The debate over legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada escalated on Thursday when Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau disclosed that his political position has moved beyond mere decriminalization and he now stands in favor of entirely ending pot prohibition in The Great White North.
While on tour in the Canadian marijuana Mecca of British Columbia, Trudeau stated: “I have evolved in my own thinking … I was more hesitant to even decriminalize not so much as five years ago. But I did a lot of listening, a lot of reading, and a lot of paying attention to the very serious studies that have come out and I realize that going the road of legalization is actually a responsible thing to look at and to do.”
Trudeau, the first leader of a major Canadian party to support legalization, wisely noted that pot prohibition in his nation is not working and that legal cannabis would create a regulated industry. Trudeau also noted that Washington and Colorado, which legalized recreational pot in 2012, could serve as the model for Canadian legalization.
As expected, the Conservative Party – the controlling party in Canada – balked at Trudeau's suggestion, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office issuing the following statement: “These drugs are illegal because of the harmful effect they have on users and on society, including violent crime. Our government has no interest in seeing any of these drugs legalized or made more easily available to youth.”
Of course, the PM's comments ignore the obvious fact that violent crime associated with marijuana is virtually eliminated once it's sold legally and no longer exchanged on the dangerous black market.
Trudeau, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, demonstrated he's still a politician at heart when he qualified his supportive statements: "Listen, marijuana is not a health food supplement, it's not great for you." In reality, medicinal cannabis has proven to be a highly effective treatment for a variety of maladies in numerous clinical studies.
Still, the influential Trudeau's observations are welcome and could be a hint of future developments, especially if the Liberal Party gains the upper hand in Canada following the 2015 election.
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