Marc Emery: Justin Trudeau’s Reefer Madness

The “discussion” paper about legalizing marijuana is out from the Liberal government.

When I first heard of the “legalization” task force, I envisioned Order-of-Canada quality people touring the country, listening to Canadians, acknowledging the terrible prohibition mistakes of the past, and pledging to find a new way forward past prohibition into the era—it’s 2016, after all!—of autonomous adult choice in the matter of cannabis and our bodies.

I saw legalization as this: the government stops a failed policy of marijuana prohibition because it has needlessly given over two million Canadians criminal records since 1964.

It also recognizes that empowering police to arrest peaceful Canadians over their devotion to a plant is wrong, immoral, enriches crime gangs, and corrupts police and our enforcement processes. This scapegoats millions of Canadians who choose the beneficent and useful cannabis plant, making them second-class citizens who can lose their job, their home, their children, and their ability to travel to the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have seen jail and prisons cells for marijuana “offences”. Teachers, police officers, truckers, prison guards, government workers, and many others currently required to take urine tests would no longer have to risk their jobs for their wise choice to consume marijuana.

The task force would acknowledge all the harm and destruction from 50 years of failed marijuana prohibition. The task force would apologize on behalf of the government for 50 years of harmful and futile prejudice that hurt millions of Canadians for no good reason. The task force would advocate from the perspective of cannabis consumers.

Prejudice is what it has been. There has never been any morally legitimate reason why marijuana users have been targeted with laws to punish them. Every day that people are arrested for cannabis is an injustice! This injustice continues right now.

The discussion paper should have a voice for the millions of Canadians who are going to be smoking and consuming all this legal cannabis. But in fact it has the voice of those who do not use cannabis, do not understand its incredible value, and are opposed to its use.

So when I read the “discussion paper” put forward by the government about considerations being made as to “how to legalize marijuana”, some things were immediately noticeable.

This discussion paper has the bias of those who do not “get” it. In other words, the prohibitionist nonbelievers are controlling and leading the legalization discussion.

The compulsive delusion thats runs through the discussion paper is that marijuana can never be “normalized” in Canadian society. It is stressed so incessantly you can feel the puritanical obsession within its insistence. That, and the kids and the kids and the kids and the kids.

 Reefer Madness trailer

Marijuana kid zombies have been essential to the demonization process for the past 80 years. It is the theme of the movie Reefer Madness. It is pretty well impossible for parents not to hate anything or anyone who is depicted as a threat to their children.

Once you have constructed marijuana kid zombies, you can go ahead and control, manipulate, and criminalize millions of adults who have never met the pot kid zombies.

What this task force is telling Canadians is that we are all so inherently evil that we just can’t wait to shove marijuana down the throat of every kid and youth. Every marijuana sale is a potential kid killer, every user a potential destroyer of youth.

Marijuana was made illegal in 1923 after Emily Murphy went on a racist and religious crusade calling marijuana immorality and sin. That has never stopped and remains the underlying motive of police to arrest you and politicians to demonize you to this day.

Task force chairperson Anne McLellan called marijuana a “scourge” on society when she was justice minister.

The discussion paper includes the repetitive use of “high” as to represent original sin. Marijuana and its users must be portrayed as the dreaded “other”, the eternal second-class citizen to be looked on with distrust and suspicion. People who use marijuana bring only the threat of harm to Canadian society, according to this paper.

There is no talk of the great benefits of the plant in any preamble. Or how most geniuses of the last century have been informed by marijuana use. The goodness of the pot people or how they have enriched society despite virulent and sadistic punishments is never acknowledged. Nothing about the millions of lives enriched daily by the therapeutic and creative effects of cannabis.

It is left a mystery in this discussion paper as to why humans since the beginning of time have co-evolved with and benefited greatly from every part of the cannabis plant.

It is one of the most amazing stories in the history of beneficial substances, and public awareness and that story is nowhere in sight here.

All you get is a scourge that Canadians must be protected from.

You will not have to wait till 2017 to see what the Liberals have in mind for “legalization”; it’s all very clearly stated in this discussion paper.

First, this is not a “discussion” paper. This is the final report. It details a very specific application of an updated Prohibition ideology for the scourge. This document is aimed at defining and controlling that discussion to get a desired result. That result is the New Prohibition.

There is no wide variety of options in this paper. There is only what serves the purpose of the New Prohibition, to demonize the scourge of marijuana and those who use it.

Neither marijuana nor its users can ever be seen as normal in Canadian adult society

“Preventing widespread use—or ‘normalization’—is especially important when considering the need to decrease rates of use amongst Canadian youth.” (page 12)

“Perceptions around the risk of a substance and its ‘normalcy’ in society can affect levels of usage.” (page 18)

“In contrast, alcohol consumption is highly normalized in Canadian society, with nearly 75% of adult Canadians reporting that they have used alcohol in the previous year.” (page 12)

Lawyers at Anne McLellan's law firm, Bennett Jones, have positioned themselves to be the go-to legal authorities for licensed marijuana producers.

