On marijuana, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals fight back

Paul Wells on what’s at play in the 2015 election campaign

Remember those Conservative radio ads targeting Justin Trudeau and the Liberals on marijuana legalization? No? Not surprising: They haven’t received much coverage except for this piece I wrote a month ago. The Conservative ads ran for weeks on end, although they seem (I say tentatively) to have stopped. It was an aggressive buy, it ran in Punjabi and probably in Mandarin and Cantonese, and it sought to make parents worry that Liberal drug policy would harm children.

Now the Liberals are running ads of their own on the same issue. Here:

Here’s the script for the ads in English:

In the past seven years of Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, our community has been flooded with marijuana. Justin Trudeau wants to tightly regulate marijuana, to keep it out of the hands of our kids and striking back at the criminals and gangs who distribute it. Stephen Harper’s approach has failed. We need a leader who is willing to tackle problems with solutions that actually work. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are looking out for themselves. Justin Trudeau is looking out for us. He’ll be a Prime Minister with real priorities. Authorized by the Liberal Party of Canada.

I’d be awfully curious to know how extensive the ad buy for these spots is. I’m told they’re running mostly, but not exclusively, in suburban Vancouver and in the Greater Toronto Area. Readers who’ve heard them in paid commercial time should feel free to say so in the comments or on Twitter using #SawAnAd.

What’s significant is that the Liberals are riposting to the Conservative campaign; that they are doing so with a description of Trudeau’s policy (and the effects of Harper’s!) that many Conservatives would find surprising; and that they sound for all the world like the sort of critical “contrast” ads Trudeau had seemed to foreswear.

Readers who haven’t been following this barely-below-the-surface ad campaign on drug policy may be surprised to learn that so much of it is being played out in immigrant communities in non-official languages. They shouldn’t be. As I’ve written, there’s a lot of sensitivity in these communities around drug use, although of course opinion is diverse there as it is anywhere.

For an indication of just how sensitive, read this blog post by Justin McElroy, a Vancouver journalist. He crunches numbers from a recent failed petition drive to force a referendum on pot decriminalization in B.C. The drive’s organizers released a lot of riding-specific data on the extent to which their campaign succeeded or fell short; McElroy finds that in ridings with substantial populations whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, the petition drive failed spectacularly. Check out his last graph and the surrounding discussion for more.

In recent campaign-style videos aimed at the Liberal donor base, Trudeau staffers are asserting that the 2015 general-election campaign is underway. To a greater extent than I would have imagined, and a far greater extent than has so far been covered elsewhere, that campaign has begun by focusing on differences over drug policy.




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On marijuana, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals fight back

  1. My understanding was that some CPC gains in “ethnic” communities were being made in circumstances where the Liberals had abandoned the field and were no longer doing any “outreach” at all. If that’s changing, no matter what the message, it could be a gut punch to the CPC. Just showing up might be a big part of winning.

    • If only was that easy. It takes a lot more work than that.

    • I think there’s more to the CPC gains than a Liberal vacuum. Kenney, in particular, and the party in general, have been courting the “ethnic” vote aggressively and successfully for almost a decade. The Liberals enjoyed decades of near monopooly among many multicultural communities, due in part to their immigration and multiculturalist policies. What the Conservatives have done, with considerable brilliance, is translate their often shared values with ‘ethnic’ Canadian communities (law and order, minimal government interference, appeals to family values, etc.) into votes.

      • I think that there’s something to both of what we’re saying, but that the “immigrants are really conservative” thing is overstated.

        • Why do you think that?

          • It may be a bit overstated, it’s always problematic to paint a huge polyglot group with the same brush. Still, it’s true that we’re not getting all or most of our immigrants from European and/or Western countries like we once did. Consider Arab and muslim countries, from where we are now taking a lot of immigrants — a couple of my best friends just spent 2 months in Morocco, staying in houses where literally the women did not leave the home, ever. That is the social convention — women literally stay at home, always. A lot of these countries have incredibly conservative values, socially speaking.

          • The people who emigrate here, left those countries though.

          • The CPC will no longer receive votes from the Arab communities most likely, they lost that whole demographic when Harper spoke out against Arabs in Isreal lmao..

        • Sure, but it’s a completely fair generalization to say that non European cultures are indeed *socially* conservative, and rates of religious participation give plenty of hard data. Most muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, traditional Buddhists, and Hispanic or Asian Roman Catholics have clearly socially conservative attitudes on a whole variety of wedges in cultural identity politics from drug control and LGBT issues to endangered species vs. Shark Fin Soup. Abortion may be a variable exception which confuses the rule (since secular media so often reduce social conservativism to a simplistic matter of anti-choice as THE social conservative cause).

          Where you’re right is that many raising their families with a stricter patriarchal traditionalism than mainstream WASPPs (White Anglo-Saxon Post-Protestant) are also fiscal liberals who most benefit from investment in public education, healthcare, and transit… who are quite confortable with Big Government planning investment efficiently, from Dubai to Singapore to Shanghai to Yokohama. The usual libertarian rhetoric strikes no chord with them: the North American assumption that Business is automatically faster and more efficient than government can sound a bit bizzare if you come from mainland China, where 45 of the 50 top Big Businesses are state-owned.

