Friday, November 25, 2011

Vancouver Mayors support Pot and the Black Door



The Vancouver Sun is confirming what I heard on the radio this morning. Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver has joined four former city mayors in support of legalizing marijuana. He tweeted Thursday night: "Good to see 4 Vancouver ex-mayors calling for end of cannabis prohibition. I agree, we need to be smart and tax/regulate."

I don't want to be too cynical but I have some serious concerns. Which of those mayors were in charge when Vancouver City Hall bought the Drake Hotel from the Hells Angels to turn it into social housing? They gave the Hells Angels $2 million more than it was worth. You can't even call it a bribe because they didn't get anything in return. It was simply a $2 million misappropriation of social housing funds. Once again the DTES residents get screwed.

Let's see, Gregor Robertson was elected mayor November 2008 and the purchase of the Drake Hotel from the Hells Angels was in 2007. That would be when Sam Sullivan was mayor when the NPA formed a majority on City council. Legalizing pot is one thing but handing over $2 million marked for social housing to a criminal organization is another.

Which brings us back to the Black door. I've written about the Black door, twice, make that three times and notified the Gang Task Force. Nothing has been done about it. Freddy claims the VPD are well aware of it and let it operate. He claims they told them to shut down during the Olympics but let them open up again right after. Today, the Black door was the revolving door. People were in and out as it was doing major business.

Letting the Hells Angels sell pot is one thing but letting them use violence to control the market is another. They are not allowed to sell pot in the Amsterdam cafe. If they do, the city will shut them down. Then why does the City let the Hells Angels sell pot across the street at the Black door and the Vancity Bulldog Cafe? Letting one but not the other is wrong. In fact it is suspect.

My question is, when the Vancouver mayors say they want pot regulated, I have to ask by who? The Hells Angels? That is who the City is currently letting regulate it. Claiming that legalizing pot will eliminate organized crime is nonsense. Gambling is legal and there's plenty of organized crime involved with that.

Don't get me wrong, I much rather see them smoking pot in east van than crack but that is just on one corner. On another corner you can buy crack, another corner crystal meth and another corner you can buy heroin. All controlled and regulated by the Hells Angels. That is a massive amount of money changing hands. The City is fully aware of the problem because on welfare day they line up for their crack like for a boxing day sale. Instead of arresting the obvious dealer, they hand out free needles and crack pipes. This is inherently wrong.

Arresting everyone else but letting the Hells angels sell drugs is absolutely bizarre. Yet that is what City hall is now doing. So my question has merit. When the mayors of Vancouver say they want to regulate pot I'm forced to ask who they want to regulate it - the Hells Angels?

It's kind of strange that they be launching this public campaign right after a federal election when the Conservatives were given a majority government. It's kind of like the Rogue Page standing in Parliament with a Stop Harper sign right after he was elected. Shouldn't you be doing that before an election? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for free speech and I totally agree speaking out against certain policies of an elected government is not only a right but a civic duty. Yet the minority does not over rule the majority just because they yell louder.

At one time, Quebec Separatism was a huge issue with a huge following. It was hovering right around 49% for and 51% against. It was very close and was a significant issue. Yet just because the minority yell louder doesn't mean they are the democratic majority.

I fully agree that both extremes are absurd. One one side we have the 49% screaming for the legalization of pot. On the Other side we have the Harper government implementing mandatory minimum sentences for growing pot and demand the provinces pay for their legislation. Somewhere in the middle we have 69% of the population that says putting all those resources into incarcerating people for growing pot is a waste of time and taxes.

Legalizing pot would make it way more popular. Everyone would be pulling out the blunts and saying party! It's Mardi Gra! I'm not sure that would be such a great thing. Although there is a huge difference between pot and crack or meth, there are a lot of people out there that smoke way too much pot. Becoming potheads isn't something to brag about either. It still boils down to extremes and special interest trying to promote their own agenda.

Meanwhile we can all agree too many people are dying from the gang war. I'm just saying legalizing all drugs is irresponsible and legalizing pot most certainly won't stop the Hells angels from using violence to control or as the mayors say, "regulate" it.

My appeal for common ground is to leave the status quo, get rid of mandatory minimum sentences for growing pot and actually implement mandatory minimum sentences for violent crime and for selling hard drugs like crack or crystal meth. We see them selling crack on the corner. Arresting the crack dealers for selling crack not the users and putting them in jail for three months is not excessive. It is a goal within reach. And I still think that arresting everyone else for selling pot but letting the Hells Angels do it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

12 comments:

  1. I agree with most of what you say, although I have an issue with the idea that somehow pot would become more popular if it were legal.
    There is not one person in Vancouver who is sitting at home thinking "I would love to try smoking pot, but it's illegal and I don't know where to find any".
    The usage rates in Holland are substantially lower than in North America when it comes to marijuana, even though pot is available in numerous coffee shops in Holland.
    Once the stigma is removed, it is no longer a"cool" thing for rebellious kids to do.

