By now, you’ve all been outraged that Julian Fantino has leafleted his riding with flyers accusing Justin Trudeau of wanting to sell pot to your kids.
“The Liberals WANT to make buying marijuana a normal, everyday activity for young Canadians,” writes Fantino flying PMO communication monkeys.
Marijuana! The burning weed with its roots in hell.
Gasp. Drop plate. Sob hysterically.
Murder! Suicide! Insanity! Direct, proven results of smoking reefer.
And yet, I propose an alternative.
Maybe Justin Trudeau should be selling pot to our kids.
Because, boy howdy, it’d be better than the status quo.
Last year, 58,965 people were arrested for holding marijuana. That is nearly a 30% increase over a decade ago, amid an otherwise huge drop in crime.
Corresponding to that huge spike in possession charges is a big drop in charges for marijuana trafficking, production, and distribution. Great, an anti-pot crusader might think, we’re winning. Except, that doesn’t logically follow — there’s little proof to suggest that pot-smoking is going down. If anything, it’s going up. So, it figures that producers are just doing a better job of not getting arrested. If you were cynical, you might say that biker gangs and the mafia have taken over a bigger chunk of the industry, and are doing a better job of not getting caught.
I started smoking dope at 15. I remember shambling up to one of the many local schoolyard pot dealers. I didn’t know where that stuff came from, and I didn’t bother to try and find out. The cops could have arrested all of them, and someone would have replaced them (hell, I thought about it once or twice.)
Now, there’s a decent case to be made that toking while in high school isn’t tremendously good for your neurological development. On the other hand: neither is drinking, smoking, and well, doing a lot of other things.
At the very least, when I wanted some cigarettes or a six-pack, they didn’t come from a scraggily flunky with a wispy moustache who got them from a gang compound.
Given the obvious case to end the current prohibitions, Trudeau has had the good sense to take a firm pro-legalization stance, making mince-meat of the New Democrat’s previous moral high ground on the issue.
And he has some cover, from other states that have tried the same.
When Colorado pulled the stunt, things went swimmingly well. Uruguay is about to start-up its legalization model, despite widespread opposition — because, hey, maybe it’s just the right thing to do. Meanwhile, in Portugal, it’s been over a decade since they decriminalized all drugs, and it’s been a general success.
In that vein, maybe it’s time for Trudeau to strike back.
Canadians aren’t stupid. A plurality want pot legalized, though the majority want the current laws softened. Only a mere 25% want to maintain, or strengthen, criminalization.
That means Trudeau, really, has the upper hand. His position is considerably more popular than the Prime Minister’s, and the Prime Minister is overplaying his hand.
While he should get kudos for adopting the policy in the first place, he’s been oddly quiet over getting trolled by Mr. Fantino. Perhaps, instead of ducking the attacks, it’s time for Trudeau to lean-in. Shirk the image of the playboy making-it-up-as-he-goes-along, and instead own a proposal that is controversial, but right.
Release a solid proposal on how to regulate and tax marijuana. Explain that, for the nation’s kids, it’s better to be scolded by your parents for smoking pot than it is to be arrested and booked. Make the case that wasting police resources on trying to snuff out a harmless weed is a diversion from issues that really matter. Argue the eminently reasonable position that, to reduce crime and create an air of responsibility around rolling a joint, we’ve got to legalize it.
Grab the bull by the horns, Trudeau.
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