CKNW News Radio Sean Leslie Show – October 21 2012

Sean Leslie of CKNW speaks to Ranj Dhaliwal about “politicians using the cloak of gang violence to legalize marijuana as a way to score PR points with voters.”

Some of Ranj Dhaliwal’s recent statements on this issue:

“I don’t think politicians are doing anything more than using the cloak of gang violence and legalizing marijuana as a way to score points with voters. The marijuana street dealers aren’t at war – the cocaine and crack dealers are. If they want to legalize it for domestic personal use then they should say so. Prove it isn’t harmful and can be regulated then go ahead with their lobbying to legalize it, but don’t use the notion that gang violence will reduce to do so.”

“I don’t see the correlation between simple marijuana possession and gang violence. The majority of marijuana cultivated by organized crime is shipped across the border for sale, and traded for guns and harder drugs like cocaine. Unless our brethren across the border in the US legalize marijuana, there will always be a demand for the product, and that demand will be filled by organized crime. A prime example to look at is prohibition. Alcohol was legal in Canada, but prohibited in the US, and that was violent, bloody and very lucrative for organized crime. Same goes for marijuana. Key word “prohibition”.”

“There is no basis to the argument that making possession of small amounts of marijuana will reduce gang violence. The nickel and dime marijuana dealers aren’t in a violent clash over turf. How many times do we hear that a low level marijuana dealer was shot? Or, there’s a bloody turf war going on over marijuana street sales? The profit for street dealers on a $10 a gram of marijuana is anywhere from $2 to $5 per gram sold. That’s not worth hiring a hit squad over, or justifying looking at a life sentence for murder.”

“I get it though, legalizing marijuana makes sense from a tax revenue point of view, but will it stop the sale of marijuana on the streets? No. Street dealers don’t charge tax, their prices are lower and the potency and grade is, and most likely will remain higher. Average Joe will probably buy it legit, but the rest will still look for the better bargain.”