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  2. You’re right it’s not a given but I personally think it would. It’s like a friend and I were standing outside the Amsterdam café the other day. He reads a sign on the door out loud and says they don’t sell pot there. I said where does it say that and he points to the sign. Then a couple of locals go on about explaining the current protocol as to what’s accepted and what’s not. One of them lights up a blunt and walks down the street. For some I think the novelty would exist of hey if it’s legal let’s try it out. Some not all. People would certainly be less discreet about it. My whole point however, is if they let the Hells angels sell pot at the Black door and the bulldog café, then they should let them sell it at the Amsterdam café too.

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  3. I completely agree with the idea that if the HA are able to sell in the open, then everybody should.
    Keep up the good work on the blog, you are doing a great job.

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  4. No worries, thanks. Cool username.

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  5. Can't say I'm surprised about you being against legalisation. It would take massive amounts of cash flow out of gangsters' pockets, which would leave you with little to do over here in cowering corner. Without rich gangsters, you'd have fuck all to harp about anonymously, and you'd fade away.

    The lesson that US prohibition taught the rest of us seems entirely lost on you, unless one takes in to account your real motivation, which is to stir shit up and mouth off with no consequence.

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  6. You really don’t get it do you? Selling crack, crystal meth and date rape drug really screws up our society. So does letting the Hells Angels use violence to take over all the grow ops and use violence against anyone else selling pot in their area. Legalization wouldn’t take a penny out of the Hells Angels pocket. It would just make it impossible to stop them at all. I’m all for decriminalization of pot. I really do think mandatory minimum sentences for growing pot is absurd. As for me getting a kick out of stirring the pot, believe you me I’m really bored of it by now. Yet there are some serious issues that still bother me. Pot isn’t one of them.

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  7. Oh, I get it. The Hells Angels don't currently control alcohol or tobacco sales, and the government seems to have little problem regulating either drug. If you take the market out from under organised crime, allow the government to control quality, regulate and tax all drugs, it takes the wind out of the sails of crooks. It's not that far a leap for you intellectually, is it?

    Now, I agree that meth and crack aren't good, but they're there, whether it's controlled by criminals or the government. Just like booze and cigarettes.

    I guess the bottom line for you isn't so much about curing society's ills as much as it is ensuring job security for Canada's biggest gang, your pals, the cops.

    If an addict has a cheap, safe means of getting their fix, property crimes, policing costs, the spread of HIV & Hep C and a bunch of other stuff will go down. If you criminalise an entire class of people who might otherwise be law abiding, productive citizens by enforcing draconian drug laws rather than using those funds to prevent drug use, the jails will be full, like they are now.

    This shit isn't rocket science. It's economics 101. You seem a lot smarter than most other Johnny Law types, but I guess intelligence isn't always paired with common sense.

    I'd like to thank you for allowing my input here, whether it's right or wrong. Real debate doesn't edit opinions, and I appreciate your willingness to keep your comments sections real.

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  8. Oh brother, here we go again. I disagree with you. It’s that simple. That is my right. The Hells Angels do control the contraband tobacco industry back East. Here the bud for cocaine is more profitable. There is some merit to the claim that if people could buy pot from the pharmacy, then they wouldn’t have to buy it from the Hells Angels. Yet legalizing pot certainly wouldn’t put the Hells Angels out of business any more than it did in Amsterdam.

    Crack and meth aren’t good and just because it’s there doesn’t mean we should promote it. The same with date rape drug. I do think if we got rid of all the crack and meth in East Van and opened up a BC Bud store the violence would greatly be reduced. I think the violence would also be reduced if the VPD stopped letting the Hells Angels control the drug trade in East Van. Legalizing drugs doesn’t make it free and they’re still pushing addicts out of windows for drug debts.

    I let the comments continue as long as it’s reasonable debate. Different opinions are welcome. I stopped letting all the threats to my family go through because it was getting rather bizarre.

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  9. Legalising doesn't make it free, that's the truth, but when's the last time you read about government collectors kicking the shit out of a drunk for liquor debts? When it's legal, it's cheap. Cocaine and heroin are both incredibly inexpensive to produce.

    Alcohol is a drug, ergo, the government is a drug dealer. They're set up and in business already. It's hypocritical for you to overlook that fact. If you'd spend some time harping about the evils of alcohol, your opinion would be a lot easier to choke down.