          The LPC’s glory days were built on the base of the Catholic Left… Especially with Catholicism, its anti-capitalist social conservatism has been easy to miss in the post-JohnPaul2 / pre-Francis era. But with anti-communism moot, the Catholic critique of capitalism is re-finding its voice and that’s easily the most significant politics of 2013, for Canada as elsewhere.

          Our challenge is it’s the opposite of how so many urban Liberal activists have come to identify themselves. It’s virtually become a cliche at LPC conventions to hear people say “Well, I lean left on social, and right on the economy” and while that formula may warm the heart of Andrew Coyne et al, it’s basically a good description of the UK LibDems or German FreeDems, and an excellent formula for permanent 3rd place. It’s the opposite of where families are in ridings like ours (Vancouver Kingsway) because in contrast to the experience of the anglophone baby-boomers who dominate journalism, post-60s attitudes of lapsed Christians are being compensated by immigrants almost everywhere west of Quebec, across cohorts younger than the boomers.

          While Justin is absolutely right on the substance re marijuana, we will need to remember it’s a mid-term small potatoes issue that’s not going to win us an election. Though I’d say it is a decent enough lure to keep the government distracted…

          • 40% of eligible voters didn’t show up for the last federal election, in BC only 50% showed for the recent provincial election.
            Anybody who can shake a significant percentage of these non-voters loose can win, and the marijuana enthusiast finds himself usually persecuted by the right and ignored by the left. If all the potsmokers in BC turn out this time to vote for Justin, it’s his.

          • same with Ontario, out of 500 people i talked to in high school here, every one of them have smoked marijuanna at least once lol.

      • Well said. Nail on the head.

  2. “… that many Conservatives would find surprising; and that they sound for all the world like the sort of critical “contrast” ads Trudeau had seemed to foreswear.”
    I would hope that Trudeau hasn’t foresworn off at least counter punching. [ it's politics so i wont say a well timed sucker punch isn't ocassionally called for]
    Presumably you’re referring to the last 7 years shot?[ which is pretty odd if they can't back it up]
    Regulation is the part of legalization they need to stress here – so they have that right. I’m only familiar to a degree with Vancouver, and gangs are a blight there, that’s for sure.
    Maybe he’s going to need something else that will fly there? As we all know, people do tend to prioritize differently. Nevertheless safer streets for kids is a tantalizing carrot to dangle, if he can sell it. And his other plus – the status quo isn’t working. That can be a powerful lever for trying a risky change. I don’t see how JT can afford to stay away from contrast ads or message, as long as he’s the one offering positive change its worth the risk.

    • A few questions:

      1. How high were you when you wrote this? Do you even syntax bro?

      2. How badly burned will you feel when Harper gives OK to cops to ticket (ie decriminalize) weed this spring?

      3. If I say Harper is going to cut Justin’s grass on the weed file, is that a pun or a mixed metaphor?

      • Wrong target happy guy. My recreational drug of choice is a nice cold brew on a hot sunny day these days. I wouldn’t mind seeing decrim tried first, although i think it’ll only be a stepping stone anyway.
        Sorry to burst your rhetorical bubble. Try a little less asummin’ in your line of attack next time… bro.

        • Hmmm, I forgot how incredibly uptight you Liberal trolls are around this joint, good point, cheerfully withdrawn.

          But why not try a lil’ reefer, though? You clearly could benefit from a little levity, in a not dissimilar way that Harper will benefit by introducing decrim on his way to winning a fourth – fourth! – consecutive election.

          Harper’s not a trial balloon kind of guy and when he and his cabinet ministers repeatedly hint that decrim is coming it’s likely coming.

          • Harper will only go the ticketing/decrim route if he has lost this issue and wants to mitigate the damage.

            Anything other than doubling down on penalties will be an admission that “for the past seven years” the policies of the Harper have been a failure. Trudeau’s approach has many problems with the details but he can at least construct an argument that regulation can keep it away from kids. The ticketing route does exactly the opposite.

            Trudeau owns (for better or worse) the radical change agenda on this issue, Harper owns the status quo.

          • On what planet does regulation do more to keep marijuana away from kids than decriminalization?

            I’ve got news for you: marijuana is already very very tightly regulated. It’s illegal. It doesn’t get more regulated than that.

          • Look up Rick, way up. I was commenting on LOL’s post in which he speculated that Harper would do an end-around by allowing cops to merely ticket pot users. My point was that leaving the supply chain unaltered and just dropping the cost to the end users certainly would increase access for kids. (this will occur on all planets that adopt the policy) So Harper can not really both make pot a “ticketed” offense and attack Trudeau for making pot accessible to kids, he has to choose and he will choose to continue attacking Trudeau.

