Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drugs are bad...Marijuana's bad...mmkay....

Michael Ignatieff shows he can relate to the kids these days:

"If I had to tell you as a parent or as someone who has spent his whole life working with young people, the last darn thing I want you to be doing is smoking marijuana," the federal Liberal leader said.

"I want you to be out there digging a well, digging a ditch, getting a job, raising a family ... doing stuff, instead of parking your life on the end of a marijuana cigarette."

Coincidentally, S-Harp was also trying to show he's down with the young ones by doing a YouTube interview and, wouldn't ya know it, the topic of marijuana cigarettes came up there as well. While Harper didn't come out for a national ditch digging program, he too was adamantly against pot legalization.


Remember when Canada was all set to decriminalize marijuana 7 years ago? The Economist put the moose with sunglasses on its cover and called us "cool". It made sense to most people, even stodgy old senators and stodgy old writers - after all, criminalizing the stuff clearly wasn't curbing its use, and it's hard to enforce a law which, if properly enforced, would saddle millions of Canadians with a criminal record.

But for a variety of reasons, those plans went up in smoke. And judging from the comments above, it doesn't look like things will change any time soon. Which is a shame, because the current laws are asinine - the stuff should just be legalized outright.

Because once you legalize, you can tax and control it - you don't see a lot of rum runners these days, do you? You think we'd have learned our lesson from alcohol prohibition, but I guess not.

The arguments being put forward by our leaders are so weak, I have a hard time believing they actually believe what they're saying. First up, is Mr. Ignatieff:

Noting he likes an occasional drink and having a good time, Ignatieff didn't seem concerned if his anti-weed stance made him appear conservative.

"Given the things we need to do together [ed note: ditch digging?], that's what I think," he said, adding that legalizing marijuana would create problems in dealings with the U.S. because the drug would remain illegal there.

I won't even touch the "I like an occasional drink" comment, but when you consider the relative effects of alcohol and marijuana on human beings, well, that kind of tells you how we should be handling this issue.

As for his second point, over 20 states have gone ahead and decriminalized marijuana. And, as someone quite familiar with border crossings, I'm sure Michael is fully aware that you can still prevent legal items from crossing the border - so just treat marijuana like we treat oranges. Problem solved.

Harper, meanwhile, goes the emotional route in his YouTube interview:

I have to say young children, I guess they’re now…Ben and Rachel are now getting pretty close to 14 and 11, but maybe they’re not that young, but they are at the age where, you know, they will increasingly come into contact with drug use, and I guess as a parent, you know, this is the last thing I want to see for my kids or anyone else’s children.

Agreed. But the thing is, under the current prohibition system, Ben and Rachel are able to get marijuana. Easily. However, if we legalize it, you could ban sales to minors, just like we do now with non-marijuana cigarettes, or dozens of other things. I know some will say it's about sending a message that we don't condone it, but anyone who thinks teenagers will avoid something because it's condoned by society has never been a teenager.

But his heart is probably in the right place on that comment. So go on Mr. Prime Minister:

Now, I also want people to understand what we’re really talking about here when we’re talking about the drug trade. You know, when people say focus on violent crime instead of drugs, and yeah, you know, there’s lots of crimes a lot worse than, you know, casual use of marijuana. But when people are buying from the drug trade, they are not buying from their neighbour. They are buying from international cartels that are involved in unimaginable violence and intimidation and social disaster and catastrophe all across the world. All across the world.

And, with that, Stephen Harper gives the best argument I have ever heard in my life...for legalizing marijuana. Because the second you legalize it and decide to sell it in LCBOs or licensed stores/restaurants/etc, you drive a stake through the heart of organized crime and drug cartels, both inside Canada and around the world. By controlling who sells it, you move the industry above ground and choke off a huge source of revenue from organized crime.

Maybe Iggy and Harper do believe the talking points they're dealing. But if they were being completely honest, I suspect their answer to the kids would go something like this:

"Yeah, I don't have a problem with legalizing the stuff. It just makes sense. But let's be honest. The second the media and opposition gets wind of that, I'll be faced with daily questions, ridicule, attack ads, and 10-percenters on the subject. I'm sure legalization will happen one day - probably within your lifetime. But until enough of us old fogeys die off and the public attitude on this shifts enough, I'd be crazy to go near this one. Next question."