Lawyers at Anne McLellan’s law firm, Bennett Jones, have positioned themselves to be the go-to legal authorities for licensed marijuana producers.

There will be no personal growing of your own cannabis. (It would be detrimental to the interests of the clients at McLellan’s law firm.)

“Experience with both home cultivation and government-controlled production in the context of relatively small numbers of medical users suggests neither approach would be in the public interest in the context of the larger number of users in a legalized market. Therefore, some form of private sector production with appropriate government licensing….”(page 16)

The police, politicians, judges, prison guards, crown attorneys, bylaw inspectors, courts, forensic accountants, seizure squads, addiction industry, mental-health industry, substance-abuse industry, “marijuana use disorder” industry, THC testers, and the other parasites of the drug war have more control, not less. More tax dollars to the prohibition infrastructure!

The government will open up yet new avenues of persecution, stigma, and criminal offences. Sure, you can possess small amounts of irradiated licensed producer-made Monsanto Kush, but all other laws stay in place. Many laws will be strengthened! 

In addition, there will be lots of new laws! Lots & lots! New laws at every level of government! Special police training will be needed to tackle the scourge in this new and dangerously abnormal environment!

“Continued enforcement of laws and sanctions against possession, production, and distribution of marijuana outside the regulated framework.” (page 10)

“Also, vigilant enforcement as well as new strengthened laws, at the federal, provincial or territorial, or local level, may be needed to consistently protect public and individual health and safety.” (page 19)

“Law enforcement will need to explore their role, and develop policy, training and practices. This will need to be coupled with appropriate actions to enforce measuresoutlined in this new regime to deal with those who operate outside of it  if the objectives detailed in this paper are to be achieved.” (page 19)

Quantity limits. Since marijuana users are an abnormal threat, they cannot be trusted the way alcohol consumers and other consumers are trusted. Buy all the booze you want. Society trusts you. Congratulations, we deem you to be normal. Go home and beat up your spouse. The scourge user, however, can never be trusted.

“[Limiting quantities] has the obvious advantage of helping to dampen demand and to minimize opportunities for resale of legally purchased marijuana on the illicit market (particularly to children and youth). (page 14)

THC limits:

“Given the significant health risks, maximum THC limits could be set and high potency products strictly prohibited.” (page 13)

Age limits:

“The science indicates that risks from marijuana usage are elevated until the brain fully matures (ie. when someone reaches the age of 25).” (page 13)

Remember the unproven fantasies about mould, fire, and ripoffs that were tossed out of court by Judge Michel Phelan in the Allard case? They’re back. If at first you don’t succeed, call re-write…

“Issues included increased risks to the occupants from mould, pesticides, fire and increased risk of home invasion…” (page 15)

It’s alive! It’s alive! The gateway theory lives! It’s “not necessarily” dead and gone. Like any Prohibition myth, they can’t let go of it. However, the way they justify it is one awkward sentence to plod through:

“Marijuana has often been dubbed ‘the gateway drug’… there is now evidence that suggests that complex interactions among various individual predisposing factors and environmental factors (eg. peer pressure, family influence, drug availability, opportunities for drug use) drive drug seeking, drug use/abuse, and drug addiction, and these interactions are not necessarily tied to marijuana use alone.” (page 8)

Mail delivery may be the only way to get your recreational scourge and protect kids at the same time.

“Phased-in approach to distribution: In the initial stages of legalizing marijuana, only allowing a proven system of distribution (eg. as is done in the mail with the current medical marijuana regime) could minimize the risks of uncontrolled/illegal retail sales outlined above. This system could enable access for adults while using caution in taking a step that may inadvertently put youth at increased risk.” (page 18)

“[Mail delivery] does not encourage increased usage.” (page 17)

Retail shops, if allowed to exist,  only sell licensed-producer weed

“Storefronts …. Ensuring that the marijuana sold in such establishments comes from a legal source would be critical.” (page 18)

If marijuana impaired an individual, I would never advocate for it. Marijuana makes you self-aware, not impaired. Arbitrary THC levels for “impairment”.

“For example, the government could establish an offense of driving while having a specified concentration of THC in the blood. “

Reefer Madness rerun

In case you missed the movie Reefer Madness (original title Tell Your Children) back in the 1930s, you’ve got a second chance with Mr. Trudeau’s “Legalization” task force.

McLellan, the chairperson of this Legalization Task Farce, once called marijuana users “stupid”. We would be stupid if we accepted this New Prohibition, that’s for sure.

So if this is the “legalization” we are going to get, with the entire prohibition apparatus intact plus additional regulations and interference, then activists in the cannabis culture will need to be aggressive in their ground game in establishing what their “legalization” looks like.

As for me, it means any Canadian can grow, sell, go into business, retail, wholesale, garden, make extracts as part of our beloved industry and culture, without exclusion or favour.