Thursday, November 8, 2012


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?


@mcmanustheautho said...

Your observations on the referendums are correct.

However, this is not legal yet as both possession and the selling of marijuana are Federal offences.

People will not legally be lighting in Colorado anytime soon.

For me, the question becomes how do we detect those who are impaired on marijuana that are driving cars?

There is no breathelyser for marijuana detection yet.

I have seen people so stoned they cannot stand up or speak a sentence. Imagine that behind the wheel of a car.

Cyril Rogers said...

PETER, I have never smoked weed but have long felt that it is "criminal" to prosecute people for indulging in this activity. The sale of marijuana should be regulated like it is with alcohol and tobacco. I don't have to subscribe to its use myself but who am I to tell other people it is illegal?

Peter L. Whittle said...

Hence the reference to a potential battle between the feds and the states. At this point it will be legal in the states on those dates. The feds will have to decide if they will challenge it! If the republicans had won, I expect there would have been a challenge.