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.