According to multiple media reports the Liberal Party in Canada appears to have won a strong plurality of seats, and maybe even a majority, in the federal elections that are wrapping up across Canada right now. Justin Trudeau, party leader for the Liberal Party, has been projected as the next Prime Minister of Canada. If the math stays true, this could be a HUGE victory for marijuana reform efforts in Canada. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party has stated many times that it will make marijuana legalization a priority. They recently released the following press release outlining the party’s policy position on marijuana:
We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.
Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.
Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.
To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.
We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.
We will create a federal/provincial/territorial task force, and with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement, will design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.
Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority had the following to say (please donate to Marijuana Majority, they are super awesome!!!!):
“While U.S. states led the way by becoming the first places in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana in 2012, it looks like Canada could soon leapfrog ahead of us and become the first country in North America to legalize cannabis nationwide. If that happens, it’s not only good news for Canadians who will be able to purchase marijuana from legal and regulated storefronts instead of being treated like criminals. It’s also likely to give reform efforts in the U.S. a bit of a boost — not that we really needed it, but a little friendly competition is always a good motivator. And legalization in Canada is also a first step to all kinds of interesting implications, like the prospect of President Obama’s successor discussing international marijuana trade issues with his or her Canadian counterpart in the not-too-distant future. It’s no longer a pipe dream to imagine a day when consumers and growers in Washington State and British Columbia, for example, could be ordering each other’s wares on the Internet for cross-border shipment.”