Legalization vs. Decriminalization

Article by Calem McMillan, Cannabis Life Network


There is a municipal document floating around expected to be the blueprint for municipal cannabis regulations province-wide. While the document is full of factual errors, one glaring observation is this false dichotomy:

Legalization vs. Decriminalization

Legalization refers to the repeal or abolishment of laws that prohibit the use, sale and possession of cannabis and/or the establishment of new legislation that permits use under certain conditions or restrictions. Decriminalization is the reduction or repeal of criminal penalties imposed for the use, sale, and/or possession of cannabis while cannabis remains illegal or unregulated by the state.

When Pierre Elliot Trudeau legalized homosexuality, he didn’t set up a commission or a task force to study the policy. He didn’t appoint ministers or introduce new legislation with conditions and restrictions.

Once upon a time, legalization and decriminalization were synonymous.

By the government’s own logic, young people are at more risk with prohibition than legalization. Therefore, Trudeau is responsible for a lot of unnecessary arrests and criminal records of young people.

If “think of the children” were more than a political meme, then Trudeau would have decriminalized already.

Decriminalization doesn’t solve the supply issue, Trudeau reminds us. But since 95% of the industry is peaceful anyway, when faced with this ethical dilemma, the right choice is decriminalization.

Allocate police resources to something other than dispensary raids. Even though decriminalization in Britain led to more fines and arrests, a decriminalization of the entire industry could mean current police resources diverted to finding impaired drivers instead of further budget increases under “legalization” for the exact same thing.

Read the full article here.

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