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Part 1:

The Great Trudeau Debate : For

You can take it to the bank.
By Cam Birge

Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal Party can be trusted to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in Canada should they form a majority government following the federal election expected to be held in October of 2015.

History teaches us not to take a politician at his or her word. In 1972 the Le Dain Commission recommended ending cannabis prohibition in Canada, but Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau chose not to enact any of the recommended changes. In late 2002 Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien included plans to decriminalize marijuana as part of his legacy prior to retirement in 2004. Again, the government of the day ultimately chose not to push for change.

What is different this time? The United States.

Marijuana was placed in Schedule 1c as a hallucinogenic substance in the Controlled Substances Act of the United States in October of 1970 by the U.S. Congress. Enforcement was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In July of 1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” and signed it into law in January of 1972. As my late grandmother used to say, “You can’t fart against thunder”. Any chance of the Le Dain Commission Report recommendations being adopted in Canada was dead on arrival despite being recognized as an excellent piece of work both in Canada and internationally.

In response to Chretien’s initiative in 2002, John Walters, the Bush administration’s drug czar at the time, publicly stated that Canada could face serious disruptions to cross-border trade if it decriminalized marijuana. Other US politicians warned of dire consequences to Canada and President Bush continued to push an aggressive zero tolerance drug policy, for both itself and its neighbours. Chretien and his government wisely decided to not introduce legislation in Parliament given the threats to the Canadian economy by the U.S.

However, in 2013 President Obama chose not to mount a Supreme Court challenge against the states of Colorado and Washington whose citizens had voted to legalize marijuana. He stated that it was “important” for the controversial legalization of marijuana by two American states to proceed, as it would end the unfair penalization of a minority of smokers. Mr. Obama said that using the drug, which remains illegal under U.S. federal law, was safer than drinking “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer”.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder now says that the Obama administration is ready to work with Congress to remove marijuana from the schedule 1 list of the Controlled Substances Act.  And just last week, Congress approved a bipartisan measure prohibiting the DEA from undermining state marijuana laws. This signaled the end of the war on drugs in the United States and gave a green light for Canada, and all other countries around the world, to regulate cannabis as it sees fit.

In short, the United States is now light years ahead of Canada in regards to legalizing marijuana which opens the door for any Canadian political party which proposes to legalize marijuana as part of its party platform to safely bring in legislation once in power.

Justin Trudeau, after being elected leader of the Liberal Party in 2012, chose the issue of legalization of marijuana as his first public party platform announcement following his election as leader of the federal Liberal Party. Trudeau stated that regulation (as with alcohol and tobacco), not prohibition, will protect our kids from the negative effects of marijuana on the developing brain. Drug dealers don’t ask for ID when they sell to kids. He added that we are funneling millions upon millions of dollars each year into organized crime and criminal gangs under our current marijuana policy in Canada. He also admitted to smoking marijuana after being elected as an MP. There have been evidence-based town hall meetings held by the Liberal Party around the country based on ending a Canadian marijuana prohibition policy that costs law enforcement $500 million a year and has left 475,000 people with criminal records since the Conservatives took office in 2006.
He isn’t a moron.

The political consequences of refusing to introduce legislation after making these statements would be too dire. Both Harper of the Conservatives and Mulcair of the NDP have stated unequivocally that they do not support legalization of marijuana. It is a club Trudeau has no interest in joining.

By Cam Birge

Part 2:

The Great Trudeau Debate : Against


The Hollow Chocolate Easter Bunny That Is Justin Trudeau

By Russel Barth

The media have been saying that the Justin Trudeau Liberals will legalize marijuana if they get into power. Trudeau has been saying things along those lines, I will admit, but he has promised nothing, and it is not yet an official party policy. True, having a national party actually talk about legalization is a step in the right direction, but it is one small step where ten large steps are needed.

As someone who relies heavily on cannabis to manage my symptoms, and as a 24/7 caregiver to a sick wife who needs it even more, I want to believe them. I really, really do. But I find myself unable to. Like Charlie Brown continually falling for Lucy’s football ruse, the media and much of the public seem to be falling for the Liberal ploy, but I’m not.

