Rating: NNNNNThe feds may be flirting with decriminalization, but don't let your pot hopes get too high. Last week's Operation.
The feds may be flirting with decriminalization, but don’t let your pot hopes get too high. Last week’s Operation Green Sweep, a cross-country bust of indoor grows, sent a decidedly different smoke signal — that the war on pot is as over-the-top as ever. And a colossal waste of money.
OPERATION GREEN SWEEP
Number of police officers involved: more than 800 from 25 police forces
Number of search warrants executed: 189
Total number of arrests made: 162
Number of pot plants seized by Canadian authorities in 95: 296,00
Number seized in 99: 954,700
Total number of pot cultivation charges laid in Ontario in 99 and 2000: 3,217
WHO ARE THEY REALLY AFTER?
Number of pot possession charges laid in Ontario in 99: 14,214
Number laid in 2000: 17,252
Number of cocaine possession charges laid in 99: 1,669
Number laid in 2000 : 1,701
Number of heroin possession charges laid in 99: 99
Number laid in 2000: 103
Total number of people charged with drug offences in 99: 50,000
Percentage of cases involving organized crime: 7
Percentage of cases where there was no verdict or charges were withdrawn: 43
BUILDING AN EMPIRE
Number of RCMP officers attached to drug enforcement: 1,301
Other RCMP officers involved in joint forces drug operations: 900
Number of federal government departments and agencies involved in controlling illegal drugs: 11
Amount departments and agencies spend each year: more than $500 million (not including provincial, territorial and municipal government spending)
Percentage of illegal drug control budget spent on law enforcement: 95
Percentage spent on drug treatment, prevention, rehab and harm reduction programs: 5
Amount budgeted by Health Canada to coordinate harm reduction efforts: $1 million
Amount feds would save in social costs for every dollar invested in drug treatment: $7
Percentage of drug deaths related to drug prohibition: 80
WHAT THE AUDITOR GENERAL SAYS
Key information on the drug environment, such as frequency and prevalence of drug use and its impact on society, is either not available or not up-to-date. Of particular concern is the almost complete absence of basic management information on spending of resources, on expectations and on results of an activity that accounts for almost $500 million a year.
With research assistance by Dana Borceagrowing concern