Last week, the newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a mandate letter to Jody Wilson-Raybould, the country’s attorney general and minister of justice. The letter contained many requests for change that Trudeau wanted to see come into effect over the course of his administration, including this clause: “Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”
That’s right, the new prime minister of Canada wants to move forward with a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana on a national scale, beating most other countries in the world to the punch and perhaps applying pressure on his neighbors to the south. It was one of Trudeau’s campaign promises and will remain controversial, but popular, as time goes on.
Personally, I’m fired up. As an avid supporter of marijuana’s legalization, this is a big step in the right direction for the movement. The fact that Trudeau announced plans to move forward with it just over a month into his term means that he’s dedicated to seeing it through because campaign promises often become forgotten in the face of more pressing matters at home and abroad.
Here we have a young, liberal leader in an industrialized democracy finally adjusting policy in the face of the changing tides.
Marijuana isn’t dangerous when controlled and regulated and the current laws against it in Canada and America alike put a large and heavy strain on our criminal justice system. This past September was the first time that the DEA admitted that marijuana is less dangerous than heroin. Heroin! Just think about that for a second.
Okay now think about this: Despite admitting that, the DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. That equates it with Ecstasy, LSD and Heroin!
Why is this ridiculous? To use the words of Trudeau himself when asked why he cared about the gender balance of his cabinet, because it’s 2015! Marijuana is significantly less dangerous than alcohol, which is perhaps the most easily accessible drug in the world, and it’s still being treated as if it were as dangerous as heroin.
Frankly, that’s ludicrous.
In Colorado, the most famous of America’s “high” altitude states, the state made more money taxing marijuana than it did alcohol in 2014. Legalization generates money, keeps people out of prison, which saves more money and it makes many people happy. Very happy.
In this day and age, there isn’t really any good argument against legalization, and if Canada is moving towards it at a nationwide level, then perhaps soon we’ll see more progressive action here in the United States. Until then, plan a road trip and get trippy.