Lost in the flood of news related to Tuesday’s election results in the United States of America were the results of controversial citizen’s initiatives legalizing marijuana.
Voters in Washington State and Colorado bought into the argument that the war on soft drugs like a marijuana has been a dismal failure. They argued that treating marijuana use as a crime had failed and it was time to try something else. Voters agreed.
We are not talking about licensed “coffee shops. As of Dec. 6, residents of Washington State aged 21 and older will be allowed to possess one ounce of marijuana. The state’s liquor control board will regulate'
The state will also legalize and tax sales which goes a step beyond liberalized countries like the Netherlands where wholesale selling and growing remains illegal growers and sellers. There will be a 25% tax on both wholesale and retail sales, which will be used to fund drug prevention, schools and health insurance.
Colorado will be a little different. They will allow personal possession and growing for one’s own use or to give away. Sales will require a license and will be taxed to fund school construction, at a rate of up to 15%.
The U.S. Department of Justice could still intervene, creating a clash over states rights. The federal government continues to consider an illegal substance, and possession, sale or distribution of marijuana is a crime.
The Liberal Party of Canada, at it's biannual Party convention this year voted to support the legalization of marijuana.
The New Democratic Party is less clear. Leader Tom Mulcair's stated position is that decriminalization would be "a mistake" because of the health risks associated with marijuana currently on the market. However, the NDP leader doesn't believe anyone should go to jail for possessing a small amount of marijuana
Why are we treating people as criminals for the possession of marijuana?
Would it not make more sense to eliminate the illicit market by regulating the industry through taxation taking the profits away from criminal organizations.
Is it time Canada changed its laws too?