Why so incredulous, you ask? Well, maybe it is the fact that I am 45 years old and have been hearing the Liberals promise cannabis law reform every few years since the 1972 Le Dain Commission, only to watch them increase penalties when they are actually in power. People are quick to forget that the contracts for all our new jails were tendered under the Paul Martin administration. The Liberals knew back in the 1990s that the flourishing American Inmate-Manufacturing Industry was looking to move north, and they did what they could to help.

Or maybe it is the fact that they used our tax dollars, and every trick they could think of, to keep people from attaining the legal right to use medical cannabis at the turn of this century. Court battles were hard enough, but hearing Liberals like Anne McLellan talk nonsense in the press week after week was excruciating.

Maybe it is the fact that, after losing this battle, the Liberals dragged their heels, balked at court rulings, ignored the Charter, and had Health Canada implement regulations that they knew beforehand were onerous and likely to be challenged (expensively) in court.

Perhaps it is the fact that some Liberal MPs now tout Health Canada’s medical marijuana program as something “that was started under a Liberal administration,” even though they were forced—kicking and screaming—by the courts to implement it. They worked so hard to keep medicine from people for as long as they could, but now try to take credit for the program’s existence.

Or it could be the fact that when they came up with the ironically named “decriminalization” legislation, Liberal Dan McTeague took the bill down to the U.S. to run it past the Bush Regime before it was even tabled in the House of Commons. The bill itself, as you may recall, would have replaced a criminal record with fines. This kind of system is often called “net-widening,” as far more people get caught, but get softer penalties (something the CPC have said they are considering).

Or maybe I see the fact that a Tory-stacked Senate will allow almost nothing that a Liberal government proposes to get through. I doubt that a Liberal government is going to waste time, effort, and the public’s goodwill fighting the Senate on pot-law reform, when other far less contentious bills have a better chance of getting passed. Politically, I don’t think the Liberals are prepared even to fight for this hill, let alone die on it. A rational argument can be made that there are many agendas more pressing than legalizing cannabis, but the billions saved and generated annually simply by legalizing cannabis would do much to help finance those agendas.

Or it might be the fact that Justin and the party still consider cannabis a “drug,” the use of which – they feel – needs to be greatly reduced. They largely ignore the fact that countries like Israel and Spain are years ahead of us on cannabis-therapeutic scientific research, and they still maintain a Reagan-era attitude that pot is bad and abstinence is best. Couple that with Justin Trudeau’s unscientific worries about cannabis’ mythical “links” to mental illness, and his use of anachronistic terms like “pusher” (as he did last year in a phone interview with the Cornwall Free News), and you see a Liberal Party that is still meandering behind the parade on a crucial issue. And, as usual, they call this ‘behind-the-pack’ position, “leadership.”

Some in the party are talking “tax and regulate,” but they fail to offer any really coherent platform for how that would work. Some are talking about “liquor store” models and arbitrary limits on amounts that people can possess, but I think they are making empty promises. Once in power, the party will likely shelve this “legalization” talk on the first day. It’ll gladly pander to “youth” and sick people in order to get elected, but once in power, it is the lobbyists and the dastardly RCMP who will have the party’s ear.

So, what can we expect from the Liberals? I think we can expect more flowery promises (pun intended) to legalize pot, right through to election night, followed by years of continued promises to “get around to it” as soon as other “more pressing” issues are settled. The mandatory minimum sentences for growing and “trafficking” that were implemented in
November of 2012 by the Harperistas will remain in place, of course. You can count on that.

In the meantime, they will wait for a court ruling to legalize pot for them (see abortion, same-sex-marriage, and medical cannabis for details), and then legislate after the fact. Then they will take credit for “legalizing” pot, and the media will let them do it.

If the Grits ever do table a bill to “legalize” pot, it will likely be Tobacco 2.0. There will be a legal commercial market competing with a flourishing underground market, limits on home growing, cops bugging everyone even more than they do now, and endless media balderdash.

That is what I see coming.

By Russel Barth

Article source: Cannabis Digest Part 1 and Part 2

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