medical Marijuana, and as usual, courageous, compassionate citizens again jump in to fill the void, Medical Marijuana Club Opens In Nova Scotia while one doctor laments, Lack Of Common Sense Forces Patients To Suffer. In some cases, judicial damage control helps some people in a system run amok, Man Gets Absolute Discharge In Court Battle Over Medical Marijuana.
Learning Without Fear didn’t come easy for one student, but the youth who stood up to the system is vindicated when the Principal Apologizes To Boy Barred For Pot Odour. A classic example of wrong policies being righted when citizens actively oppose, rather than submit to, questionable tactics. Unfortunately it just results in trying to condition them at a younger age, Police Dog Visits Schools As Part Of Drug Awareness.
What does the government do in response to all the events of the month? It sabotages any hope at progress, Pot Bill Defeat Angers MP
In May the irony must have escaped our law makers and enforcers that Stats Confirm Key Role Alcohol Plays In Crime because National Pot Bust Nets 255 is what they would rather be doing, even though
Prohibition Has Little Effect On Pot-smoking: Report. It made one citizen wonder How Many ‘Burbs Must The Drug War Burn, Before We Call It A Bust. And it didn’t escape citizens world-wide, Activists Stage Smoke-In For Legal Pot.
Even David Sweanor, counsel for the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association stated, “There’s no question that cigarette smoking is massively more harmful than marijuana. The reality is that marijuana is not killing people and tobacco is killing 45,000 a year.”
With support for prohibition from the usual suspects, US Fears Drug Spillover from Canada, an opportunity is never missed to sow more intolerance, Drug Users Finance Terrorism, RCMP Says, racism, Chief’s Memo On Asian Pot Draws Fire, or fear, Deadly Days For Pot Trade, in hopes of getting more neighbours to turn on one another. It is rarely mentioned that ending prohibition would eliminate most of the fear, danger, and financing.
In one municipality, victimless crime was put on hold to aid victims of crime, Attention Diverted From Drug Enforcement, “Officers normally assigned to drug-enforcement were shifted during the beginning of the year to focus on a rash of break-ins…. During that time the number of drug-related charges dropped as a result, by 35 per cent.”
It is obvious that Health Canada Needed Our Pot Pros because although it is using the same seed stock as cannabis consumers, the Government Admits: Our Marijuana Is Bad Weed. As damage control to criticism about bungling the med pot program, it pathetically shifts the blame by saying, Medical Marijuana Program Thrown For A Loop When U.S. Refused To Supply Seeds for an inferior product.
The truth gets out this time when we are told Official Pot’s Not Bad, It’s Too Potent, Grower Says. Sadly, it is the last we hear from Prairie Plant Systems.
However, to keep the masses appeased, one of those little innuendos is dropped in this sub-title and floated out, Bad News For Medical Users, But Decriminalization Gets Closer All The Time.
Meanwhile sick Canadians have had enough and go on the offensive in civil court, Group Going To Court For Medical Pot while other sick adults are still being punished, Judge Rejects Medicinal Pot Claim even though most people believe Using Marijuana To Alleviate Pain Hardly Criminal.
Remember the competition from a Montreal citizen initiative the government tried to shut down in 2000 ? It is still battling out in court, Compassion Club Trial May Weigh Feds’ Pot Rules.
In the ongoing saga played out in the schools, do parents really want Students Taught Lesson in how authority can abuse it’s position?
June is more of the same as one Canadian sums up, Its His Right To Toke, Hemp Store Owner Says.
Will the government listen when a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Doc Says Pot Less Harmful Than Booze And Tobacco Calls For Legalization? Or when a Landmark Pot Study Points Out Futility Of Current Laws?.
We are relieved to know that 1-800-222-8477 ( T-I-P-S ) IS WORTH THE CALL and, “Though most of the tips are concerning drugs, even if marijuana is legalized, Crime Stoppers won’t be put out of business.” How assurring that it is also there for real crime because the Police Powerless To Stop B.C. Marijuana Boom. When the Drug Czar Calls For War On Marijuana During Visit the obliging Cops Declare War On Weed.
More innocent people are hurt by the irrational laws, Landlord On The Hook For $14,000 Hydro Bill and rather than explain the dangers of prohibition, the dangers of the consequences of prohibition are regularly served up, Pot Farms Conceal Deadly Risks, which leads many to assume that often the media is usually nothing more than a public service announcement outlet. At least the police are having fun, Two Cops Guilty Of Improper Conduct.
Another sick Canadian is off the hook when an Ill Man Wins Court Battle Over Marijuana Conviction. Perhaps the irony of the situation escaped one judge when a
Man Convicted Of Trafficking Pot May Get To Smoke Up In Prison, “A man convicted of trafficking drugs in New Brunswick could find himself legally smoking pot behind bars.
