Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal leadership bid doesn’t thrill B.C. marijuana activists

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      Cannabis activists don’t see a friend in Justin Trudeau, the presumptive frontrunner in the race for the federal Liberal leadership.

      “There are some people in the marijuana movement who say he’s [Pierre] Trudeau’s son, and he’s our best hope,” Jodie Emery told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “But personally, I don’t find him appealing.”

      “Besides being a pretty boy”, she said that there’s not much to be said about the popular politician.

      Emery recalled that, in 2009, Trudeau voted in support of Bill C-15, Conservative legislation that sought to impose mandatory minimum jail time for pot-related offences.

      For this, Trudeau was slammed as a “fuckin’ hypocrite” by Emery’s husband, Marc Emery.

      Speaking at a Toronto event in July 2009, Marc Emery said that Trudeau smoked cannabis with him on more than one occasion. The self-styled Prince of Pot is currently serving a five-year sentence at a U.S. federal prison for selling marijuana seeds.

      Marc Emery claims he smoked pot with Justin Trudeau.

      Delegates at a federal Liberal convention in January adopted marijuana legalization as a party policy. This was strongly endorsed by interim leader Bob Rae. “Let’s face up to it, Canada, the war on drugs has been a complete bust,” Rae declared in a speech closing the convention.

      But at the sidelines of this convention, Trudeau indicated in a interview posted on YouTube that he’s not sold on legalization. “One of the things that pot does is it disconnects you a little bit from the world,” Trudeau said in that interview. “It’s not great for your health.”

      Justin Trudeau discusses marijuana prohibition, polarization, and youth politics at the 2012 federal Liberal convention.

      Results of a survey released by Toronto-based Forum Research days after the Liberal convention showed that 66 percent of adult Canadians believed that pot should be legalized. This had the highest support in B.C. with 73 percent saying they were in favour of such reform.

      On October 2, Trudeau announced in Montreal that he wants to become the next leader of the federal Liberal party.

      In his speech, the 40-year-old politician touched on a number of topics, from the economy to the environment. “This will be a campaign about the future, not the past,” he said. But he made no mention about revisiting cannabis laws.

      Trudeau’s camp didn’t make the Quebec MP available for an interview with the Straight before deadline.

      According to Jodie Emery, Trudeau has a chance to clear the air about his position on the cannabis question during his leadership drive.

      “The majority of Canadians want marijuana to be legal, and if the Liberal party wants to appeal to the majority of Canadians, taking that stand would be a wise thing to do,” she said.

      Federal Liberals in B.C. plan to invite and quiz leadership candidates on issues when they hold their biennial policy conference in Surrey from November 23 to 25. The agenda includes a review of “priority” resolutions, which came out of the province and were approved at the 2012 national party convention, regarding a federal housing strategy and marijuana legalization.

      Last month, delegates at the annual meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities voted to support of the decriminalization of cannabis. Local-government politicians also want Ottawa to study the benefits of taxing and regulating pot.

      Dana Larsen is spearheading an initiative campaign for a referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana in B.C.

      According to Larsen, the last he heard about Trudeau’s position on marijuana was that he isn’t a fan of legalization.

      “A majority of Liberals and a majority of Canadians support changing the cannabis laws, and I think he’ll find himself out of step with his own party and with Canadians,” Larsen told the Straight by phone.

      A New Democrat, Larsen noted that the federal NDP has also struggled with the cannabis issue. “But I think as a party, we’ve been pretty steadfast over the years in terms of our support federally for decriminalizing marijuana,” he said.

      NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has said that he wants a commission to study the country’s cannabis laws.

      A close associate of Marc Emery, Larsen said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the imprisoned activist smoked pot with Trudeau in the past. “I know that Marc smoked cannabis with a lot of interesting people,” Larsen said. “But I wasn’t there. So I don’t know what happened.”



      Russell Barth

      Oct 4, 2012 at 3:43am

      Trudeau is taking this meandering, middle of the road approach because he is a fop. He cares more about his look, his reputation, and his bank accounts more than he cares about the good of the nation.


      Oct 4, 2012 at 9:07am

      We don't need another commission as Mulcair suggests, he is also against legalization, it's on record. Pot activists should stop supporting these corrupt parties and polititions, they are waisting your time. It's called bait and switch.

      Sensible Ideas

      Oct 4, 2012 at 9:16am

      Want to help change the cannabis laws in BC? Join the Sensible BC campaign! Together we can decriminalize cannabis in our province.


      Oct 4, 2012 at 11:36am

      Perhaps we face a few more important pressing problems than whether or not to legalize pot.

      - Climate Change

      - The destruction of Tar Sands environment with little to no Royalties for Canadians and the wholesale selling of it to Communist China.

      - The Economy and most of us the 99% vs the 1% that scoop up the wealth of this Country.

      Just saying...

      Trudeau can't possibly be worse than Neo-Con Bot Steve or which way is the wind blowing Hair Care.


      Oct 4, 2012 at 11:36am

      He does have Goooorgeous hair though!

      Kane Slater

      Oct 4, 2012 at 12:59pm

      Yes, iSheep, we have so many "more important pressing problems than whether or not to legalize pot."
      It's only the cure for cancer, the cure for most other degenerative diseases that afflict Humans, and the cure for global climate change.
      Nothing "important" about that.

      Mike Butt

      Oct 4, 2012 at 2:33pm

      Legalise it, give it the same rules as tobacco. That way the Gov't makes $$ on taxes & spends less on punishing ill people. Not to mention all the Dr's, Lawyers, business men, police,& other regular law abiding citizens who just want to relax after a hard days work.

      Jim from the Island

      Oct 4, 2012 at 3:09pm

      “One of the things that pot does is it disconnects you a little bit from the world,” Trudeau said in that interview.

      It disconnects you a little bit from the world... so he thinks you should go to prison for using it. He, however, should not go to prison for when HE did it, because he is Justin Trudeau, and so it's different.

      Maybe he should consider that not everyone is a Trudeau with effective immunity to the law. Lives are ruined because of these laws, our tax money is wasted imprisoning harmless people because of these laws, and all for what? So we can appease the Americans? They put these laws on the books in the first place to crack down on hippies! Do we really need to expend our own lives and own resources, in the 21st century, continuing a stupid American crusade against the counterculture that was launched in the 1960s by a bunch of deluded McCarthyites?

      Please, Please, Please

      Oct 4, 2012 at 3:34pm

      Kane Slater
      "It's only the cure for cancer, the cure for most other degenerative diseases that afflict Humans, and the cure for global climate change."

      Keep making arguments this ridiculous and legalization - which I support 100% - will never happen.


      Oct 4, 2012 at 3:36pm

      It's sad that some people base their choice of political leader on whether or not he supports the legalization of marijuana. Really? You have to be kidding me.

      I, for one, am sick of walking down a downtown street and catching a whiff of marijuana wherever i go - to me, it seems out of hand. Don't forget, people, that marijuana is still a drug - and in today's hydroponic age - the levels of THC present in the average joint is very high. It's not a "natural product" anymore, save for the fact that it comes from a plant. There is nothing natural about how it's grown & harvested. Nothing wrong with the occasional toke but some people seem to think all of BC is full of pot smoking hippies. I'm not proud of that image.

      You want to be taken seriously? Stop using marijuana legalization as a criteria for who you vote for.