CANNABIS CULTURE – Newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given an official order to Liberal Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to start the process that will lead to marijuana legalization in Canada.
In an official Mandate Letter, the PM outlines his policy instructions and includes a paragraph on cannabis legalization:
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities: …
• 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.
The Liberal leader has not provided a detailed timeline or information on how marijuana might be legalized but told reporters before being elected he would get to work “right away” on the issue.
“We don’t yet know exactly what rate we’re going to be taxing it, how we’re going to control it, or whether it will happen in the first months, within the first year, or whether it’s going to take a year or two to kick in,” Trudeau told CBC reporters in Surrey, B.C. in early October.
Trudeau offered a few more hints in Quebec in September when he told the press, “We’re going to work with the provinces to make sure that the control and regulation of marijuana is done in a way that is responsible and suitable. … The sort of control and regulation in many cases will be in conversation with provinces in how they administer and how they control distribution.” Trudeau said he didn’t expect marijuana to be sold in corner stores.
During the federal campaign, Trudeau made marijuana legalization one of the key issues of his platform, discussing the issue repeatedly with the press and not shying away from the issue despite attacks from the Conservatives.
The Liberal website’s section on marijuana explains the party position that legalization will “keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals.”
“Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system,” the platform states. “It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.”
Trudeau also came out in support of overturning former marijuana convictions, telling The Georgia Straight in Vancouver, “That’s something that we’ll be looking into as we move forward. There has been many situations over history when laws come in that overturn previous convictions and there will be a process for that that we will set up in a responsible way.”
Despite Trudeau’s election as Prime Minister and his open public commitment to legalization, police in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Nanaimo, B.C. have continued to wage war on medical marijuana dispensaries.
Saskatoon Police raided and shut down The Saskatchewan Compassion Club at the end of October, arresting and charging several employees.
Listen to an interview with Prairie marijuana activist Jeff Lundstrom about the Saskatoon crack-down:
Nanaimo RCMP visited Nanaimo’s 10 medical marijuana dispensaries with letters insisting they stop selling marijuana or face enforcement.
Nanaimo Police Demand Closure of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Nanaimo Police Demand Closure of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries – interview with members of The Nanaimo Medicinal Cannabis CoalitionWatch the full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI6YN8_Xh2w
Posted by Cannabis Culture Magazine on Saturday, November 14, 2015
CBC News reported that Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was unaware of the crack-down on Nanaimo dispensaries and “has questions” about letters sent by police.