Canada a 'primary' producer of ecstasy: UN report
OTTAWA — Canada is still a “primary” producer of ecstasy for the U.S. and countries around the world, but the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board noted “with appreciation” the federal government’s anti-drug agenda that has clamped-down on traffickers and boosted treatment for abusers.
That support, according to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, should be enough to convince the opposition parties to support Bill C-15, which would impose mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana grow-ops with less than 200 plants. If passed, Bill C-15 would also impose stiffer sentences for producers of synthetic drugs like ecstasy, though the NDP has indicated it doesn’t plan to support it.
The 2009 UN report, released Wednesday, is the 14th such document to highlight drug problems around the world.
In it, the board notes British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec produce most of the country’s cannabis, and B.C. is the primary producer of ecstasy in “large clandestine laboratories,” and seizures of that drug increased tenfold from 2003 to 2007.
While the report also notes drug use is down among both youth and adults in Canada, pot production is on the rise, especially in rural and remote areas.
All the more reason, Nicholson said Wednesday, to approve his newest anti-drug bill that was killed when the prime minister prorogued Parliament late last year.
“This bill is totally focused on the trafficking of drugs,” he said, noting it doesn’t target the occasional pot smoker. “This is a vital part of what we are doing,” to fight the illegal drug trade.
“I appreciate the praise, but we have to go further,” he added.
As to what’s next on the anti-drug agenda, Nicholson said he’s currently focused on getting Bill C-15 passed.
By BRYN WEESE, PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU
Last Updated: February 24, 2010 5:21pm