Reevely: Trudeau Liberals are legalizing marijuana as if they’re being forced to

By: David Reevely. 

Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing marijuana as if he thought it was a good idea. Instead we’re getting the most grudging piece of legislation since the Paul Martin Liberals legalized same-sex marriage with the Supreme Court’s gun to their heads.

The law proposed Thursday is a steaming turd of a bill that doesn’t acknowledge the hard fact that governments cannot effectively control the growth of plants.

This has been the crippling problem with pot prohibitionism from the very beginning: Marijuana is easier to produce than drinkable booze, certainly easier than smokable cigarettes. You don’t need to know chemistry, buy special equipment, even invest much time. You can grow it in a terracotta pot in a backyard, under lights in a basement, hidden in a cornfield. Actual grass is harder to cultivate than “grass,” as long as you aren’t such a stoner you forget to water it.
Yes, you’ll be allowed to grow pot plants for yourself under the new legislation and “share” what you grow with other adults, 30 grams at a time. This is quite a bit of pot — the same weight as a small bag of chips. And you’ll be able to buy commercial marijuana from licensed growers through provincially regulated stores. But you won’t be allowed to sell any marijuana you’ve grown yourself, which is precisely the act governments everywhere have been unable to stop no matter how hard they’ve tried.

Partial legalization will complicate enforcement: Some marijuana leaves will be legal. Some marijuana leaves will be illegal. Will we be able to tell where they came from by looking at them? How will police know? How much court time will be spent on these questions? And why does anybody care? 

To mitigate the law-enforcement problems created by the new bill, the government is increasing police powers. 

As it is, police are supposed to have grounds to pull a driver over, and then specific reason to suspect a driver has been drinking before demanding a breath sample. Under the Liberal bill, police will require grounds to pull a driver over, but once they have they’ll require no additional justification to take breath to look for alcohol or spit to look for marijuana. Except that mass RIDE checks are legal, so police will be able to demand breath samples from anybody they feel like demanding them of.

The government says it wants to “reduce litigation regarding whether or not the officer had a reasonable suspicion.” Demonstrating reasonable grounds is just such a pain, you see.

What does that have to do with marijuana? Nothing. But the Liberals are amending the law to deal with stoned driving so they’re sticking this in while they’re there. 

Smearing more mess around, the Liberals are leaving virtually all questions about regulating pot retailing to the provinces. They had an expert panel — led by former health minister Anne McLellan — advise them on this legislation and the panel said it’s a bad idea to allow marijuana to be sold alongside alcohol for a bunch of vague reasons. 

Smoking up and drinking together is supposedly more dangerous than either on its own, though “there is little research to confirm that there is a direct correlation between co-location and co-use,” the panel admitted. 

There are so many liquor stores that allowing them to sell marijuana will make marijuana widely available and might lead people to believe governments condone pot-smoking, the panel warned. Which either makes very little sense, in places where liquor sales are privatized, or no sense whatsoever, in places like Ontario where the government is the main liquor purveyor. Liquor can actually kill you with an overdose. It’s a poison a lot of people find fun, but it is really a poison. The government supposedly sells it because it’s the only entity that can be trusted to dispense such an evil substance. 

But anyway, the feds are going to let provinces decide where marijuana can legally be sold, punting the McLellan panel’s advice on this entirely. Could be corner stores, could be government stores, could be in industrial wastelands, could even theoretically be nowhere. 

Premier Kathleen Wynne has mused about selling marijuana through the LCBO. After the feds released the legislation Thursday, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi emitted a long mushy statement about studying it and working with partners “to develop a responsible approach that aligns with their legislative framework.” In other words, Ontario has no idea what it’s going to do. 

Considering what a mess we’ve made of alcohol sales here, where the single most important question is what makes the provincial government the most money, there’s every reason to expect us to mess pot up, too. 

Never mind whether government should try to keep adults from getting high. It can’t. The drug war failed, is failing, will continue to fail, and the state embarrasses itself by fighting it. Which, under the federal Liberals’ proposed legislation, the state will continue to do.

Original article can be found here

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