Chris Selley: Legalization or No Legalization, It’s Time to Get Serious About Marijuana

Article by Chris Selley, National Post

Legalization or no legalization, it’s time to get serious about marijuana

The end of marijuana prohibition is nigh. No, really! The committee has issued its findings. The Liberal caucus has reportedly been briefed, and the attending deliverologist has signed off.

“The Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018,” CBC reported Sunday. In brief: the feds will license producers and control product safety, set a minimum legal age of 18, and throw the rest in the provinces’ laps to figure out.

So, they’re going to table a bill — like Jean Chrétien’s Liberals did on decriminalization, and then Paul Martin’s Liberals, and here we are in 2017 laying 60,000 criminal charges a year for possession.

But if they’re giving it a splashy deadline, maybe they really think they can get this done. Surely a government that’s beginning to labour under the weight of its business-as-usual behaviour wouldn’t go out of its way to raise expectations on another Big Change file — like, say, the expectation of celebrating the 151st Canada Day in a legally altered state.

Mind you, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doubled down on electoral reform any number of times and that was never, ever going to happen. With the Trudeau team quite rightly trying to stay on President Donald Trump’s good side and an Attorney-General in Washington, Jeff Sessions, whose message on pot is that “using drugs will destroy your life,” this would certainly be an odd time to finally get it done. And, hmm, “finishing the job” might look good in the 2019 Liberal platform.

In any event, the legislation will have the benefit of forcing the provinces finally to come to grips with their policy preferences.

Read full article here.

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