Thomas Mulcair has said an NDP government wouldn’t wait to act on a promise to decriminalize marijuana.
“The NDP’s position is decriminalization the minute we form government,” he told reporters at an August 20 campaign stop in Vancouver. “It is something that we can do right away.”
Asked by the Straight why the NDP favours decriminalization versus legalization—the option favour by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau—Mulcair didn’t answer the question but had this to say:
“The NDP has had the same position for about 40 years,” he said. “Decriminalizing marijuana is the position of the NDP, it is my position, and it is something that we can do immediately. Mr. [Stephen] Harper’s plan has failed so we’ve got to start doing things differently. I am categorical that no person should ever face criminal charges or a criminal record for personal use of marijuana. That has always been my position.”
In May 2015, Trudeau similarly said a Liberal government would move to reform federal marijuana laws “right away”.
At an August 19 campaign stop in Vancouver, he went further, adding that after a Liberal government is elected and has reversed laws that criminalize marijuana, it would begin discussing what should happen with people who have been charged for transgressions that the country no longer considers criminal.
On the matter of people previously charged with breaking marijuana laws, Mulcair said “That is a very important question.”
“We’ll sit down and look at that,” he added.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has consistently resisted calls for reform on marijuana laws.