Are Canada cannabis cases detracting from real justice? There’s no denying the judicial system in Canada is struggling to keep up. Prosecutors have even dropped some very important cases. These include crimes such as homicide and even repeated rape of minors, yet the police are taking time to raid cannabis dispensaries.
What’s more, charges against medical marijuana activist, Dana Larsen, who gave away low THC cannabis seeds, will be followed up despite more serious crimes needing urgent attention. His case will take up two days in court. Larson is challenging the logic that led to this state of affairs.
This unbelievable story came under the spotlight in a Huffington Post report recently. Its report says that murderers can walk free while cannabis cases take center stage.
Canadian courts in crisis
The Canadian justice system is experiencing a crisis. This is a very serious threat to any country. Hearing such news about a civilized and relatively peaceful country like Canada, however, comes as a shock.
Allegedly, 6,500 cases in Ontario could soon be dropped because of court delays. These cases are serious and include 38 cases of homicide and attempted murder. A horrific case involving a man arrested for raping a minor more than 100 times is among the cases already dropped. In addition, two murder cases were dropped last year because of delays in going to trial.
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Low priority to murder
One would assume that in Canada, cannabis crimes would be assigned a very low priority on a list of cases going to over-congested courts. However, these cases are still taking up courts’ time. Raids on dispensaries are increasingly frequent, and minor cannabis law infringements still get taken to court across the country.
Dana Larsen, a cannabis activist from Vancouver, was arrested in April last year in Calgary. At the time, he was busy with his “Overgrow Canada” campaign which aimed to plant one million cannabis seeds in public spaces across Canada. He had already visited 14 cities before his arrest.
Police seized 119 grams of marijuana, 1,100 grams of low-THC cannabis seeds, some cannabis resin, and cannabis oil from Larsen’s van. Police charged him with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
High priority to Canada cannabis prosecution
Larsen commented that the last person in Canada to be charged for selling cannabis seeds received a $500 fine. Now, courts will be using two days of their precious time to prosecute him for giving away low-THC cannabis seeds.
Meanwhile, murderers and rapists might walk free, simply because courts don’t have enough time for their trials. Larson calls the situation “absurd,” and when one considers that Canada is working on full legalization of cannabis, it seems even more ridiculous.
Recently, the police spent hundreds of man-hours planning and executing raids on Cannabis Culture outlets or dispensaries in Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton, and Ottawa. Lengthy investigations, months of paperwork, and of course, many hours of court time follow these arrests.
This would be acceptable if dangerous criminals weren’t getting off the hook, but they are.
Larsen sees every single raid as an assault on the Canadian judicial system. He argues that every single dollar spent on these raids and following these cases through would be better spent on enforcing the law when serious or violent crimes are committed.
Canada cannabis raids: legalizing needs more policing?
Legal reforms are moving very slowly despite Trudeau’s promises to undo minimum mandatory sentences which resulted in increased time spent in court. And he could be backtracking on his promise to prioritize marijuana legalization too.
A spokesperson for the government has said that legalizing cannabis would increase the need for a larger police force. This seems more than a little bit strange. More police to enforce something that is legal? Surely normal regulation paid for with cannabis taxes should be adequate.
Larson is quick to point out the flaw in the logic. Meanwhile, he says, courts hear cannabis cases while killers walk free.