Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

March 23, 2005 - The Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)

Stop Trying To Change The Laws Of Economics

By Michael T. Mulligan (Mulligan is a lawyer in Victoria)

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Marijuana grow operations have generated much public attention lately a result of both the tragic killings of four RCMP officers in Alberta and the media coverage of the recently released police-funded research on the topic in British Columbia.

As a criminal lawyer who frequently acts for people charged criminally with producing marijuana and offences related to this activity, I have considerable experience with the fallout of these matters.

No police-funded study was necessary to confirm that marijuana grow operations are a serious public concern. The list of problems associated with them is long: house fires, damaged rental properties, injuries and death resulting from police forcibly entering and searching homes as well as home invasions and robberies by criminals in search of marijuana plants.

Make no mistake, the consequences of this activity and the attempts to enforce the law have consequences for both people engaged in growing marijuana as well as those who do not.

Home invasions and police searches are not perfectly targeted affairs. You may be subject to either whether or not you are producing marijuana.

Of equal concern are the more indirect consequences of the present state of affairs: The underground economy that results from the profits to be made in the drug trade and the flourishing of organized criminal activity.

This has a cancerous effect in society. We wind up with criminal organizations, the laundering of the proceeds of crime, and the potential for corruption.

When we hear about the foregoing problems, we should remember this: They are all of our own making.

If it were possible to eliminate marijuana, alcohol, or a host of other problematic substances by declaring their production or possession to be criminal, to do otherwise would be irresponsible public policy.

The reality is that our attempts at prohibiting such things have been an abject failure. Despite all of our efforts anyone who wants marijuana, or much more detrimental drugs, is able to obtain them with ease. In Victoria, this is often accomplished on the lawn next to City Hall.

It's as it was with alcohol prohibition in the United States, which resulted not in an end to drinking, but the creation of Al Capone.

The blame for this state of affairs does not lie with either the police or the courts. They are simply doing their best to enforce the laws that presently exist. Neither institution has any hope of eliminating the supply of substances for which there is a demand.

The only effect they can have is to modestly restrict the supply and drive up the prices for those who are interested in purchasing these things. They do so at great public expense in terms of enforcement, prosecution and incarceration.

The answer does not lie with longer jail sentences. This has been tried and failed in the United States. It simply exacerbates the existing problems. Higher risk leads to higher prices and with them greater incentive to engage in the activity.

Were the production and possession of marijuana to be legalized, there would be no incentive to engage in any of the problematic behaviours that are associated with it.

How many rental houses have been damaged recently by exploding moonshine stills? What was the last time you heard of someone being injured as a result of a police raid on a speakeasy?

We need not lose any more young police officers in a futile attempt to turn back the laws of economics.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact