On April 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent Canada and its citizens into a hypnotic frenzy by making good on his high-profile campaign promise—the passing of a Bill legalizing marijuana for recreation purposes, making Canada the first developed country in the world to legalize pot since the international war on drugs began in the 1970s.
This stunning announcement can be juxtaposed for its truth and applicability to the sayings of Savoyard lawyer, historian and philosopher Joseph Le Maistre, “that every nation gets the government it deserves, and Alexander de Tocqueville, the famous French political thinker and historian, speaking in the Chamber of Deputies just prior to the outbreak of the European Revolution who said: “We are sleeping on a volcano… A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon.
Thankfully the Bill has not yet become law, but from the spectator’s seat it stands an extremely good chance. On one hand the majority of the House of Commons is controlled by the Liberals, and the even more liberal New Democratic Party is backing them on legalization, although currently they represent a small minority in the Canadian government.
While our Prime Minister is doing his level best to keep his campaign promise of appeasing those who seemingly wish to escape reality, the passage of such a Bill is not without its accompanying profound ramifications that run the gamut from health and culture, to homeland and border security, international relations and right here at home safety on the roads. These may be the precursors before the eruption of the volcano on which Canada now sits.
Generally the Bill follows the recommendations of the recent Federal Task Force on marijuana legalization. Age 18 is the minimum age for purchasing marijuana, but provinces are free to raise this age. The Federal government has been tasked with handling licensing producers, and their provincial counterparts will manage distribution and retail sales. Canadians can grow up to four marijuana plants per household, and carry up to 30 grams per person.
Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard, in a succinct Pilate-type hand washing gesture, forewarned that Government, to be careful in burdening the provinces with too many responsibilities, such as regulation, testing of individuals and implementation. A similar admonition was voiced by Quebec’s Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, who said that the province wanted no part in anything to do with selling pot, but instead wants the Feds to sort out the commercial aspect of things. The province wants no part of the Liberals’ nightmarish game— hence no attributable blame or shame.
Premier Trudeau has seemingly forgotten that Canada like our neighbour the U. S is part of international drug treaties that unequivocally ban the legalization of marijuana. Despite the fact that activists have been trying for years to change these treaties, they have been unsuccessful- so that when Canada moves to legalize marijuana it will immediately be in violation of international law that could upset other countries with a stricter view of legalization. In the U.S eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, while the only nation in the world that allows marijuana to be used legally for recreational purposes is Uruguay. However, the difference lies in the fact that Canada is pursuing legalization as a country.
The dangers of marijuana have repeatedly been echoed across the nation even from the lips of the Liberals themselves. Then why are they now advocating its use for recreational purposes? Since Canada is the first country to promise legalization at the ballot box, the truth is hidden in the smoke. Millions of weed smokers allowed Justin Trudeau, to get just in, making the biggest comeback victory in Canadian election history. —-the Liberals have kept their promise on what they are certain would improve their rating at the expense of over subscription on broken campaign promises in other areas.
Canada’s success in its attempts to legalize marijuana will depend on how it balances all expressed concerns, for while the government may opine that marijuana legalization is right for Canada, the risk therein lurks the danger that legal Canadian pot may find itself in the U.S with resultant tension between previously close friends. Let us not forget the arm of the law whose role would be changed come legalization. To once again quote Alexander de Tocqueville — laws are unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation, and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.
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