            Trudeau makes the case that regulation can be more effective. Is it easier for a kid to get pot or alcohol?.. I don’t really know. It would certainly depend upon the details of the distribution and the penalties for passing pot to kids. As you likely know, Trudeau was a longstanding opponent to decriminalization because he felt it would increase access for kids. On that point, he was certainly correct.

          • So Harper can not really both make pot a “ticketed” offense and
            attack Trudeau for making pot accessible to kids, he has to choose and
            he will choose to continue attacking Trudeau.

            ***

            You may be overestimating the average CPC voter, here.

          • LOL! Very likely!

          • What? If people want a product as easy to get as marijuana, they will get it. As soon as you make a product illegal you leave it in the hands of people who you now call criminals to regulate it. Therefore no regulation at all. The prohibition merely becomes a cost of doing business. Prohibition of alcohol created a powerful criminal network and did not stop anyone who wanted a drink to get one. Why not learn from history?

          • Rick learn something? From something other than CPC talking points? What are you smokin’? ;-)

          • In addition to leaving the distribution of an illicit product in the hands of an unregulated criminal network, there are no standards around the safety and quality of the product itself, and the government is foregoing a massive revenue stream from taxation on its sale.

            Come to think of it, maybe that’s what the Cons are actually trying to forestall, i.e., a new, virtually recession-proof source of revenue for the government they are ideologically determined to shrink.

          • You evidently don’t know much about the history of prohibition as means of “regulating”. Do some research into the legal banning of alcohol and come back when you have some useful knowledge with which to buttress your argument.

          • I have news for you Rick, something being illegal doesn’t make it hard to get. As a teenager I could buy weed in my school. Under tight regulation it would be hard to make a living as a dealer, making it less likely to be sold in schools. No doubt this will still happen, but at least then kids buying won’t be charged for possession, and the focus is put on the kids selling. Meanwhile, the responsible adults in the room are still free to do as they like without being labelled ‘criminals’ or without having to deal with criminals.

          • Cannabis is completely unregulated. Regulated cannabis would be government inspected and tested and sold to adults with proper identification. Regulation does not mean banning unless you are a Coinservative.

            I have been using medical cannabis since 1970 and am sixty four years old. I am sick of alcoholic imbeciles spewing hate speech against the medical cannabis community.

            If there new immigrant s had any brains they would research Harper and his racist Christian fascists. The reform party had numerous red neck hate mongers who spewed the typical right wing immigrant bashing hate speech.

          • If marijuana is completely unregulated, why can’t I go into a store and buy it?

          • But your child could walk down to the street corner and buy it… that’s the point.

          • Thanks, A N….
            If anything, your post should do more to discourage the long term use of pot than any warning the government could put out there.
            I’m guessing your “medical condition” that necessitated your requirement to smoke pot is called, “dontwannawork-itis”
            Or something like that.
            For the record….I don’t drink.

          • Since when do drug dealers check for id”s. Ask a kid to buy cigarettes in a convenience store. I have seen many a kid turned away. Criminalization does not regulate the product for those that use illegal supply methods. Anyone who believes that there are not rampant illegal supply methods in Canada for marijuana has their head in the sand. Trudeau is trying to put those illegal supply methods out of business by providing legal regulated supply methods. While this is not with out its issues and problems surely its better then letting criminals regulate things.

          • The Harper party can’t win elections in Canada so they cheat in them. I think most of us have figured that out and the laws that need fixing are the ones that allow parties that cheat to run in elections again. They should have been thrown out once charged.

          • So would you also ban the Liberals for the sponsorship scandal? That was a scam set up by the Liberals to cheat at elections also, you know.

          • The sponsorship scandal is no more relevant today that PM Harper’s releationsip was with the Northern Foundation back in the mid 1980s. We can leave both where they are – back in history of another time.

          • Anyone cheating in elections should be dealt with by never being allowed to run in another election. I’d ban all political parties if I could be the dictator for a day.

          • You may have noticed that the electorate did, in effect, ban the Liberals at the ballot box, soon after the sponsorhip scandal – the very fate that now awaits the Cons after their PMO-senate stinkfest..

          • Harper is one of the most pandering PMs in Canadian history. Everything is a trial balloon for Harper, the buffoon. Harper and Chopper Mckay are flip-flopping on the ” War ON Drugs “(this is called pandering right now). It seems, the Justin Trudeau effect is having a big effect on the Harper cons. The Justin Trudeau effect is starting to turn into a movement, and the train just started in BC last night and it aint stopping(over 1000 people showed up to see Trudeau),if that was harper, that would be 1000 paid ornaments, by the taxpayers of Canada. Let the movement

          • Yes, a thousand in little old Victoria. He’s in Vancouver tonight.

          • Yeah, you strike me as a real loosey goosey guy ok.

      • It’s not “decrim.” What Harper may propose (which I doubt) is the same watered down “alternative measures” that Cauchon and the Liberals floated in 2005.

