I tend to focus in this blog on places I have a connection with- write what you know and all that. But there is other stuff happening elsewhere. (No, really, there is.) So with today’s news that the International Harm Reduction Association is rebranding as Harm Reduction International, I’ve decided to look outside my usual ‘places I know’ perspective.

So, to Canada:

For a while they seemed to have a pretty good drug policy- back under the Liberals, before the Evil Stephen Harper, they were setting up a safe injecting site, enacting a ‘four pillar’ strategy and being all Canadian and nice and setting global standards for good practices in harm reduction. Then the Evil Stephen Harper did that traditional “tough on drugs coz it makes me look all manly” politician crap, and it’s all been a bit rubbish. But then his coalition government collapsed and now the Canadians are choosing a new government, and all the drug policy dudes are getting all excited because maybe the Liberals can knock some sense into politics and prevent the Evil Stephen Harper from introducing a crime bill within a 100 days which would criminalize EVERYTHING. None of the left wing want to appear soft on crime, obviously. Instead they’re trying to be smart on crime. (Do you see what they did there?) There’s an interesting post on how ideology has trumped evidence in recent drug policy debates in Canada here.

Things got particularly exciting this week with a judge in Ontario ruling that the country’s medical marijuana laws are so screwed, and doctors are so wary of the repercussions of prescribing/recommending/whatever process is required in Canada to get patients their weed, that the law is effectively denying patients the care they need. To address this, the Ontario Superior Court struck down two key parts of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that prohibit  possession and production of marijuana. From the National Post:

The court declared the rules that govern medical marijuana access and the prohibitions laid out in sections 4 and 7 of the Act “constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect” on Monday, effectively paving the way for legalization.

If the government does not respond within 90 days with a successful delay or re-regulation of marijuana, the drug will be legal to possess and produce in Ontario, where the decision is binding.

Here’s hoping for inaction on the part of the government. And good luck keeping the Evil Stephen Harper out of government too!