Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s support of marijuana legalization and regulation made news this week, although it isn’t really new. He spoke about his position during the leadership race, but it made a bit of news again this week when he spoke about it in Kelowna during his well-received summer tour of British Columbia.
Here are his comments:
"I see my friend waving a sign about decriminalizing cannabis. I’ll take that as a question. I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis – I’m in favour of legalizing it. Tax and regulate. It’s one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids because the current war on drugs, the current model isn’t working. We have to use evidence and science to make sure that we’re moving forward on that."
As the article notes, Trudeau’s position on marijuana has evolved over the last few years. As has the Liberal Party’s, from nearly passing decriminalization under the Chretien government to passing a pro-legalization policy at the party biennial in 2012. It’s a natural evolution, and one that many Canadians have taken.
While decriminalization at first seems like a good compromise position, on closer examination it’s not. By decriminalizing the purchase of small amounts but not legalizing production and sale, you’re still forcing (now) law-abiding citizens to purchase from dealers, with the money often going to support organized crime, and with no regulation or quality control of what they’re getting – a dangerous situation.
The logical position, which according to polling is now shared by most Canadians, is legalization. This allows for production to be commercialized, taxed, and most importantly regulated, with standards for production and strict controls on sale and distribution. A drug dealer as no issues with selling to a minor, but a private business will, when faced with stiff fines.
And here’s another benefit: legalization is tougher on crime. Marijuana is a major cash crop for organized crime in Canada; legalization will deal them a massive financial blow overnight. It will stop citizens from having to interact with criminal dealers who often sell other substances as well. Choke off organized crime profits, easier to keep it away from kids, quality control, tax revenue; legalization just makes sense.
UPDATE: As predictable as the sun rising in the East, the Conservatives are out with a release attacking Trudeau's position. And in an illustration of just how silly their own position is, here's one of the quotes they share * to support* their view that legalization is evil:
“…cannabis is a currency for organized crime.” –Fraser Macrae, former Assistant Commissioner of the RCMP
EXACTLY! Marijuana is currency for organized crime, from biker gangs such as the Hell's Angels to terror groups such as the Taliban. That's why we should legalize it! Legalize it, and organized crime loses their major cash crop overnight, as people will be able to purchase marijuana on the open market, from licensed, regulated legal sources.
The current, Conservative-supported criminalized status quo is pouring money into biker gangs and terror groups, and bringing otherwise law-abiding Canadians into contact with criminals.
Thank-you for helping to make our case, Conservative Research Group.