Opinion | Justin Trudeau now owns Canada’s marijuana mess

Opinion | Justin Trudeau now owns Canada’s marijuana mess
Opinion | Justin Trudeau now owns Canada’s marijuana mess
Canada, pot, legalization, Justin Trudeau, cannabis
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd4_4MPV20qVj80Rm_cQHOw?sub_confirmation=1
People wait in line to purchase legal cannabis in Calgary, Alberta, on Wednesday. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press, via AP) By J.J. McCullough J.J. McCullough Email Bio Follow October 18 at 8:15 PM Because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can be such a polarizing figure in Canada, one of his inadvertent talents is clarifying the positions of his critics. Before Trudeau came along, the question of how the Canadian electoral system was structured was not overly divisive. Today, thanks to his botched efforts to make the present system “fairer,” the status quo has become more jealously guarded by the right. His unprovoked decision to tightly associate his administration with Canada’s ultraliberal abortion regime has likewise pushed the Conservative Party into closer alliance with the antiabortion movement. Trudeau’s decision to legalize marijuana, which officially took effect this week, seems destined to follow a similar script. So ill-conceived is the move, it can only improve the wisdom of anything conservatives conceive in contrast. Before Trudeau, Canada had established a marijuana status quo that, while deeply flawed, was at least reflective of Canadians’ own inconsistent attitudes toward the drug. Marijuana remained nominally illegal, but the illegality was poorly enforced, with police and prosecutors mostly ignoring minor possession and dealing-related offenses. The mainstreaming of the notion in the early 2000s that smoking pot could be considered “medicine” signaled a significant cultural shift and helped quietly rationalize a proliferation of brazenly illegal retail pot shops in urban centers. Deference was afforded to law enforcement to distinguish innocuous neighborhood dealers from brazenly criminal enterprises, with raids and arrests of those who had clearly crossed the line from small-time vendors to drug kingpins, such as the Emerys of Vancouver, offered as proof the system was working. Amid the erratic enforcement, pot’s illegality preserved symbolic virtue. At a cultural level, it served to reinforce a message every civilization benefits from hearing: Drugs are bad and shouldn’t be consumed. Parents had the law on their side when they told children to stay away from weed; principals and employers could justify zero-tolerance policies. Even if the net effect was just a low-level sense of guilt and anxiety around the drug, there was value in this. Much of the apprehension we feel about committing minor offenses such as jaywalking, littering and petty theft come from a sense that these are negative acts that contribute to the erosion of a proper social order. A great deal of bad behavior is against the law without rising to the level of a high crime. Marijuana is a personal health hazard, a public nuisance and a habit-forming depressant that routinely hurts families, friendships, careers and other important relationships. The state held a legitimate mandate to stigmatize the substance. Trudeau’s legalization plan has taken a

Opinion | Justin Trudeau now owns Canada’s marijuana mess