Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment toward major drug law reform is a welcome if belated recognition that when it comes to marijuana, Canada has been an emperor with no clothes for several years.
For two decades, Canada has been a major producer, consumer and exporter of marijuana. As in the rest of the Western world, research indicates that less than 20 per cent of the product is interdicted by law enforcement. This is nowhere what is needed to dissuade marijuana producers and distributors, large and small, from engaging in their activities. Prohibition increases the value of the commodity, and profits hit stratospheric levels unknown in legitimate business.
Experiments in various parts of the world, such as Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States have shown that decriminalization or legalization reduces the harm inflicted by the consumption of drugs. In Colorado and Washington state, health and education programs are beginning to reap the benefits of new revenue streams derived from the legalization of marijuana.
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