Always Look on the Bright Side of Legalization

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Always look on the bright side of legalization While it's by no means perfect, it's a great start

I have to say, I’ve been pretty dismayed with the overall response to Bill C-45. While I wasn’t expecting spontaneous mobs of joyous people cheering in the streets, I was anticipating some appreciation for the fact that this campaign promise had actually materialized into a history-making bill. I obviously knew that the die-hard activists would be all over it, but I have been surprised to see the number of scathing opinion pieces that have made their way into publications from journalists, academics and others who didn’t seem to have much of an opinion at all before last Thursday.

Over and over again, I am reading the 101 ways that cannabis legalization as set out in Bill C-45 is lacking and doomed to failure (of course, without offering any realistic suggestions for how these issues should be addressed).

– ‘The feds have dumped all responsibility for distribution and sale onto the provinces’. Uh, no. It’s called the division of powers and it’s a fundamental tenet of Canadian federalism. Any attempt by the federal government to dictate how recreational cannabis should be sold would be infringing upon provincial powers and unconstitutional.

– ‘The bill doesn’t give any specifics on how all of this will actually happen’. Of course not. The purpose of the act is to set out a framework. The specifics will be found in the regulations to the act (which, by definition, have to follow enactment of the bill).

– ‘The costs of enforcement are being downloaded onto the provinces’. I don’t know how anyone could possibly make this comment when there has not yet been a decision made on how cannabis will be taxed and how those tax revenues will be shared.

– ‘I can still get arrested and face imprisonment for cannabis offences’. Well, what did you expect? We all knew that this was going to be a ‘closed system’. In the simplest of terms, what Bill C-45 does is draw a great big circle. Everything inside the circle will be legal. The obvious corollary of that is that everything outside of the circle remains illegal.

– ‘I could go to jail for growing 5 cannabis plants in my house’…OR you could just get a ticket for $200 and have no criminal record. Plus you will now be able to grow 4 plants legally! The ability for police to issue tickets for minor offences should be applauded, but everyone seems fixated on the maximum penalty (which, in reality, is rarely ever imposed).

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