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Police officer calls for drug legalization

By admin | May 28, 2009

Police officer calls for drug legalization

By Katie Derosa, Times Colonist February 16, 2009 1:05 AM

Canada’s drug laws are harmful, result in repeat offenders and waste taxpayers’ money, a Victoria police officer told a group of students and marijuana activists yesterday.

David Bratzer was speaking at the 10th annual Cannabis Convention, held at the University of Victoria by the student society’s Hempology 101 Club and the International Hempology 101 Society.

“We have an environment where law-enforcement officers are realizing these laws are ineffective,” said Bratzer, speaking as a member of the U.S.-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

He emphasized that his views are personal, not those of the Victoria Police Department.

As a patrol officer in an urban area of Victoria, Bratzer said he sees the same addicts getting arrested over and over for break and enter or robbery, crimes they commit to feed their drug habits. He also sees street kids shooting up in back alleys with dirty needles and without supervision, and many die as a result.

As for the recent spate of violent and brazen gang slayings in Vancouver, Bratzer calls them “drug-prohibition deaths,” arguing they’re the result of gang members fighting to control the multi-billion-dollar illegal drug market.

Bratzer said a significant amount of police time — and thus taxpayers’ money — is spent battling drug crimes.

The solution, he said, is to gradually legalize and regulate all drugs so they can be taken out of the hands of illegal gangs.

Bratzer, a clean-cut man in glasses and khaki pants, said instead of preaching to the converted, he plans to take his message to Rotary clubs, business groups and other “more conservative” organizations.

Law-enforcement officials, who deal with the adverse effects of drug prohibition every day, are able to more effectively champion the cause for legalization, said Ted Smith, president of the International Hempology 101 Society.

“It’s one thing to put us off as a bunch of potheads, but when sober, intelligent people speak out, their opinion carries a lot of weight because of that.”

Yesterday’s event featured guest speakers, including Ed deVries, founder of the Nunavut Marijuana party; displays set up with various drug paraphernalia; and, of course, the distinct smell of pot wafting in from outside.

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