        BTW, the pot puns and insults may seem inspired to you, but this is a serious campaign and a serious industry now. Quit with the ad homenim.

      • “Do you even syntax bro?”

        Glass houses.

      • If Harper decriminalizes, he will lose any moral authority to attack legalization. At that point we’re arguing over degree.

        Arguing for legalization and regulation allows the government to mandate that legal marijuana be restored to its more historical chemical makeup, before THC contents were bred up to 20%. There are other compounds in ‘heirloom’ marijuana that balance the psychological effects of THC and reduce risk of psychological side effects.

        • Brilliant !
          All Justin has to do is explain to all the stoners ( I would suggest that he use a chart, coloured, with curvy lines) that the new and improved GP (government pot) may have a little less THC in it, but it`s gonna be cheaper, easier to score, and there won`t be any of those nasty psychotic meltdowns we all know about after smoking your brains out.

          Nah, I don`t see a problem there.

          • You’re hard to take seriously, so I’m not even going to try.

          • I think what you mean is that Justin Trudeau’s marijuana policy is hard to take seriously. Cawm just summed it up pretty accurately.

          • Good one!

          • Pretty accurately in the minds of those who have facile (if hopelessly useless and uninformed) solutions for everything. Cawm makes sense in a simple little fantasy world uninformed by sciences like demography or criminology.

          • Spot on, Cawm. I would never vote for legalization of ditch weed that is going to be “cheaper”, and harder to buy, than what we get now.

          • In fact, one of the benefits of legalizing and regulating the sale and distribution of marijuana would be the enforcement of safe standards on the product itself. An unknown percentage of the illegally sold product is cut with deleterious additives.

            And you’d be surprised by the demographics included among the consumers you snobbily dismiss as “the stoners”. It’s a constituency the Cons ignore at their peril.

          • If you bothered to research your anti cannabis lies you would find the RCMP used to test samples of substances it seized. They never found any additive substances ( drugs) on cannabis bud.

            The reason is that all other illegal substance cost at least ten times what cannabis costs. So why would anyone put one hundred dollar a gram cocaine on ten dollar a gram pot.

            Now you proud non cannabis users will say but they want to get you hooked. But one hit of a subsistence is not going to make you dependent. Most drugs have an dependence ration of less than fifteen percent and it takes considerable use and abuse to reach dependence level. Also contaminated cannabis would taste horrible. Imagine smoking an aspirin.

            Organic cannabis vaporized tastes wonderful and has beautiful flavours like flowers do.So only an imbecile would smoke cannabis with any substance on it. Most drugs are alkaloids and taste awful literally like poisons which are also alkaloids.

          • Where did you get the impression I was “anti cannabis”? For someone who is apparently steeped in scientific info about marijuana, your comprehension skills seem limited.

          • He`s irritable.

          • This comment
            “Now you proud non cannabis users will say but they want to get you hooked”
            Coming from A N….a guy who just wrote on a previous post that he’s been smoking pot since 1970.

          • No you hateful alcoholic bastard I take cannabis orally or by vapourization to treat my symptoms. I never claimed cannabis cures anything. I can just state facts from personal experience cannabis can safely treat symptoms.

          • i am a medical cannabis user for more than four decades. I am sick of you alcoholic imbeciles and your hate speech about the medical cannabis community.

          • Tell me something Big AN. after smoking the ganja for 40+ years do you find that one of the side effects is irritability, you know like when you haven`t been high for a day or so, like just before you spewed some nasty on this site ?

          • Prior to four decades ago A N…..could you string a coherent sentence together?

          • What is it like to not feel empathy you sociopathic snob. Go get high on your ethanol and drive as you normally do you solvent abusing imbecile.

          • One more thought….
            I thought medicine was to make one better. If 40 years of taking it hasn’t fixed your problem….then perhaps you should try something more effective.
            Unless of course, your problem is that you are just looking for an excuse to get high.

          • What is your excuse for taking mind altering pharmaceuticals and brain damaging ethanol to get high you solvent abusing loser.. Alcohol is carcinogenic, co carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. and is the hardest drug. you hopeless addict.

            Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis

            Prof David J Nutt FMedSci a Corresponding AuthorEmail Address, Leslie A King PhD b, Lawrence D Phillips PhD c, on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

            Summary

            Background

            Proper assessment of the harms caused by the misuse of drugs can inform policy makers in health, policing, and social care. We aimed to apply multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) modelling to a range of drug harms in the UK.

            Methods

            Members of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, including two invited specialists, met in a 1-day interactive workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

            Findings

            MCDA modelling showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

            Interpretation

            These findings lend support to previous work assessing drug harms, and show how the improved scoring and weighting approach of MCDA increases the differentiation between the most and least harmful drugs. However, the findings correlate poorly with present UK drug classification, which is not based simply on considerations of harm.

            Funding

            Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK).

          • You who take a stone and destroy others lives are the real “stoners”!