Despite the oppressive laws on the books, Vancouver still wins the dubious distinction as the City Voted World’s Top Spot For Pot.
Are the kids okay? No, derogatory comments continue to foster intolerance,
13 Pot Smokers Charged, “A Waterloo Regional Police initiative against Cambridge high school druggies resulted in 13 students being charged for pot smoking in the first three days.”
The weather isn’t the only thing that heats up in July as corruption continues, Cop Faces Two More Charges In Drug Case “RCMP charged Const. Joseph Daniel ( Danny ) Ryan, 31, on Friday with stealing less than $5,000 from a teenager in Glen Haven, Halifax County, and another count of breach of trust for using the seized cash for his own purposes,” more innocent people are harmed, Break-In ‘Mistake’ By Cops Enrages Family and more lives ruined, Pot Possession Up, But ‘Incidental’. But for every life and career sacrificed to prohibition, there is a new one born, Extra Prosecutors Hired For Pot Cases.
Dividing the population against itself with the monthly reminders that, Dope Growers Rip Off Public and Canadian Narcotics Trade Aids Terrorists, RCMP Say, meets the truth head-on when we are honestly told, Why Drugs And Terrorism Mix, “Drugs don’t enrich thugs; the criminal law does. RCMP bosses know it. They should look beyond self-interest, and be honest about what is really putting cash in terrorists’ pockets.”
Of course, even a hint of any reform discussion becomes a battle of sovereignty, U.S. To Canada – ‘Lax’ Marijuana Laws Hinder War On Drugs as more US Cannabis Refugees Cross Border because justice stills occurs here that doesn’t at home, Rights Agency Nixes Workplace Drug Tests.
When the Truth Be Told, do we really need a reminder that In Canada, Marijuana Possession is Still Illegal? Or does it help set the stage for one of those recurring little innuendos, Cauchon Might Relax Canada’s Marijuana Laws To Do Away With Prison Time that the media saturates us with.
In the battle against lawmakers/enforcers, Canadians continue to call their bluff and pursue all options toward a regulated market, Pot Crusader Ready To Enter Politics with help from some of the judicial system, Dope Smoker Off Hook
and fellow citizens, Marijuana ‘Pharmacist’ Wins Praise For His Work, .
After some students learned the true lesson of victimless crime: passing grades for betrayal, and penalties for trust, the Drug-Bust Students Can Return To Class for more of the curriculum, “The seven were suspended for the rest of the school year after police took students from the school in handcuffs Nov. 30. An undercover police officer posing as a student had purchased marijuana and ecstasy at Kelvin.”
Perhaps if more families follow this example, Family Sues Durham School Board, and agree, Let’s Just Say No To The Drug War and immediately Reform Marijuana Laws, we could begin to foster the development of positive values that coincide more closely with what responsible parents try to instill – the Golden Rule of ‘do onto to others, as you would have others do onto you’ .
Lastly, Please Smoke Pot Before You Read This: Because everyone knows that pot culture and the mainstream are really one and the same thing, William Thorsell, president and CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum thinks that At Last, the Toke Can Be Told.
August scorches us with truth of how the police who “serve and protect” seem to have a different agenda.
It is well known that awhile back, a car containing explosives meant to carry out a terrorist action, was discovered on the ferries, and now in the 911 aftermath we assume the police are stepping up their efforts to protect us. But it appears they are too busy policing morality, Police Dogs Hunt Drugs On Ferries, spurring, Pot Lovers Fight For Their B.C. Sea Weed.
Growbusters Get Vote Of Confidence to justify the marginalization of victims of government cut-backs and other citizens, RCMP Bust 86-Year-Od For Pot Grow. And of course, more public aid is enlisted, Amateur Pilots Helping Police In Marijuana Scout.
To further the cultural divide, disparaging headlines aimed at users of a plant specific to African society automatically makes it a threat to Canadian culture, even though it is legal in Britan and many other countries, New Law Sends Druggies Packing, “RCMP Sgt. Joe McAllister said the men were nabbed with suitcases of the East African bark-like drug khat after arriving here on a Lufthansa flight from London Heathrow.”
Hurray! Our fragile sovereignty is held in check in one instance, U.S. Agent Scolded By B.C. Judge. As more Alien Agents Prowl Among Us to Thwart Traffickers, we look for leadership on the issue and discover that, Ottawa Strangely Silent On DEA.
With school out and no students to bully, the lawmakers/enforcers decide to harass the sick with a vengeance, ‘Medicine’ Seized In Bust Of Pot Club, making sure they miss no one, even the legally entitled, Marijuana Seized From MS Sufferer. Just when life can’t get any rougher for some of the ill, it needlessly does, With Supply Dry, Patients Turn to Street Sources.
