Friday, October 28, 2011

Stop the Violence: Cannabis prohibition, organized crime, and gangs

Stop the Violence BC (British Colombia, Canada) is a new coalition of academics, past and present members of law enforcement, and the general public, concerned about the links between cannabis prohibition in BC and the growth of organized crime and related violence in the province.

Check out the new website here

New animated short video explaining the issues and introduing the new organisation:

From the website:

What is Stop the Violence BC’s objective?

Stop the Violence is an educational campaign seeking to improve community safety by broadening the public’s understanding of the link between cannabis prohibition and gang violence. Guided by the best available scientific evidence, Stop the Violence BC is calling for cannabis to be governed by a strict regulatory framework aimed at limiting use while also starving organized crime of the profits they currently reap as a result of prohibition.

Why are you calling for the regulation of cannabis?

Using regulatory tools proven effective at reducing tobacco use will undercut the huge profits cannabis driving violent organized crime in BC. Not only that, cannabis regulation may also improve community health by making cannabis harder for young people to access, lessening cannabis grow-op associated property damage, and freeing up law enforcement resources to focus on criminal activity where law enforcement can reduce harm.
This initiative is being launched with a new report that 'outlines the links between cannabis prohibition in BC and the growth of organized crime and related violence in the province. The report also defines the public health concept “regulation” and seeks to set the stage for a much needed public conversation and action on the part of BC politicians'.

Click image to read:


Jake said...

Great video but slightly hypocritical at 1m05s where it says that prohibition "helps fund criminal activities like importing Cocaine". It sounds like its trying to distinguish the prohibition of Cannabis from that of Cocaine - It could be argued that Cocaine profits help set up and fund Cannabis farms and associated gangs etc.

I applaud the rest of the video in both its quality and overall message, but wish that they hadn't jumped on the 'cannabis prohibition is bad' but 'cocaine prohibition is good' bandwagon. We are all in this together, but by playing on 'cocaine fear' in trying to justify the benefits of one substances' regulation over another does miss a pretty substantial point in that any drugs prohibition makes it more dangerous and subject to gangs (and associated violence).

Steve Rolles said...

i think thats a reasonable point to call them on, but perhaps the argument is really that cannabis profits can fuel other criminal enterprises - many of which are worse than cannabis. Agree its a bit clumsy though (they also do the relative harms point re alcohol/tobacco) in terms of the bigger picture - but from my work with the people who put the film together I can tell you they are pragmatic on all areas of drug policy - they do get it.

Jake said...

Steve, I'm sure they do get it, but then they are not trying to influence themselves.. Its only a small part of the video, and a very good video at that, I just wish they hadn't derided one drugs 'illegal image' in order to promote another as many people watching won't see the folly in prohibition as a whole. They might think its still ok to prohibit Cocaine but not Cannabis.. even if it is at a very basic tacit level. They should have just left out cocaine and kept it as guns (and maybe something else such as Human trafficking which happens on the back of the drugs trade and is more damaging than Cocaine)... just my 2 pence.. not trying to be overly critical as, as I said, it is still a great video :-)

Steve Rolles said...

I agree, but theres also the valid point that criminal market structures extablished for one prohibited drug provide the basis for bringing others to the market. Alcohol prohitbition got the ball rolling on that front.

Julian said...

but cocaine is bad and the more we seperate the image of cocaine and marijuana into categories of drugs that are not as harmful (marijuana, cigarettes, etc.) and drugs that are volatile (cocaine, heroin, lsd, etc.) the more informed the public will be. We could then work with the image of drugs that are accepted but are still foolish to use rather than just lumping all drugs into this class of criminal activity that really gives a bad impression to society at large of the marijuana user. Pot is the most pacifying drug out there and the less dangerous people see it as then the less dangerous it really is. Although I don't fully agree with the government gaining all the manufacturing power it's still a better solution than painting the pot head as a criminal.