This post is supported by the National Pardon Centre.



  • ZING! That really is pretty much the greatest argument anyone can make for legalizing marijuana.

    I believe that Mary Jane Watson saved my life - since discovering it three or three and a half years ago, I've been bolder, more productive, assertive, active, less depressed, and more understanding and forgiving. I'm sure if someone had introduced me to it in late high school my life I would have made it into university (not that I regret anything - I don't!). Certainly I've seen people screw up their lives on it - some people are abusers and losers. But I know lots of creative, fulfilled, employed (often self-employed entrepreneurs) people who like smoking flowers, and it clearly doesn't hurt them any.

    Smoke is bad for your lungs, try a vaporizer - you can support a Canadian company in doing so!

    (I like your IOW re-cap of their talking points. Cute.)

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:42 PM  

  • As for Iggy at that high school, he really had no choice but to talk against legalized marijuana.

    These kids aren't old enough to vote. However, their parents,teachers and school administrators are. If Iggy had come out and told the kids that he was in favor of legalized marijuana, can you imagine the backlash? Angry parents calling the school even going over their heads to the school board to give them aggravation.

    Forget 10 percenters or media ridicule...

    Keep in mind, no matter how progressive someone may claim to be; when it comes to their own kids, they're not all that cool and progressive. I don't know too many parents who actually allow their kids to smoke pot.

    As for Harper, well, legalized pot very much goes against the modus operendi for an Evangelical Christian fundamentalist like himself, thus explaining the suit and tie get up in his video.

    Very easy for Harper, this video thing; questions get to be handpicked, scrutinized and even sanitized before he gets them. Then, he gets to answer the host in a pre-taped interview. Video gets edited.

    Oh yeah, I was impressed, especially with his answer regarding the detainee issue and the pension funds for those workers from companies that are now bankrupt. haven't finished watching the video yet...

    By Anonymous ck, at 10:45 PM  

  • CK has been out peddling this nonsense argument all over the blogosphere today. There would be no backlash and regardless Ignatieff's position is the same regardless of the venue--hes against legalized pot. He didn't tailor his position for this particular venue. Here he just happens to offer some transparently ridiculous arguments in support of his position that make the news.

    Unlike CK, I don't think progressives need to bend over and accept a crypto-conservative windbag like Ignatieff because of scary "fundamentalist" Harper. Tweedle dee and tweedle dum as far as I'm concerned.

    By Blogger KC, at 10:57 PM  

  • The Iggy appearance in Newfoundland wasn't just students, and for some reason Newfoundlanders are really backward when it comes to pot.

    A report at the local St. John's paper even informs me that they have to do research on drug stories from home because the internet filters at work actually block the word 'marijuana!'

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM  

  • The thing is, the more these pols ignore the public's questions about a racist policy put in place nearly a hundred years ago with NO scientific basis, the more people wonder just whose side they really are on.

    Is the influence of organized crime so entrenched in the major political parties that none dare take away one of their markets? Would Steve have to buy a remote car starter if he legalized pot? I think the answers are pointing to yes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 PM  

  • Speaking as a Retired Law Enforcement Officer and one of Canada's first medical marijuana patients, Legalizing and Regulating ALL drugs is the ONLY way to go.

    Drop by http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com for more information.


    Alison Myrden
    Leading Female Speaker for LEAP
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    By Anonymous Alison Myrden, at 12:11 AM  

  • What the hell do you want Iggy to do? Come out FOR weed? I think it should be legalized too, but that doesn't mean I want the Liberals to commit electoral suicide.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 AM  

  • Ignatieff did support Conservative's bill C15.

    By Blogger ridenrain, at 12:30 AM  

  • Yes regular cigarettes are legal, doesn't stop illegal cross boarder trade.

    MJ can have bad long term affects (yeah yeah and so can alcohol etc). Fact of the matter is, if Alcohol an cigarettes were to be just discovered, there is no way in hell they would be approved for use. They just have just been grandfathered in.

