“There’s more cocaine than marijuana in Canmore,” my friend tells me. Another friend, in a different context tells me the same thing, “It’s easier here to get coke than weed.” Makes sense, I reason. Every month I read about the RCMP and another marijuana “trafficking” bust. But cocaine? Almost never.
Cocaine is manufactured from the coca leaf. This plant cannot be grown in a Rocky Mountain climate. Most, if not all, cocaine in Canmore is imported, brought in from somewhere in the United States. Marijuana, on the other hand, can be grown in Canmore however much of it seems to come from Nelson, British Columbia. So perhaps it is more “economical” for the RCMP to use their resources to bust local marijuana production. However this negates the fact that cocaine is much worse than marijuana. Whereas cocaine can be extremely dangerous, marijuana can be used as a medicine. Whereas cocaine is produced by violent cartels, the entrepreneurial potential in marijuana and hemp production is endless.
From a utilitarian standpoint, the RCMP’s resources should be allocated more toward cocaine trafficking than small-scale marijuana operations. But this arguments fails to see the broader picture:
Cocaine can become a meth problem. If coke busts become more popular, the supply will diminish and prices will rise. Some marginal coke users may feel the crunch and turn to cheaper methods for a fix. Eventually law enforcement would regulate ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs and restrict supplies of medicine. In essence, the RCMP would be targeting the effects and ignoring the cause.
Cocaine requires money. It’s an expensive habit one usually finds in usage among the 20-30 year olds who are financially stable. The sons and daughters of Canmore’s “natural aristocracy” are into blow. A good half of the Thursday-night Drake crowd are doing bumps in the washroom. Do the RCMP look away for more ulterior motives?
Why is marijuana targeted more than cocaine? Perhaps it is because the US Drug War is coercive practice that rewards drug cartels and police states while diminishing civil liberties. The American Government is the most corrupt bureaucracy on the face of the planet. The fact that the Canadian government and the RCMP coordinate their drug policy with the United States is an affront to the supposed freedom Canadians enjoy. Perhaps this is why local production is targeted while expensive imports are neglected.