R. v. Parker

1) Section 7 of the Charter of guarantees Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

2) The court declared the possession of marijuana for medical purposes to be unconstitutional because it violated section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This section guarantees all Canadian citizens the right to life, liberty and security, which the use of Marijuana was providing for Terrance Parker. Because he was unresponsive to all other conventional medications, he required Marijuana to help drastically reduce epileptic seizures and maintain his life. Removing this treatment for his epileptic seizures would be unconstitutional because it prevents him from living a safe and stable life.

3) I agree, forcing Terrance Parker “To choose between his health and imprisonment violates his right to liberty and security as a person.” It is only logically to assume that the person would have to choose their life and consequently end up in prison. This unethical paradox of life and prison or no life at all violates the liberty and security that the Charter guarantees to Canadian citizens by placing them in such a compromising position.

4) Yes, marijuana should continue to be to be criminalized unless required for medical purposes. There is no other purpose for marijuana if not used medically, expect for escapism and enjoyment of the user. To prevent the widespread of this drug and potentially dangerous side effects of this drug it should remain criminalized. A 2007 study by the Canadian government found cannabis smoke contained more toxic substances than tobacco smoke. The study determined that marijuana smoke contained 20 times more ammonia, and five times more hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxides than tobacco smoke. The potential lucrative market that could arise from this drug becoming legal is astronomical; rivalling that of the Tobacco industry and the last thing society needs is another drug providing opportunities for reckless and dangerous behaviour by those who use it.

For Discussion

1) Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees liberty which in theory should allow Marijuana users to choose to partake in the social smoking of Marijuana as long as they do not hinder the liberty of other citizens while doing so.

2) The reason why support for the support for the legalization of marijuana has grown steadily over the past few years is due to the wide spread of its uses and purposes. After the 1996 trial of R. v. Parker which demonstrated the holistic effects of Marijuana on severe terminal diseases, the introduction of medicinal Marijuana was immediately put into place. This “blow” the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act forced it to be re-written to include such cases and gave Marijuana activists a defence for its use. Also the ever increasing use of it among teenagers only adds to the acceptance of the drug as a social norm at social gatherings and parties.

3) Alcohol and Tabbacco are legal because they are extremely large and lucrative industries which have been seeded into the social norms and traditions of our society for thousands of years. The Ancient Romans used alcohol daily and smoking dates back to 5000 BC in shamanistic rituals. The widespread use of Marijuana in Western society has only arisen over the last 5 decades; it takes time before new recreational drugs can be widely accepted as social norms and traditions.

4) Cited from Controlled Drugs and Substance Act:

Possession of Schedule II Drug: Cannabis (Marijuana) and its derivates- Max: 7 years Min: $1000 and/or 6 months – $2000 and/or 1 year.

Trafficking of Schedule II Drugs: (Marijuana) and its derivates- Max: Life Min: 5 years less a day

5) Anti-Marijuana activists have speculated that Canadian Taxpayers pay over $100 million a year in enforcing Canada’s drug law.

6) The difference between legalized and decriminalized is the latter doesn’t mean Marijuana can be smoked openly and in the presence of law-enforcement. Decriminalized means that those found in possession of small amount of the drug (<30g) will not receive a criminal record but could potentially have it seized or be used to warrant a search of their estate or person. Whereas legalization of the drug would give it the same status as “cigarettes or alcohol” allowing it users to purchase it from certified stores or dealers.

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