The strongest argument against legalization of marijuana is that the Americans would fly off the rails. However, a Democratic president will soon be taking power and the Democratic base is open to such an idea. Moreover, Obama’s hands are tied in ways another leader hands would not be. The war and drugs, especially with regard to marijuana, has had a profound impact on the African American community in the States. If Obama was to toe the standard line in the face of Canada promising to end the war on drugs, he would be in a world of hurt politically. The African American community would not, of course, abandon him, but they would be unhappy and their unhappiness would have the potential to throw his whole presidency out of whack politically. His whole message of being the candidate of change would be called into question.
If the Liberals were to draw out how Obama’s message of change is not consistent with a hard line on marijuana, they should be able to tie Obama hands. As for any noise the Republicans might make, the more noise they make the better it would be for the Liberals. Let Republicans scream their opposition from the rooftops.
After all, Harper has been trying to create distance between himself and his social conservative base and the Bush administration ever since he became Prime Minster. If the Liberals promised to legalize marijuana, not only would Harper find himself in lock step Palin, John Walters, Fox news, the Washington Times, James Dobson, and the faculty at Bob Jones University and rest of the Republican apparatus that Canadians love to hate, but so too would Campaign for Life, Charles McVety and Real Women line up behind him. The Liberals could play the nationalist card and social conservative card all at once. The thought of being able to strike a fatal blow the US war on drugs will make Canadians a little giddy. If that was not enough, on the flip side of things, a legion of rock stars, intellectuals, movie stars, and high brow magazines, such as the New Yorker will line up behind the Liberals. John Stewart would eat such a proposal up. Canada would again be "cool".
Finally, such a promise would tear the Right apart. Libertarians and social conservatives would be at each other's throats and the National Post and great swaths of the Sun Media chain will side with the Liberals on this one! The National Post, Canada's flag ship of Canadian conservativism, has repeatedly called on marijuana to be legalized and has heaped scorn on the Conservative position.