Legalization Is Only the Start: Canada Must Do Right by Its ‘Cannabis Criminals’

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I started practising criminal law in 1984. I felt relieved that I was not starting my career within the dystopia of repression and fear prophesized for that year by George Orwell. However, I quickly discovered that the war on drugs had reached a fevered pitch by 1984, and that this futile war was fostering repression and a slow movement toward the Orwellian society of rampant state surveillance. Cannabis was still being demonized as the “smoke from hell” and billions of dollars were being wasted manufacturing cannabis criminals out of ordinary, law-abiding and productive citizens. Orwell’s prophecy may have been just a literary vision, but as a young lawyer, it seemed to me that only in a world of science fiction could a plant become public enemy No. 1.

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The Globe and Mail