    I am curious about your position on banning cigarettes, especially in private establishments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:53 AM  

  • I get the feeling Sir Iggy hasn't dug a lot of ditches or he'd probably know marijuana makes tedious repetitive manual labour tasks less soul crushing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 AM  

  • The PM and our Government can certainly REGULATE these substances better than they already are....

    To answer your question, I can't find ANY harmful effects of using cannabis as medicine or otherwise. Cannabis is the world's BEST bronchial dialator and one of the most misunderstood Cancer fighters. The only problem I can find if you smoke alot of cannabis, is SLIGHT bronchial agitation. That's it.

    It's not that I want to see everyone walking around smoking, possessing or even growing illegal drugs. I just know from front line experience what I DON'T want to see and that is drugs ruling our streets like what's happening in Mexico right now because of Prohibition...


    By Anonymous Alison Myrden, at 2:13 AM  

  • You know what I really enjoy/appreciate? The discussions and news articles that are pro-cannabis all seem to have a message board, and a place to discuss and exchange information. I guarantee you'll see no anti-cannabis websites with a place to share links to credible science journals.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 AM  

  • Believing all Liberals support legalizing it is rather naive. I know people that are Libs and don't support legalizing.

    I also have a friend who got cataracs (at a young age) who was a pot user.

    Moderation - otherwise anything you do to much of is harmful.

    I also had a friend (has passed away) who had MS. She didn't smoke or drink, but someone gave her pot when she was in a bad way and it did help her.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:30 AM  

  • These days it is hard to see what difference there is between the Conservatives and Liberals when it comes to policy. I was never a huge fan of Chrétien, disliked Paul Martin and thought Dion useless, but still I have always voted Liberal. However, unless he changes his tune voting for Ignatieff led Liberal party seems about the same as voting for Stephen Harper led Conservative party and that is something I am not going to do.

    By Blogger Koby, at 5:40 AM  

  • Well, I don't think the venue really made much of a difference for the Iggy thing. He can't really change his position based on the venue - especially when there are media cameras around.

    He comes across a little stodgy on the transcript with the "ditch digging" and "marijuana cigarette" stuff, but, yeah, he gave the answer we'd expect him to given his position.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:24 AM  

  • Anon 12:53 - valid points. I agree the best scenario would be to outright ban alcohol, cigarettes, drugs altogether.

    But it's obvious a ban on any of these things won't work. So you just need to control them as best you can.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:26 AM  

  • And, with that, Stephen Harper gives the best argument I have ever heard in my life...for legalizing marijuana. Because the second you legalize it and decide to sell it in LCBOs or licensed stores/restaurants/etc, you drive a stake through the heart of organized crime and drug cartels, both inside Canada and around the world.

    But, that would mean nationalizing a profitable private sector industry. Perish the thought.

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:19 AM  

  • The Iggy appearance in Newfoundland wasn't just students, and for some reason Newfoundlanders are really backward when it comes to pot.

    The only Premier I can recall having come out in favour of the legalize-then-tax-it stance was a guy named Roger Grimes, but for the life of me, I can't remember which province he was Premier of.

    By Blogger WJM, at 11:46 AM  

  • Wow... nice to see our politicians try to get hip with the kids and their rock music...

    Good post, Dan.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 11:57 AM  

  • I think it should be legalized too, but that doesn't mean I want the Liberals to commit electoral suicide.

    Meh, they already ordained Ignatieff as leader-destined-to-lose -- why not have him support decriminalization while they're in mid-hari-kari?

    He can't really change his position based on the venue

    Well, this is Michael "Qana Chameleon" Ignatieff we're talking about here....

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:27 PM  

  • "I agree the best scenario would be to outright ban alcohol, cigarettes, drugs altogether."

    Do you mean that logically that makes more sense (because we ban marijuana), or that you actually, in an ideal world, these things should be banned -- presumably because they're detrimental to societal functioning?

    To me, it just seems like something we should let citizens do. It's about freedom. Perhaps keep the bans on harder drugs, but they REALLY hurt society, but these don't nearly as much.

