Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mulcair and Marijuana

Steve V has a good post on how Muclair's call for a Royal Commission on marijuana is so 1969 and really only a thinly veiled attempt to push the issue out of the political spotlight. I should add that a call for such a commission is also extermely dishonest. He is calling for the wrong kind of commission. The years of debating the dangers of marijuana consumption both real and imagined have long since passed. The question before us now is how to go about legalizing it.

After all, it is not a matter of if marijuana will be legalized but when. I am betting that it will happen sooner rather than later. In a few short years, Latin America has gone from having former politicians musing about legalization to sitting presidents all but putting it onto the political agenda. Calderon is about to loose the Mexican election because of his hard line stance. This is turning out to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. In Latin America not only is the war on drugs a disaster from a policy viewpoint it is looking like it is becoming a political loser and politicians throughout the region are taking notice.

At the summit of Americas recently, Latin American leaders all but told Obama -- and Harper -- that the situation is so dire that years of the US being able to force Latin America into line through carrot and stick is rapidly coming to end. Their firm tone explains Harper's remarkable -- albeit momentary -- climbdown. "I think what everybody believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do.”

In North America, a prohibitionist stance, is, of course, still a viable political stance. However, the legal legitimacy of those laws is rapidly being called into question in Canada. This is especially so in BC where the entire political establishment is quickly getting on board with legalization. Stateside, the success a referendum question coupled with the mushrooming industry connected to "medical" marijuana is sure to spell an end to prohibitionist era in the States.

However things rap up, the position of the NDP and Conservatives, insure that Canada will be woefully unprepared when it does happen.

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