    With or without government regulation, the Hells Angels would continue to exist. If tomorrow for some bizarre reason, all drugs disappeared from the planet, organised crime would still be there. They'd be there because people want to fill that hole, and they'll fill it with gambling, prostitution, and whatever other vice you can come up with. As long as governments criminalise drug use, they allow criminals to indulge these people in their drug of choice. And at a premium, since the risks involved in the drug trade are palpable.

    Canada is a socialist leaning country. We take pride in our universal health care, and yet so many issues (including addiction) remain unresolved. I'd rather see drugs and addiction dealt with by Health Canada proactively than to watch billions of dollars blown by a reactive, bloated RCMP with minimum results.

    Drug companies are continuously releasing untested products that produce the most fucked up side effects. Antidepressants that can cause suicide. Pain medications that deplete calcium from bones. Why not a stimulant that makes your teeth rot out? For some people, the scant benefits outweigh the negative. Let them make their own informed choice, rather than imposing your morals on them.

    We all know who the players are. The police too. It's in their interest as an organisation to keep drugs illegal, despite evidence that legalisation reduces property related drug crimes. It keeps them working. With other government agencies, such a blatant conflict of interest wouldn't be tolerated. I fail to see why the RCMP gets a blank cheque.

    I guess it just comes down to having to trust that the guy next to you isn't going to lose his shit, and allowing him to live his life with the same amount of guidance you'd expect him to give you. If you can't get past that, the rest of the argument is moot.

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  10. For the moment what everyone don't see is that prohibition of drug was design to stop people from using drug. But for government to re-legalize the drug the problem is not the drug itself but the economy.

    When something is illegal there always people trying to sell it, and that not just drug it even include other dangerous stuff. That mean the government will have to hire people to create a system that investigate, bust and imprison people who violating the law. Those job that created by the government for the drug war or any war are usually high paying job which fuel a considerable amount percentage in the economy.

    If all drugs was to be legalize, it might be truth that gangs will have less way to make money and people might be less tempted into using drug. But guess how many police officer, investigator, prison personal, judge and many more on the list that will lose there job when there is less crime that is related to drugs. That is just the public servant sector impact.

    For the commercial sector, how many people are attract to news that related to a drug bust or a gangs war? How many people dedicated to write books, make documentary and study about the drug trade? Many of those job will be lost if all drug was to be legalize.

    Drug dealers and sellers are known to spend large amount of money in the economy in fast time. The formula for a healthy economy is how much cash being spend over a period of time by consumer, which make drug dealer are best consumer candidate for normal daily need product in the economy sector. Also the government can not go into a normal person who do not violate the law and seize there stuff. The item that seized and resale (not the drugs) do contribute a small part in the economy.

    Most of the economical problem that surround the so called "drug war" by the U.S is far less then dangerous then to end the "drug war" itself. Most of the economical problem that might be created after ending the drug can be solve. But because the war on drug went on for too long, and most government had built and expand a very dedicated system to combat it. It will surely have an impact on the economy to dismantle any such system over a short period of time.

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    Replies
    1. What you were saying has crossed my mind before, the economy being so tied in to the prison industry, pharmaceuticals and what not albeit maybe it was me more being devil's advocate than anything.
      It's not an insurmountable obstacle, legalize province by province/state by state, we could use Colorado as an example. I don't think many lawyers lost their jobs just because it was legalized, they still have plenty of work to do what with all the divorcing and suing each other. Personally I think if cops only job is to bust people for pot they shouldn't have a job to begin with or at least be reassigned. I'd also be okay if pharmaceuticals were slowly phased out as well, because to me they do more harm than good. The idea that prison personnel would lose their job is debatable, if they shifted their efforts on other crimes instead, i'm sure they'd be able to fill their prisons just the same, although maybe they might have to work a bit harder and more people who should deserve to be in there. It's easy money for them to pick out a drug user or two but maybe they should actually be working for their money not just taking the easy way out.
      Cornering one market to grow another market is not fair business practices by any means. Losing out on potential revenue isn't reason enough to continue to do something that is immoral, deceptive and ultimately an effort in futility. I don't think people who may stop writing books about prohibition and doing documentaries about prohibition is enough reason to keep it illegal either because times change and writers have to adapt as it does, create recipe books, instructional books or find something else they care about. When it's legalized people will capitalize off every aspect of it and i think that would make up for whatever lost revenue may result like you say. maybe it should be done gradually, but that shouldn't mean putting it off entirely.

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  11. I think many of us see it, we just don't agree with it.

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