Monday, March 07, 2005

Canada: Attitudes about pot laws could change in the wake of the deaths of four mounties.

Ontario community safety minister Monte Kwinter and Toronto police chief Julian Fantino said Canada’s largest city had more marijuana growing operations than the whole of the US. Mr Kwinter said proceeds from Toronto’s drug trade were "used as currency by the criminal element to buy guns and drugs from the United States and bring them back to Canada". "We have as many grow-ops in metro Toronto as the United States. There should be much harsher penalties for grow-op owners," he said. Mr Fantino called the problem an "epidemic" in the Greater Toronto Area. "People don’t like me talking about stiffer sentences. But in actual fact, so many of the people we deal with have been given but a kiss by the system and I would say that the majority of them are all career criminals," he said. The killing last Thursday of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers during what should have been a routine raid on the marijuana farm near Edmonton, Alberta, has destroyed the notion that marijuana cultivation is the harmless pursuit of a few old hippies. "

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