Madam Speaker, I can only say that the latitude police officers currently enjoy has really been taken away from them. I share the frustration of enforcement officers who pick up somebody with 15 grams of marijuana and spend the rest of the shift processing that particular charge. It takes police officers off the street. They are unable to do the work they probably believe they were hired to do. No cop wants to spend his or her time arresting drunks or arresting kids for a half a lid of pot, but the decriminalization contemplated by the federal government would have the effect of even more people being punished, not fewer.
Police used to have the latitude to say, “It's only a few joints, let`s just seize it from the kid, flush it down the toilet and send the kid home”. Now that person will get a ticket. Some people will not pay their tickets. Then a bench warrant will be issued. Then they will be in the criminal justice system, not for the marijuana but for not paying their fines, and we will be clogged up again.
The prediction is that there will be literally hundreds of thousands more of these fines given out than there are prosecutions and charges laid currently. Many of those people will default and fail to pay them, so again we will be wasting our resources on something that is really meaningless.
As I said, the Liberal government is proposing what would be viewed as a cutting edge plan if this were 1968. It is not even as progressive as the Le Dain commission of 20 years ago.