The RCMP’s 90-gram weed bust in Northwest Territories draws online derision

The reality of racially and regionally biased enforcement continues in Canada

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In late November the Northwest Territories RCMP posted on Twitter and Facebook about a 90-gram cannabis bust. They called it “a considerable quantity of illegal cannabis,” and said that trafficking charges were pending.

Most would consider 90 grams a relatively small amount of cannabis. Even so, CBCYahoo NewsMSN, and other media outlets covered the bust.

The NWT RCMP’s Facebook post has received over 1,000 comments. Virtually all of them deride the police for wasting time and resources on such a small bust.

Many commenters said they would rather see police focus on solving cases related to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Others, meanwhile, mocked the RCMP for treating a three-ounce cannabis bust as worthy of being bragged about on social media.

Class-action suit

There is currently a massive class-action lawsuit against the RCMP for discrimination and excessive force against Indigenous people in Canada’s North. Meanwhile, a separate class-action lawsuit is in progress. This one seeks over a billion dollars to compensate RCMP officers who suffered bullying and harassment from superiors. The latter suit is led by Officer Geoff Greenwood. He claims he endured torment from fellow officers after reporting allegations of bribery and corruption among the NWT RCMP drug squad. Greenwood alleges RCMP officers accepted upwards of $60,000 to destroy evidence and leak the locations of undercover officers and upcoming drug raids.

Charges for possession and trafficking in cannabis have dropped dramatically since “legalization” was passed in October 2018. However, the reality of racially and regionally biased enforcement continues in Canada. Moreover, that a 90-gram cannabis bust in the Northwest Territories is deemed worthy of bragging social media posts and criminal charges serves as a bleak reminder. Legalization has not ended the harassment, persecution, and criminalization of cannabis users among Canada’s most marginalized communities.  

Dana Larsen is an author, advocate, and activist for cannabis and drug policy reform.

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