This week a Kamloops case made headlines across British Columbia where a 76 year old man was sentenced to jail for growing 150 marijuana plants. The judge had no discretion in what to sentence him to – there is now a mandatory minimum of 6-months jail for anyone found guilty of possessing 6 to 199 marijuana plants.
The story can be found here:
Coincidentally, I was in Nelson, B.C. this week for a trial and before my trial commenced, I witnesses a 56-yr old man get sentenced for the exact same offence, though it was for 110 plants. The man had a young family and serious health conditions. The judge’s hands were tied and the man got 6-months in the bucket. It was very sad to see.
We are in very strange times here in British Columbia and all of Canada when it comes to our drug laws. Above B.C. we recently saw Alaska decriminalize recreational cannabis, and the same has happened below us in Washington state. Other American states have recently followed suit. The Americans have realized that their “war on drugs” does little to deter usage.
But Canada, under the Federal Conservative Gov’t, continues to enact laws that take away the discretion from sentencing judges but imposing mandatory minimums. The results are what we saw in Kamloops and Nelson – families being torn apart, judges having no/limited discretion in how/what to sentence people to.
Mandatory minimum sentences do not work. It didn’t work in the U.S. and why our Federal Gov’t has implemented them, after seeing how they failed down South, I will never understand. I chalk it up to fear-mongering and vote-getting. But the human cost is severe.
I specialize in defending drug offences and represent people all over Metro Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and all regions of British Columbia. Being charged with a criminal offence is daunting and can effect one’s employment and ability to travel.