Meanwhile, needing new fish to fry, the police sit back and wait for spurned lovers and others with an axe to grind to make themselves a little pocket money, Help Wanted To Nab Local Pot Growers.
To perhaps justify why the mandated government supply is not working while callously shutting down the un-mandated citizen initiative that was working, the Health Minister tries to explain the pain of politics over quality-of-life issues, Medical Marijuana Worries McLellan, “Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan says she is uncomfortable with allowing people to smoke marijuana for medical reasons and wants its benefits to be scientifically proven first.”,
But that is not what sick Canadians wanted to hear, Medicinal Marijuana User Takes Ottawa, Province, And College Of Physicians To Court. Another dose of Double-Talk On Weed spews from the government, as they once again clamour for damage control, Pot Plan Still On Front Burner,
while more streets fill with Medicinal Pot Users Protest Delays.
Many Canadians were shocked, surprised and delighted in September when the Senate Committee’s Final Report recommended we Legalize and Regulate Cannabis says Senate Committee because Unenforced Marijuana Laws Breed Only Contempt for Legal System. This was definitely a departure from the usual innuendo which we are reminded has been around for a long time, Chretien Pushed Pot Law Reforms In 1981.
Another reality check, Experts – Alcohol the Leading Date-Rape gets swept aside by upholding prohibition at all costs – the innocent victims, Botched Raid Leaves Family In Shock, the spreading corruption, Judge Tosses Case, Cop Scandal Grows, and promotion of negative values, It’s Good To Be Nosy.
It’s worth repeating that when the Police Chief Slams Legal Pot Plan, and the Hell’s Angels are the only other group en masse that agree, the underlying Vested Interest of each group points to the same thing – and it is not the well-being of Canadians.
As Americans Flock To Canada Over Its Lax Marijuana Rules, the heavy artillery is brought in to be the U.S. administration’s mouthpiece, Don’t Make Pot Legal, UN Official Warns.
The absurdity of legal or not is played out once again, claiming another ill Canadian, Nova Scotia Judge Rules Against Man Who Wants To Smoke Medicinal Pot In Prison.
In October, our unofficial masters respond to the Senate Committee’s Report, US Warns Against Liberalizing Laws On Pot. Our lawmakers will comply, so we can look forward to the regular stories of – you guessed it – more innocent victims, Dog Shot In Botched Drug Raid, and more corruption, Police Drug Squad Hit With Lawsuits while they look for more ways to persecute citizens, Cops Want Homes Seized
and increase the costs to society, Jail Time Now More Likely For Marijuana Growers.
Instead of being happy that Ottawa Probes Marijuana’s Effect On Pain, people are alarmed to learn that the First Clinical Pot Trial To Use U.S. Stash and that the official Canadian grower has been silenced, Lie of the Week, “Government lawyers won’t be questioning Brent Zettl, the guy contracted by the feds to grow medical pot, when the case of the eight patients suing the government for access to the weed resumes next Friday, October 18. Seems Zettl has sworn an affidavit putting the big lie to Health Minister Ann McLellan’s claim that his weed isn’t fit for consumption and therefore can’t be released.”
Lawmakers try to play both sides, Marijuana Expert’s Credibility In Questioned while fearful MDs Refuse To Prescribe Medicinal Pot, disastrously leaving enforcers to play health experts, Police Delay Return Of Seized Pot Plants.
As usual, it is left to citizens to make up for government shortfalls, and in this case it is ensuring reliable information on cannabis is available, Cannabis Health Journal Set For Weekend
Back in the schools, to brace students and parents for another onslaught, the media goes to work on behalf of the lawmakers/enforcers, Drug Arrests at High Schools No Cause for Panic we are assured, because the Right To Privacy Diminished At School. This means its okay for Random Drug Raids Target High Schools and for Drug-Sniffing Dog Patrols School Hallways.
By November, the rhetoric, propaganda and mixed messages reach a fever pitch as we now hear that, ” ‘It’s Not ‘Just’ Marijuana’, is one of the messages that the Halton Regional Health Department is emphasizing during Drug Awareness Week, which began Sunday and ends tomorrow.” This exemplifies Why Drug Education Doesn’t Work.
John Walters is shown how some Canadians feel toward U.S. meddling, Local Potheads Shout Down Bush’s Drug Czar, and the willingness to help keep southern consumers happy, Canada Ranks Third Supplying U.S. Pot. The export market is probably why B.C. Pot Industry Grows Despite Raids.
Green Sweep 3 Continues Pot House Crackdown, yet still the Police Seek More Power To Shut Down Pot Houses and publicly recruit new targets, Help Needed To Stem Pot Supply: Cops,
and create new innocent victims, 43 Kids Caught In Middle Of National Grow-Op Raids, and unintended consequences, Drugs Behind Home Invasions – Cops.