    By Blogger The Fwanksta, at 2:20 PM  

  • I just can't believe he called it a "marijuana cigarette". Who calls it that? Someone from the 1950s?

    By Anonymous crocker jarmon, at 3:30 PM  

  • Jacques Beau Vert-Hahaha, those are very good points!!

    Honestly, I just don't get the Libs these days, it really is like they just want to lose these days. I mean trying to out-stodgy Harper, like honestly wtf is the braintrust thinking? I just don't get why anyone would vote for these guys apart from having a personal or familial connection with someone in the party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:10 PM  

  • Fwanksta - Well, I'd just like some consistency. If you could succesfully ban all these things to the point of no one ever using them, that would probably produce the best outcome.

    But, by an large, I don't really care what people do to themselves, so I don't have a big problem with them all being legalized either. Although obviously this creates problems like second hand smoke, drunk driving, etc which affect not just the individual.

    But it's all moot anyways since a ban would never work - so we might as well just control them as best we can.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:08 AM  

  • Agreed.

    By Blogger The Fwanksta, at 1:25 PM  

  • When I was a young teenager in the mid-seventies it was much easier getting marijuana then it was alcohol. Why? The Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Legalization and regulation is not the best solution for the marijuana question, it is the only solution.

    By Blogger Omar, at 5:51 PM  

  • I always find it entertaining when people argue that legalized sales would prevent underground sales - and then proceed to claim that legalized sales would provide effective controls over who could and could not buy the product - assuring a market for continued illegal sales.

    The huge market for legal cigarettes has not curbed the market for illegal cigarettes. Condoning use of pot would not curb the market for drug kingpins (who also supply other drugs).

    By Blogger Paul, at 6:31 PM  

  • Paul, I'm glad you're entertained - although if you're suggesting that, say, the Hell's Angels wouldn't take a massive hit to their revenue if marijuana was available at the depanneur, I really can't agree, and am just as entertained in turn.

    Certainly a black market will always exist, but I can't imagine the majority of people running around in alleyways buying from strangers when they can get a safe reliable source from, I don't know, their farmer's market, or Starbucks, or whatever.

    Sure, there's still gangsters around today - but are they running alcohol over the border???

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:01 PM  

  • JBV: you may not consider $1.6B per year to be a big deal, but I do.


    As for your question on alcohol, the answer, quite frankly, is yes.

    By Blogger Paul, at 9:35 PM  

  • Paul is essentially correct in saying that there's a big cognitive dissonance in supporting legalizing marijuana to prevent illegal sales, and then turning around and promoting legalization as a way to stop kids from smoking pot.

    The black market in cigarettes is just a watered-down version of the black market in marijuana. They're both caused by gov't restrictions and (in the case of tobacco) by high gov't taxes, which distort the market and create an underground economy to fulfill the unmet demand.

    If marijuana were to be treated exactly like tobacco, we would end up with exactly the same situation: high-tax, high-price pot being sold in legitimate stores, with a black market of cheaper stuff run by organized crime. However, the organized crime share would be a lot smaller that it is now, since (as with tobacco today) many/most people would buy their pot legally.

    (Oh, and there would also be a pack of class-action lawyers constantly suing Big Cannabis, but that's another issue...)

    Basically, the size of the black market in any given industry is directly proportionate to how much the government regulates and taxes that industry.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 11:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 1:06 AM  

  • However, the organized crime share would be a lot smaller that it is now, since (as with tobacco today) many/most people would buy their pot legally.

    Exactly what I was trying to say - and what Paul was missing out on while he was busy getting his jollies being entertained.

    However, I don't see the cognitive dissonance in the example you give... it's easier to buy marijuana than it is to buy black-market cigarettes, insofar as I've even been aware of. Perhaps there's something I'm missing.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 4:05 PM  

  • You may believe that the market for illegal pot would go away, or would shrink.

    There is no factual evidence to support such a claim. And I have said as much, for those who care to listen.

    There is factual evidence from other jurisdictions to support a claim that the overall market will increase.

    By Blogger Paul, at 12:09 AM  

  • Right Paul, because everybody knows that the SAQ and LCBO haven't shrunk the market for illegal alcohol sales even one bit.

