Monday, July 29, 2013
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday, July 29, 2013
Trudeau’s legalization stand set to revive debate on cannabis
Justin Trudeau’s enthusiastic embrace of the legalization of marijuana has fired up the debate over Canadian drug laws and exposed stark differences among major political parties on the way to treat the country’s numerous pot smokers.
The Liberal Leader, who had expressed reservations about loosening up Canada’s marijuana regime in the past, said his position has “evolved,” placing him in the camp of those who would see cannabis regulated and taxed by the government, and sold legally.
The stand places the Liberal Party on a collision course on the road to the 2015 elections with the Conservative government, which is solidly in favour of the status quo, and the NDP, which would only go as far as decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana.
Mr. Trudeau is the first leader of a major Canadian political party to advocate for legal pot – and he takes that position as his party and the NDP fight to capture the progressive side of the political spectrum in the next two years.
At the end of a tour of British Columbia, where illegal pot crops abound and the pro-marijuana culture has flourished, Mr. Trudeau said he does not advocate drug use. Still, he added that regulating and taxing marijuana would keep it out of the hands of young people and allow for the development of the medical marijuana industry.
He argued the current approach to drugs is not working and that Canada would do well to follow the lead of Washington State and Colorado, which voted in favour of marijuana legalization last year.
“Listen, marijuana is not a health food supplement, it’s not great for you,” he told reporters Thursday. (Source: The Globe & Mail)