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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume I - General Orientation

Chapter 3- Our Guiding Principles


One of the greatest challenges for modern societies is to collectively invent new forms of social life and community belonging that stretch beyond the tools of formal law. As individuals with objective and subjective rights, people can participate fully in the development – we would even go as far as to say the conquest – of the collective project of creating a society. It is no longer sufficient just to develop legislation and for people to automatically accept this legislation just because it was democratically decided by Parliament. We need to promote ethical participation - through discussion - in the development of collective and individual governance. The groups from civil society, whether they oppose the “behind-closed-doors” globalization process or support promoting fair and sustainable development, are asking how we can collectively develop a joint-participation normativity process, in which collective governance and individual governance are mutually supportive.

This discussion brings us to the conclusion that public policy on illegal drugs, specifically cannabis, ought to be based on an ethic of reciprocal autonomy and a resolve to foster human action. It ought to defer to criminal law only where the behaviour involved poses a significant direct danger to others. It ought to promote the development of knowledge conducive to guiding and fostering reflection and action.



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