    And ending Prohibition? How did that ever dent the black market for liquor?

    Why, I was at a speakeasy just the other night - behind a little curtain in back of a deli. There were hundreds - literally, hundreds - of folks lined up for some illegal juice.

    On a rigolé!

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:09 AM  

  • I had no idea Paul was such an interesting person...

    give Praise and Thanks to the Lord, our King!


    t. Sure, there are a few friendly female bartenders who see me as a great tipper.

    = IOW I'm a drunk - but you stoners are defying the word of Jesus!!! Why do you think the Lord his Highness God created marijuana??? So we could drink beer, dummies!

    My friend in T-dot shuts me out if I tease in a sexual manner; not exactly strengthening our friendship,

    Ummm - yeah, she's just not that into you, Paul. Try getting high - you're probably way too uptight for her. You need to CHILL OUT.

    Maybe I'll have to look up another girl I met at a strip club, at her other job.

    IOW, this one speaks for itself. "I enjoy it when young women take their clothes off for my personal gratification -- for cash! Hey, maybe I'm paying them, maybe I'm not - I don't mention on my blog - but I try to show my support by sitting in the audience and patronizing the male-run establishment!"

    Did I mention that while I support boozing it up on the town ogling hot chicks, I do feel that marijuana should not be legalized...? Only my masturbation habits ought be indulged - not you relaxing after a day of work with a marijuana cigarette.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005
    I don't like Mondays, either
    I don't like September.

    Why, because September 11's 4th anniversary was so near? Noooo - because Paul STILL couldn't get laid! Amazingly, this "proud Conservative" (and American) was too self-absorbed with his lonely (boozing, stripper-watching) lifestyle to even consider September 11 as a reason why one might dislike the month - although said anniversary loomed a mere 5 days in advance.

    But don't worry, kids! This mofu's got the final word on the REAL stats for decriminalization - if only you would listen! (to quote The Paul himself)

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:27 AM  

  • Tell us all about your Mighty Statistics again, The Paul - we can't wait for the Enlightenment you seek to bestow 'pon us, every one!

    By Anonymous For a good time call Wendy - 613.DRINK.ME, at 3:31 AM  

  • It is one thing to illegally sell a legally produced product and make a profit, e.g., black market cigarettes. It is quite another thing to illegally produce and sell a product (e.g., moonshine) in market where there is legal competitors. The reason is simple. People want to know that what they buying and consuming. So when given the choice of buying an illegally produced product versus a legally produced product they are going to go with the later. (There is one notable exception and that is when an illegally produced product is successfully passed off as a legal one, e.g., fake brand name goods). That is why no matter how much Canadians drank during the time of American prohibition, I am sure that it never crossed the RCMP’s mind that American moonshine might become a competitor of Molson’s.

    By Blogger Koby, at 5:59 PM  

  • Nice post. Keep on posting interesting topics. I just so love it.

    By Anonymous Maria, at 12:43 AM  

  • Not to worry. legalization is not a matter of If but a matter of When. You can feel it in the wind.

    good luck

    By Anonymous mike, at 2:06 AM  

  • I will tell my own opinion about legalizing marijuana. My opinion can be used in any case you might encounter, but you mentioned something about kids here so I will focus on that. Your kids reached the age where they want to experience new things and might come into contact with drugs, right? Now be honest: would you like your kids to smoke cigarettes which are full of chemicals and nicotine which is addictive by the way or would prefer them smoking marijuana, that of course, under close parental supervision. Would you like your kids to do cocaine/heroine/ecstasy which are all highly addictive or would you prefer marijuana which is pretty harmless unless you smoke it 24/7? You do the math and tell me which one you prefer.

    By Anonymous super silver haze yield, at 2:29 PM  

  • Legalizing marijuana should have been done a long time ago. Not doing so just means more money wasted for trying to bust marijuana dealers, money spent on trying to find illegal prescriptions and other stuff. One of my friends from ziare iasi said that this postponing is doing nothing good but rather wasting tax payers' money.

    By Anonymous TB, at 7:50 AM  

  • By Blogger 柯云, at 8:10 PM  

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