Saturday, August 06, 2005

When the Spirit and the Letter of the Law Don't Match

The Emery case inevitably brings up the issue of Canada's drug laws. I would be very surprised if someone could provide sound reasoning that the currents laws and by extension their enforcement are not in need of change. I can understand the call for tougher penalties and enforcing the existing laws, but simply disagree. Something I consistently advocate for is having the spirit and letter of the law match as closely as possible.

To illustrate my point, I will first talk about speed limits. Only a scant few people would want those who travel at 101 km/h on Ontario's 400 series highways to be ticketed, however anyone traveling at such speeds is breaking the law. Yet again, it is common knowledge that although the posted speed limit is 100km/h, drivers are safe going at 120km/h. I was even taught this fact in driving school. My belief is that the speed limits should on the aforementioned highways should be something more like 150 km/h. The common argument I hear in response to my suggestion is that then people would just go 180 km/h. That counter argument is made on the assumption that people break laws just because. They don't. Most people break laws because the laws are unreasonable. Most won't go 180 km/h on the 401 for the same reason that they won't go 100 km/h in a blizzard - it is unsafe to do so. Also the posted speed are called speed limits implying that they are the fastest speed one is allowed to drive at, not the speed one is supposed to drive at. I would hate to see the number of accidents if people interpreted the Ontario blood alcohol content limit the same way they interpret speed limits! Therefore, the government should post the limit they are willing to strictly enforce Doing so, eliminates any guessing as to which speeds are safe to drive at.

Hopefully, you now all understand the point I am going to make in regards to marijuana. Most Canadians do not think that smoking it should be a criminal offense. Like going 120 km/h on a 400 series highway, people can get away with smoking marijuana - most of the time. Sometimes it just happens to be the 23rd Tuesday and a full moon or any number of things that led to the marijuana laws being enforced on some unlucky individual. It is time for the government to either get tough or marijuana users or legalize their drug of choice. I strongly recommend that they take the latter option.


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