The modern War on Drugs has continued for roughly forty years and yet victory remains distant. Despite decades of heavy enforcement, today illegal drugs are cheaper, stronger and more available than ever before. In recent years, the Canadian government has tried to follow the United States by legislating minimum jail sentences for certain drug offences. First there was bill C-26, then bill C-15 and now bill S-10. There is no evidence to prove these mandatory sentences will reduce drug trafficking, but there is evidence to suggest that increased drug enforcement will result in higher levels of black market violence. In this context it becomes clear that gradually ending drug prohibition is the key to criminal justice reform. Only then can we regulate the consensual adult behaviour surrounding drug use, refocus scarce law enforcement resources and ultimately address the serious problem of drug addiction in our society.
David Bratzer is a member of the board of directors for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP is an international non-profit organization of current and former cops, prosecutors and correctional officers who seek to minimize crime, addiction, disease and death by gradually legalizing and regulating drugs. David is also concerned about the impact of drug prohibition on our education system, and in this respect he assists Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy as a member of their advisory board.