The UN recently reported that Canada has the highest use of marijuana in the industrialized world, clocking in at 16.8%, with over half of the population supporting decriminalization as laid out in the LeDain Commission 35 freakin years ago. The Toronto Star :
"In 2003, the Liberal government introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of less than 15 grams, making it subject to a fine but no criminal record.
The move caused immediate criticism in Washington. It warned Ottawa that if the bill passed, Canadians would pay for it at the border with increased security checks and lengthy delays.
In 2004, Conservative leader Stephen Harper said he opposed decriminalization but that "we can look at fines rather than jail terms for possession under five grams."
When the Tories came to power two years later, however, they killed the Liberal bill.
"Are they kowtowing to the U.S.? Almost certainly," says [Ottawa lawyer Eugene] Oscapella.
From an article on how the war on drugs is undermining western security, Misha Glenny writes in The Washington Post :
"British Columbia is now home to the greatest number of organized-crime syndicates anywhere in the world (if we accept the U.N. definition of a syndicate as more than two people involved in a planned crime). According to B.C. government statistics, the production, distribution and export of B.C. Bud, highly potent marijuana grown in hothouses along the province's border with the US, accounts for 6 percent of the region's gross domestic product. It now employs more Canadians than British Columbia's traditional industries of mining and logging combined.
The majority of the province's criminals remain passive hippie types for whom the drug is a lifestyle choice. But as Brian Brennan, the chief investigator for the drug squad of the RCMP told me, the marijuana trade is threatening to turn nasty as British Columbia's Hells Angels, one of the best-organized criminal syndicates in the world, moves in on the action.
An avalanche of B.C. Bud rolls southward into the United States every day, dodging U.S. customs in myriad imaginative ways. But as the Hell's Angels and other syndicates get stronger and their control over the port of Vancouver tightens, the ability of U.S. and Canadian authorities to monitor the border becomes ever weaker."
Over in the Netherlands, where civilization seems to be on a more secure footing and possession isn't a criminal offence, consumption is only 6.1%.
Oscapala again in the Toronto Star : "This shows that criminal law does not prevent people from using marijuana, nor does legalization make people use it."