SKEENA BULKLEY VALLEY NDP MP Nathan Cullen continues his campaign to be leader of his party by saying marijuana should be decriminalized.
“Prohibition clearly has not achieved its goals and it’s time our laws stopped criminalizing people whom society does not see as criminals,” said Cullen in response to a questionnaire from NDP members who want marijuana to be legalized.
He also favoured increasing access to marijuana for medicinal use.
Cullen also backed InSite, a supervised drug injection site in Vancouver, saying it reduces crime, saves lives and reduces drug dependence.
“Society benefits from the approach used in Vancouver, which focuses on harm reduction. We don’t benefit from the expensive approach to crime shown by the Harper government, which has demonstrably failed where embraced in the United States,” Cullen said in response to a questionnaire from a group of NDP members called End Prohibition: NDP Against the Drug War.
“I would be very supportive of harm reduction programs like InSite, and reducing the police and court resources used to prosecute marijuana possession. However, I believe enforcement has a role, particularly at the border,” Cullen continued.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has failed to close the InSite location after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled its benefits outweighed banning the possession of illegal drugs on its premises.
Cullen is one of eight people running for the leadership of the federal NDP, a post which became open following the death of Jack Layton late last summer.
Three of the candidates who responded called for taxation and regulation of marijuana.
End Prohibition was begun by Dana Larsen who also had a hand in forming federal and provincial Marijuana Parties. He was also a candidate for the provincial NDP leadership last year.
“Simply put, Canadians do not want to increase penalties for marijuana, they do not want to continue to waste money jailing people for a handful of marijuana plants for personal use, and they want to see alternatives to this costly and unjustified war Mr. Harper is waging on marijuana and harm reduction,” said Larsen in a press release.