Episode 03 - Senator Vernon White on Marihuana legislation


Vernon White is a senator for Ontario, former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, and onetime police chief for both Durham and Ottawa. White’s extensive experience in law enforcement has given him a thorough and nuanced perspective on drug policy and treatment, which he hopes will have a constructive impact on legislation in the senate. In this episode, he discusses the importance keeping law enforcement flexible, how supervised drug consumption could cut down risks and costs across the board, and viewing drug policy less as a law enforcement issue and more as a social concern. He also explains why partisan thinking in politics can impede the implementation of genuinely good ideas.


-Senator White outlines his path from being a Cape Bretoner to joining the RCMP, including his service in the northern territories.

-His appointment to the senate and how partisanship can negatively impact constructive politics.

-Why, as a police chief, White tailored legislation to fit the communities he served.

-White explains why we need to take a practical approach to drug legislation and how supervised consumptions sites could cut down on crime and mitigate public health issues.

-How the Dark Web provides a new pathway for drug distributors and organized crime.

-Expanding the legislative and medical scope from opioids to methamphetamine as well, and why the latter is overlooked as a health crisis.

-The positive effects of introducing better drug education and counselling to schools throughout Ottawa.


“Negative relationships will inhibit change and positive relationships will allow you to create change.”

“For me, a good idea is a good idea. I don’t care who has it.”

“I think most cops in this country would agree... that we shouldn’t see someone with a criminal record for a joint outside of a school... but someone with 36 joints, that’s a different story.”

“If we had 11 people dying [a day] in Canada of any other illness, we’d be doing a hell of a lot more than we are right now.”

“I think the addiction we should be talking about when it comes to marijuana legislation is the addiction governments have to taxes because that’s really what this is about.”

“My goal was to take the word ‘drug addiction’ out of our justice dictionary and put it into our social and health dictionary.”

“It becomes a criminal justice matter because we’re not dealing with it as a health issue.”


Senator Vernon White's page - http://sen.parl.gc.ca/vwhite/

Official Say Know homepage - http://www.sayknow.org/

Canadian Research Initiative of Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairies website - https://crismprairies.ca/

SayKnow.org Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/sayknoworg

SayKnow.org Twitter feed - https://twitter.com/SayKnowOrg

Music provided by Redbull DJ Champ, Charly Hustle - http://www.charlyhustlemusic.com

Matt IngrouilleComment