        • If Harper decriminalizes he can come back in the following election and run on the fact that decriminalizing has done nothing to stem the flow of drugs to minors. Then all he has to do is hope that people won’t know the difference between decriminalisation and legalization and can run on going back to straight-up criminalization. Brilliant.

          • Wouldn’t that seem really neurotic?

      • Decriminalization does nothing to reduce access by youth. It does nothing to address the revenue generated from marijuana by organized crime. It is a dumb policy that is only exceeded in stupidity by criminalization. Regulation is the only solution to this problem worth implementing. The status quo is expensive and encourages marijuana use by children by making it the most easily accessed drug for those same children.

        If you think that it is brilliant strategy, you are wrong. It is a recipe for gangs, guns, and childhood drug abuse.

        • “It does nothing to address the revenue generated from marijuana by organized crime.”

          If it’s perfectly legal, wouldn’t that take organized crime out of the picture?

          • If kids under 18 or 19 cannot legally buy it, then that group will still be a target for organized crime.

          • The way organized crime sells alcohol to kids?

          • lenny this is EXACTLY the sort of thing that Stockwell Day warned us about! Of course, organized crime is all over selling booze to toddlers and yet NOTHING in the lamestream media or from the cops. How I miss Stock!

          • Because there will be such a huge profit margin for the gangsters – buying from the government at retail prices, and re-selling it.

          • I didn’t realize organized crime was running booze.

          • I think that was the point…

          • note my reply to. :)

          • Do you see practitioners of organized crime making scads of money from purveying booze to minors? After all, it’s legal and regulated.

          • No; it just means individuals in posession of personal amounts would not be charged. The same folks selling now would continue to be suppliers, and would still run the same risks. At least that’s the “decrim” Harper & Co. have floated.

          • No, organized crime can still operate using legal enterprises.

          • So what? Organized crime can also operate grocery stores, bars and restaurants too. Should those be outlawed as well?

          • Don’t contaminate Conservative propaganda with truth. Conservatives hate truth it is always so inconvenient.

      • Decriminalization is also a tacit admission that the current policy doesn’t work. Decriminalization is easily criticized because it doesn’t address the youth access and gang income issues. Consequently, it is easily criticized. Whether morons will understand that or not is a good question. However, Harper probably has the moron vote sewed up no matter what policies are on the table.

        • Trudeau’s policy will do nothing to curb marijuana use among kids. It’s already illegal for kids to buy marijuana. Does legalizing it for adults somehow make it more illegal for kids? No, it doesn’t.

          • If it’s legal for adults only, you will need ID to buy it. Drug dealers don’t ask for ID.

          • Drug dealers will simply buy in legally and then peddle it illegally to minors. Simple as that.

          • again, it’s the same as alcohol. yup, what you suggest will happen here. it’s about harm reduction, not perfection.

            the flip side of your argument is that we should reintroduce prohibition because that will be safer for the kids. It wouldn’t be.

          • Right…there are countless organized criminals involved in the same business model, purveying booze to kids, aren’t there, Francien?

          • I mean, this might happen for a little while before it becomes too much trouble. But just like booze, the underground market will dissipate. As it currently is, drug dealers buy illegally and peddle it illegally to minors. I don’t see how the current scenario is better.

          • The legal regulated adult and medical cannabis market is much larger than the teenage market. So adults will buy organic tested and certified pure bud from government stores.. The gangs will lose ninety percent of their market and sales. This drives up their costs at the same time police are concentrating their enforcement on the teenage market.as adult use will be legal.

            Consider when was the last time someone tried to give or sell you moonshine. Unregulated and taxed home made wine or beer.is not illegal now. anyone can brew as much wine or beer as they want and can give it away for free to any adult.

    • The Conservative pushback on this sounds like it was ripped off of the no legalization campaigns in Colorado and Washington. And we all know what happened there.

      Reefer madness just doesn’t work anymore. And frankly, most people now consider someone who hates marijuana users in the same class as those that hate gays and non-whites. Oddly, there has always been a correlation in those prejudices…. and if you look at the history of cannabis prohibition, it was brought in for those very reasons: racism and hate of the “weirdo” and the “other.”

      All they have left is the stupid impaired driving FUD, and even that isn’t working as well…thanks in part to MADD and the impaired driving lobby turning into an unreasonable temperance organization.

      • Couldn`t agree more.
        Personally, I would like to see more of our tentative winter drivers exploring our slushy roads after enjoying a few pulls on a reefer.
        This whole full attention, sober thought, driving practice is highly overrated.
        I`m not sure DWH (driving while high) should become mandatory but I sure would like to see a lot more stoned drivers out there. I can see that would be a definite improvement from what I see now.

      • LOLOLOLOL

        Are you for real?! Not liking a drug which is known to cause physical and mental health problems is akin to racism and bigotry in your mind?

        Impaired driving isn’t a big deal?

        Wow, Liberals really are all jumping on the crazy-wagon.

        • “…hates marijuana users…”

          Poor stupie still can’t read. But at least he can laugh himself silly about it.

