Justin Trudeau says a Liberal government would move to decriminalize marijuana "right away"

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      Justin Trudeau has said he intends to waste no time ending the prohibition of marijuana if he’s elected as the country’s next prime minister later this year.

      In a March 15 interview with CKNW, the leader of the Liberal party told Gord MacDonald he would take immediate action to decriminalize the drug.

      “Will you bring forth legislation to do that in the first session of Parliament when Justin Trudeau is prime minister?” MacDonald asked.

      Trudeau’s response: “Yes, it is our intention to move on this in a very rapid fashion. I mean, there were some mistakes made south of the border that we can learn from about leaping before looking and thinking it through. But it is something we plan on moving on immediately.

      “We need to protect our kids, we need to make sure that the money isn’t flowing into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs,” he continued. “And right now, Mr. Harper’s plan is doing exactly that. And the fact is, on medical marijuana, this government has been completely contradictory in its approach, which is leading to a tremendous amount of strain and confusion in terms of Vancouver and elsewhere. So we have committed to controlling and regulating marijuana and to getting moving on it in the right away, a Canadian way, in the first months and years.”

      Trudeau’s pledge to decriminalize recreational marijuana was recently tied to recent shootings in Surrey by Nina Grewal, Conservative MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells.

      “Residents of my riding and across all of British Columbia are concerned about the crime epidemic in Surrey,” she said in the House of Commons on April 28. “Unfortunately, the Liberals and NDP have opposed and obstructed us every step of the way. The Liberals solution to drug-fueled gang warfare is to make marijuana easier for our children to buy and smoke.”

      On May 13, the Straight reported that a number of former B.C. politicians and law enforcement officials have described ongoing violence in Surrey—30 shootings since March 9—has a symptom of prohibition and the Conservative government’s war on drugs.

      That article includes interviews with Kash Heed, former B.C. solicitor general and once the commanding officer of the Vancouver Police Department’s drug squad, as well as Mike Harcourt, who served as B.C. premier from 1991 to 1996 and mayor of Vancouver from 1980 to 1986.

      “There is pretty overwhelming evidence that the war on drugs—and particularly on marijuana—is a massive failure with huge and terrible consequences for millions of people in the States and hundreds of thousands of people here in Canada,” Harcourt told the Straight.

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      30 Comments

      Sam Canada

      May 15, 2015 at 2:44pm

      Justin Trudeau is sadly out of step with the rest of the world. Whistler today put in place a total ban on smoking, tobacco, marijuana and vaporizers/e-cigarette. Holland has closed 70% of their pot coffee houses and make any marijuana product over 15% THC illegal, Colorado has banned medical and or recreational pot in over 80% of their towns and cities including Colorado Springs, California turned down recreational pot in 2010, and they have now placed bans against marijuana dispensaries in over 80% of their towns and cities as well - and the California Supreme Court has upheld their right to do that. The UK has rescheduled cannabis after experiments turned south, Sweden has tightened up their drug policies - all 190 countries to the United Nations four convention on drug policy agree that controlling drugs means not moving to legalization. We have a problem in this country because we have a very well funded pot lobby and it has become a political issue. It should not be a political issue - it should be a public health issue. Justin Trudeau should be reading what Hilary Clinton has to say on the matter - she knows that the popular support for marijuana legalization dropped 7% in 2014, she knows that parents have ZERO tolerance for advertising, she will also know that the four states that did legalize, campaigns funded by the pot lobby from out of state, represent 5% of the American populace and she will also know that of the 23 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes - the last 14 stipulated it was only for CBD not THC. It is illegal to smoke in New York marijuana for medical purposes and Florida rejected making it available in the election of 2014. The only place going to pot is Vancouver because of politics. Legalization will not reduce crime - it will expand the market and it will increase crime - here in Canada just like it has in Colorado or Santa Cruz - we can talk legal reform without taking it out of the Criminal Code - we can move to ticketing and we can do all of this without legalizing it.

      @Sam Canada

      May 15, 2015 at 3:26pm

      "Legalization will not reduce crime - it will expand the market and it will increase crime"
      Have any proof or are you just making up bullshit? All scientific studies to date show the opposite.

      "parents have ZERO tolerance for advertising"
      No, parents have zero interest in taking responsibility for their own kids' actions and decisions. The last bastion of prohibitionism is lazy-ass parents who are "too busy" or can't deal with having a conversation about drugs with their kids. So they campaign for prohibition, and when their kid gets hit by a stray bullet in some gang shootout in the middle of the mall or a raid goes wrong when the cops chuck a flashbang into their babies crib, they bitch and moan for more prohibition, and still refuse to take any responsibility.

      J.M.T.

      May 15, 2015 at 3:33pm

      Does this guy actually have a job, has he been elected for anything? He's always just in the news doing nothing but riding his father's coat tails.

      David Stewart

      May 15, 2015 at 10:59pm

      We are witnessing the death throes of prohibition while its advocates (Sam Canada) make a desperate and frantic last stand, their final frenzy.

      In years to come, the attitudes that now prevail towards people that choose cannabis will be as politically incorrect as racism, homophobia or denying women the vote.

      Russell Barth

      May 16, 2015 at 4:20am

      He's lying.

      Who cares

      May 16, 2015 at 5:48am

      This guy voted for authoritarianism, warranties arrests and torture in Canada. I think it should matter little what else he has to say.

      AdamX

      May 16, 2015 at 5:58am

      Did Trudeau actually say decriminalization? Because this article clearly makes it out that he is referring to legalization, a completely different legal concept to decriminalization.

      HellSlayerAndy

      May 16, 2015 at 10:18am

      "B.C. politicians and law enforcement officials have described ongoing violence in Surrey—30 shootings since March 9—has a symptom of prohibition and the Conservative government’s war on drugs"
      Nice way to distract...nobody is talking about getting rid of the laws regarding ppl shooting guns and the cops can't find any of them?
      So Surrey already has a thousand overpaid union cops and they want a hundred more...to do what...to help the existing ones not find handguns in Canada?
      Past narratives seem to have collapsed as we have a system of forced political 'debate' that constantly avoids questions of basic competency and large, dysfunctional and expensive bureaucracies way more interested in preserving the worst aspects of western government and abandoning it's benefits....like rights.

      Wolfie

      May 16, 2015 at 10:47am

      Spoken like a true Conservative. Scare everyone with false information that you can't back up. Marijuana prohibition hasn't put a dent in it's popularity in the 60 years I've been alive, give up and deal with it. Like some US states are.

      Dave Kool

      May 16, 2015 at 3:08pm

      A letter and two numbers: C-51.

      Trudeau has already lost the election, making promises about decriminalzing weed is far too little and far too late. Nobody cares about decriminalization when nearly every other right we have is being violated.

      Nice try, not going to help.