Even when mandated to do the right thing, Return Pot To Ailing BC Man, RCMP Told, the police balk at improving someone’s quality of life.
It appears the first batch of government pot was burned or went AWOL, Flin Flon Pot Useless For Testing: McLellan, The first batch of marijuana grown by a private company under a Health Canada contract was useless for clinical trials and had to be burned, Health Minister Anne McLellan told Montreal’s La Presse in an interview published yesterday”, and we are assured the second crop will be rendered useless too, Flin Flon Pot to Escape Fiery Fate, “Crop won’t be burned, but used for testing and germinating, McLellan’s office says”.
When an American newspaper looked at the med pot program here in Canada, it couldn’t help notice, US, Doctors, Users Criticize Canada Medical-Pot Program.
The Reaction Mixed To In-School Drug Testing as students and parents try and absorb more atrocious drug war tactics, so when the Police Raid Two Local High Schools they are asked to Keep Drug Dogs On Short Leash because the Legality Of Drug Dogs In Schools Questioned.
The very worst consequence of prohibition rears its ugly head when a Teen’s Suicide Linked To Hockey Suspension For Pot, and discovering it isn’t an isolated case, Circumstances ‘Eerily Similar’ In Two Boys’ Suicides. How many more and what will it take to lessen the carnage?
There is one thing that everyone agrees on, Message Mixed On Pot, Say Cops, Policy Advisers.
December was a month of contrasts, as evidenced in the world view. It is easy for Canadians to forget that Many Other Countries Try Decriminalization, and the Dutch Could Teach US A Lot About Marijuana Laws when we are constantly subjected to the Drug Czar Talks About Tightening At Border. Much to his chargin, most of us find Insulting U.S. Rhetoric Overshadows Real Problems With Pot Reform and think the Paranoid American Drug Czar Should Butt Out. Even a former U.S. Surgeon-General agrees that Canada Has It Right On Marijuana.
When a government Committee To Recommend 30-Gram Pot Limit, it became time for the usual innuendo from the Justice Minister to get it’s monthly air-time, Ottawa Set To Ease Pot Laws, so the Supreme Court Questions Ottawa’s Marijuana Stance and delayed the highly anticipated cases until the spring of 2003. The confusion was becoming too much for some, Local Judge Won’t Conduct Pot Possession Trials.
After lawmakers/enforcers tried for two long years, the Court Upholds Drug Acquittal in the precedent-setting Alberta ruling, effectively allowing anyone there to challenge the cultivation laws, with another Medicinal Marijuana Club Acquitted right behind it. Until the government fulfills it’s mandate, citizens will continue in their efforts, One-Click Marijuana Shopping for Sick Canadians to help one another to a better quality of life.
ROLE OF THE MEDIA
Not only have things not changed much from year to year, predictably, since the Year 2000 Review, the public mood is the same, the U.S. reaction stronger, our collective response to the threats still unmoved, but just like the LeDain Commission and many Canadians, the Senate Committee noticed that things haven’t even changed from decade to decade. After examining media articles from as far back as the 20’s and 30’s, they conclude:
Beyond the verbal impact of these articles and racism toward Asians, there is some similarity between the messages being conveyed at that time and some contemporary messages about drugs: drugs attack the moral roots of society, the family in particular. They put young people at risk and cause crime and violence. Dealers are everywhere, especially around schools, ready to do whatever it takes to expand their client base. And drugs, by definition, lead to drug addiction.
The Senate Committee’s Report on the Media, Chapter 10
With a growing awareness of the media’s role in society, public scrutiny is becoming more common for accountability and accuracy to see whose interests it serves. The failure to accurately report on events in Venezuela, the drug war and the Middle East, is causing citizens to seek alternative media sources like blogs, Indymedia, or other sources dedicated to honesty.
That does not mean, of course, that the newspaper articles were the main reason why drugs were criminalized. Nor does it mean that people ultimately believed what was written. Still, analysts of the evolution of drug laws in Canada agree that the media played an important role in shaping Canadian drug legislation.
The Senate Committee’s Report on the Media, Chapter 10
As the media is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, it appears more than ever to be accepting of the status quo, perpetuating prohibition and promoting intolerance of persons who use illegal substances. Readers notice when a Headline Derogatory because we will never see, Alchie’s Are Less Intelligent, Study Finds, Mounties Get Their Jews, Rednecks Smiling After Report, There’s Hope For Prozac-heads, or this line, “Fortunately for the druggies, the same study revealed the IQ bounced back after use was discontinued”.
We must always remember that the power of the media to become a blatant propaganda machine can not be easily dismissed and our viligence is required because In The Wrong Hands, The Media Is Dangerous.