        • May cause physical and mental health problems in people who are still developing I.e. children. Adults have little to worry about since their brains are fully formed. Since it’s non-addictive and the physical effects are from long-term exposure that’s really a non-issue. The legalization and regulation stream will help to keep kids away from the stuff (better than what’s currently the case). If you smoke in regulation when you’re an adult you likely won’t get ‘burnt out’, the way high school kids often do. Anyway, weed doesn’t “cause” mental illness the way you’ve stated, but does increase your likeliness of developing conditions like schizophrenia if you’re already predisposed. This form of illness usually comes on around the age of 18 for males and 35 for females. In the first case, regulation will do a better job at keeping weed out of the hands of youth than either criminalization or decriminalisation will do, and in the second case, adult women are perfectly capable of understanding the risks involved with any activity they participate in. This is, btw the same risk involved with drinking in excess.

          The effects of smoking weed and driving are extremely minor pared with say drinking. That being said, yes it’s better to be driving not impaired but campaigns similar to what we’ve seen against drunk driving can be as equally effective. People already drive stoned all the time. You just don’t notice them rick. Most people are responsible enough to know when they’re too impaired to drive. This is a non-issue.

        • Cawn was being sarcastic which is lost on the intellectually deficient. I am a legal medical cannabis user and am sick of you alcoholic imbeciles and your idiotic hate speech against safe sane adult consumption orally or by vapouriztion.

          No one is advocating for impaired driving. I have no license and wont be driving as my medical conditions make me ineligible to obtain a drivers license.

          Why do you advocate for the current system of arresting and destroying the lives of responsible cannabis users.while allowing ethanol users to drink their poison and drive. Why is there not zero tolerance for ethanol in drivers blood streams. Because Canada is an alcoholic nation and we have made wine a sacrament in mass.and intoxication by poisonous ethanol legal.

      • Sounds like the last place it may have a hold is in the ethnic communities. Trudeau needs to push back hard against any notion pot is some kind of gateway drug. It’s a recreational drug pure and simple. Although one that has is damaging to kids. So, regulate and get it out of the hands of gangs and kids is a sound line to take.

        • The “gateway” BS is a classic example of elementary misuse of data and statistics, to wit, the difference between correlation and causation. Fact is, if you’re someone with a certain open-minded “risk-taking” personality, you’re more likely to try pot AND other recreational drugs. It’s also true that when you’re young, pot is probably the recreational drug (after alcohol) that you’re most likely to encounter first. So of course if you do a poll of, say, cocaine users, surprise surprise you’ll find that they started out smoking pot. But it doesn’t mean that the pot use “caused” the cocaine use. If you can’t grasp that, you need to take a 101 course in basic statistics and research.

          • Seems logical. I’m not particularly inclined toward risk taking, therefore some fairly minor and relatively short lived amount of alcohol abuse was fine for me; emphasis on the was. I have friends[ who doesn't] that don’t self regulate as well. Unfortunately legalization of pot isn’t likely to help them. But if all it does is scare off the “good”kids from trying their luck on the street it will have paid for itself. Personally i don’t think it will change the dial much, up or down. But there are other good reasons to legalize, not the least being cutting into illegal profits. I fear none of this will be as easy as some Liberals think though.

          • Alcoholics report being able to manage their ethanol dependence by judicious use of cannabis.

          • Exactly. And if pot is illegal, your source may well be the same person selling the other illegals – so if you’re a risk-taker, the temptation is right there in your face. Whereas if it is regulated, the person selling it to you won’t be trying to cross-sell you other illegals. So legalizing it might actually help reduce the use of other drugs (just me thinking “out loud”; didn’t check to see if there was any reduction of hard drug use in countries where pot was legalized.)

          • All drug use falls in countries that allow adults to access all substances. Check out Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland etc.

          • Alcohol is the gateway drug.

            THE LANCET

            Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis

            Prof David J Nutt FMedSci, Leslie A King PhD, Lawrence D Phillips PhD, on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

            Summary

            Background

            Proper assessment of the harms caused by the misuse of drugs can inform policy makers in health, policing, and social care. We aimed to apply multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) modelling to a range of drug harms in the UK.

            Methods

            Members of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, including two invited specialists, met in a 1-day interactive workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

            Findings

            MCDA modelling showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

            Interpretation

            These findings lend support to previous work assessing drug harms, and show how the improved scoring and weighting approach of MCDA increases the differentiation between the most and least harmful drugs. However, the findings correlate poorly with present UK drug classification, which is not based simply on considerations of harm.

            Funding Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK).

  3. Drugs legalization/regulation & ending the war-on-drugs SHOULD be an issue both left & right can agree on as a rational political & societal path. The father of modern American conservatism, William F. Buckley, opposed drugs prohibition & believed in legalizing all popular drugs as a rational conservative stance. Former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz agrees with Buckley, as does former Republican Senator & U.S. Presidential candidate Ron Paul, among other prominent conservatives who are against drugs prohibition. Contrary to the pseudo-conservative Harper gang’s official & hypocritical line this is not a left vs. right issue. Stop the failed, unjust, counter-productive war on drugs.

