Drugs are bad...Marijuana's bad...mmkay....
"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.
Labels: Marijuana legalization