Marijuana prohibition will soon come to an end. Indeed, if Californians vote yes on proposition 19, the end will come next on Tuesday.
Legal production of marijuana in California will make the legislation of marijuana elsewhere in the US all but inevitable and extension in Canada as well. Obama is not going to go to war with California in order to maintain a federal prohibition and his unwillingness to tackle the issue head on will be mean the flow of legal Californian bud into the rest of the US will dwarf the amount of illegal Mexican bud going North now. Prohibition is not a half way proposition.
Speaking of Mexico, illegal producers there will be hit hard. However, low their costs are now in comparison to US producers, Illegal producers in Mexico will not be able to compete with legal producers in the US. Of course, Mexican producers will not be the only ones effected. Proposition 19 will spell the end of billion dollar export industry in Canada over night.
Now, even if proposition 19 fails, there is no putting the medical marijuana genie back in the bottle. You see, unlike in Canada, in California, for example, one does not have to be afflicted with a particular aliment to be eligible for medical marijuana. A doctor can proscribe marijuana for whatever they see fit. Needless to say, such a system is ripe for abuse and the Bush administration was right to see California's medical marijuana program as a potential Trojan horse. But Obama let Odysseus and rest the Greeks out. By failing to crack down on medical marijuana users and dispensaries Obama has allowed the medical marijuana industry in California and elsewhere to grow to the point there is no turning back now. There are more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks.
The Liberals need to come up with a plan. Canada needs to come up with a plan. The loss of the billion dollar industry, albeit an illegal industry is going to have an impact.
The natural response, indeed, the only response, is to beat the Americans to the punch. Far from being political poison, as I said countless times before, there is a lot of political legalization has a lot of upside for the Liberals. It would drive a wedge between libertarians and Theo cons. It would appeal to people who would otherwise would not vote -- most notably young Canadians. It would be popular in very provinces that the Liberals actually have a chance of making headway, e.g., urban Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. It would garner a lot of positive international exposure. It would leave the Conservatives defending discredited Reefer Madness arguments. Above all else, the lynch pin in the opponents arguments, viz. that the US will not stand for it, is quickly be worn away.