    • You are aware that Stephen Harper wasn’t the one who outlawed marijuana, right?

      • That hardly excuses Harper for his party’s irresponsible,outdated current policy of further ramping up the failed & indefensible war on drugs. e.g. new mandatory minimum jail sentences for backyard pot growers with 6 plants. That’s not a law Harper inherited. It’s one his gov’t invented.

        Btw, drugs prohibition is a a historical & cultural aberration, just 100 or so years old. For almost all of human history it was viewed as a human right to consume psychoactive drugs as one so chose. We had far fewer “drug problems” in my grandparents’ youth when cocaine, heroin, morphine, opium, & cannabis could all still be purchased legally at the local apothecary. That’s ’cause the worst so-called drug problems today are prohibition problems, direct outcomes of ill-conceived drugs laws, not due to drugs themselves.

        There’s a distasteful racist origin to our current drug laws too, with marijuana having been demonized in the U.S. along with Mexicans it was largely associated with at one time. Opium,,& by extension opiates, was associated with the “yellow peril” of opium dens of Chinatowns supposedly corrupting morals of young white men – & worse, white women.

        The hypocrisy of our current drug laws is amply illustrated by stats showing the most damaging & deadly drugs by far are our legal ones, tobacco (still kills a staggering 40K+ Canadians each year) & alcohol (causing accidents, violence, liver & heart disease, cancer, diabetes),not illicit ones. Even junk food & food abuse is far more deadly than illicit drugs as obesity related diseases kill as many Canadians each year as smoking, 40K – 50K. All illicit drugs combined could never come close to causing the carnage deadly legal substances each do.

        And the most dangerously impairing drug is none of the banned ones. It’s good old legal alcohol. It’s irrational & unjust to tolerate one set of deadly substances while demonizing & criminalizing far less damaging ones & their persecuted users.

        • We had similar levels of substance use and misuse in North America before and after legal prohibition. The trillion dollar drug war has not reduced the percentage of users or abusers. It has driven prices down substancially and improved quality dramatically

  4. This is also an indicator that the Liberals are starting to rival the Conservatives in fundraising. The Conservatives have always used their fundraising superiority to their advantage. There’s no limit as to how much any party can spend on campaign-style advertising in between elections.
    Now that the Liberals are catching up to the Conservatives in terms of fundraising, they’re beginning to build the same political infrastructure, and they’re beginning to remove that inequality.

  5. The only place I heard them in NB was in, surprise surprise, the Fredericton/Saint John market (News 88.9, specifically).

  6. If the next election turns on pot, I will be outside shooting myself in the face.

    • Legalization is a policy that came out of the 2012 convention. Trudeau can safely announce it because it was approved. There will be many more policies decided at the Feb 2014 convention in areas of greater interest to the majority of Canadians. Stay tuned and make your 2015 decision based on policies, who has the best team, and who will be able to bring out the best in that team.

    • Good idea

  7. I fear the Trudeau plan will cause the price of legal weed to triple that of the black market weed. I think much tax dollars would be wasted, if it’s legal and cheaper down the road at the local dealer, quess what, what say u?

    • There is no reason to believe that the price would be so high, to be honest it sounds just like fear mongering and a thin attempt to get potheads to be against legalization. Right now the price is extremely inflated because of the legal risks and the demand for it, when it is very cheap to produce. Even if the government applied very high sin taxes to it, it could still end up much cheaper than the black market and at WORSE it would be on par.

    • The bigger fear might be that legal pot may have THC limits. I mean, if you want to spread FUD among recreation put users.

      • yeah, but convenience is king. iTunes (and a little fear) greatly diminished FREE downloads.

  8. “they sound for all the world like the sort of critical “contrast” ads Trudeau had seemed to foreswear.”
    I would argue that Trudeau’s “high road” meant that he would not stoop to the low level used in 2011 by the Conservatives where they used comments taken out of context, and comments spoken over a decade ago, in personal attack ads. Critical contrast ads that focus on policy and past performance are not at all the same.

    • I agree and I’m surprised that Paul Wells is implying that the Liberals have “seemed to foreswear” off of this type of response. This IS the high road – rebut policy not personality and it is a smart road to travel IMHO.

      • Except he’s not rebutting any policy. If he were, he’d notice that marijuana usage has gone down while Harper’s been PM. Trudeau’s policy will only reverse that. Is that what Trudeau’s trying to accomplish, to have more marijuana smokers in Canada?

        • What about unreported marijuana usage?

          Remember how statistics showed that crime was down, but the Conservatives insisted people just weren’t reporting it and used this to justify their tough on crime agenda? How is this different?

          • You’ll probably get a lot of unreported Votes up for that

        • marijuana usage has gone down while Harper’s been PM…

          Reference please.

          • That’s funnny, because I thought marijuana-related convictions had gone up. Bear in mind, Rick’s the guy who claimed that in Holland and throughout Europe, heroin use is rampant among children because of their lax marijuana policies. And he failed to provide any evidence whatsoever in support of that claim.

