By Drake Lowthers
March 5, 2015
Martin Cleveland was just 15-years-old when he was arrested for possession of marijuana and served a six-month sentence at the Waterville Youth Detention Centre.
Cleveland was no stranger to the judicial system by this young age and received the maximum sentence for a youth.
The now 25-year-old Kentville, N.S., resident who has two young children said he’s been arrested nearly 10 times for marijuana-related offences.
“I haven’t stopped smoking weed. I’ve been smoking it since I was 12. I’m not going to stop. Anyways I do worse things than smoke weed.”
Cleveland said he wishes the laws against marijuana were different.
“The laws are stupid. They’re too strict and obviously they don’t work.”
In recent years a drug task force has cracked down and taken a no-tolerance stand on all drug-related offences in the Annapolis Valley.
Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter said in 2003 when he was Solicitor General of Canada he introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana.
“I introduced legislation to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana basically because the current laws weren’t working anyway and they’re still not working.”
Today the party’s position is to legalize and take the criminal element out, Easter said.
“Fifty-seven per cent of the population in one form or another is using marijuana anyway.”
Easter said part of the decriminalization problem was in the health committee report.
“Not all the evidence that was presented to the committee got into the report because of the Conservative majority on the committee. The health report was slanted one way opposed to marijuana legalization for health reasons.”
We have to look at the health factors related to marijuana, Easter said.
Marijuana is more than just a schedule-two drug listed in Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It is now a booming multi-billion dollar business.
According to The Cannabist, a marijuana news section of the Denver Post, in the first year marijuana was legal in Colorado it pulled in roughly $76 million in tax revenue.
The states that have legalized or decriminalized will give concrete evidence to show Canadian law-makers where this can go, Easter said.
“It won’t happen tomorrow, even if we were the government, but it is part of our position.”
Cleveland said he doesn’t know anything about politics but if this means the Liberals will legalize marijuana he hopes they win.
“I still probably won’t vote anyways but the sooner all this happens the better it’ll be.”