          • Well rick is a prohibitionist which is a polite term for professional hypocrite and liar.

        • he’s rebutting an attack on his proposed policy. so it’s about policy.

        • Rick, you have your head so far up Harper’s ass that I’m starting think you’re just a very good troll. Besides, what if marijuana use went up under Trudeau? (Something I highly doubt since this isn’t the kind of thing that varies overwhelmingly over time). Adults should be allowed to smoke pot if they feel like it and it’s not conflicting with their other duties (and if it does it’s their responsibility to bear the cost). I’m so sick of this Tory moralizing crap telling me what I should or should not be able to do on my own time.

        • Please cite you scientific sources as what you allege is untrue. All drug use decreased in al countries that allow adults to acess al substances.

          Anyone who wishes to try or use any substance can safely and easily obtain it now under full prohibition. Are you going to become a crack addict if it were legalized. No you wouldn’t nor will others.

  9. Priorities.

    How fitting the Liberals highlight that notion. It is an excellent point as it reminds the public what a party thinks is important and what is not.

    While smoking pot is a topic Justin can’t stop talking about, opining on or otherwise waxing eloquent, when asked about such inherently important issues as the extent of our nation’s northern frontier he is left stimbling around like he’s looking for the last bag of munchies.

    And yet the media embarrasses itself in its deperate attempt to take seriously the most unserious politician Canada has seen in a generation or more.

    By all means Mr. Wells, let us follow leader Justin’s lead and discuss the very crucial issue to all Canadians: pot.

    • I’m leaning towards random drug tests for politicians.

    • Hi Biff!

      Not surprised to see you, once again, twisting the topic and twisting the facts.

      I haven’t heard Trudeau give a policy speech on pot for a while now, nor have I ever heard him say that this is the most important issue out there.

      But of course you know that. You know this article is about how the LPC are countering the CPC attack on this point. Of course you know it is the Conservatives who are trying to say this is all that Trudeau is about. It is just that being accurate does not suit your purpose.

      Cheers!

      • The reason why people think that marijuana is the Liberals #1 priority, is because it’s all that Justin Trudeau seems to want to talk about. If he were able to talk about other subjects without putting his foot in his mouth, maybe the Liberals would be taken seriously.

        • Yes, clearly nobody is taking them seriously. I mean, look at their godawful polling numbers . . .

        • No. Making stuff up does not actually prove your point.

    • The prohibition of marijuana has been a disaster. Please explain to me (I’m a conservative by the way) why we should continue to ignore this debacle? Why not change the law once and for all?

    • As a legal medical cannabis user for a decade and a medical user for many decades I am sick of you alcoholic imbeciles and your dismissive hate speech. The criminalization of the poorest group in Canada,, the disabled,, should interest all rational and compassionate Canadians.

      Prohibition is the costliest and worst social policy since ‘legal’ slavery. It creates crime and manufactures criminals out of other wise law abiding citizens; the ill and dying.medical cannabis users.and producers.

  10. I don’t think the LIberal ads go far enough.
    Picture this:
    Fat guy, sitting around with a bunch of guys from a visible minority community. Music blaring, smiles all around. Big bowl of Mesquite nachos within reach of everyone.
    One guy finishes rolling a big joint, lights it and begins passing it around.
    Conversation:
    Guy Number one:
    “I can’t believe they make this stuff illegal…..it just makes you feel good, and it doesn’t hurt anyone”
    Guy number two:
    “Ya Mon !!…..the happy herb is not bad for you at..cough..cough..all.”
    “Day say it make you stupid….lazy, and shiftless”
    Guy number three:
    “They should just legalize the stuff, brother. After all, I’ve been smoking weed for years, drinking like a fish, and I’ve never hurt anyone”
    Guy number one and Two:
    “Ya Mon !!!……and you da Mayor!!!”
    Vote Trudeau: If it’s good enough for the Mayor, it’s good enough for you!!

    • I am so sick of alcoholic imbeciles and your dismissive hate speech about medical and other cannabis use. Prohibitionists are hypocrites and liars James R Halifax your essay was racist nonsense you tool.

  11. Eventually, even new Canadians will find out Harper and his regressive Reformers are anti-democratic and frauds.

  12. The New Democrats – long supporters of decriminalization – are well positioned in the middle of the pot wars.
    How – exactly – legalization protects young people is a mystery yet to be revealed by Junior since with legalization it will generally be more readily available to the general public – but still prohibited for teen agers. – as is now the case.
    The root causes of our ever-increasing addictive society – as identified by Bruce Alexander’s research – relate to a growing lack of meaning and belongingness in a society in which there is a growing gap between social expectations and social reality.
    JT’s celebrity appeal is another symptom of an essentially purposeless capitalist society unable/unwilling to create a more just and equal socio-economic order in which service to the common good and a sacred trust in respecting the environment are paramount.
    Tom Mulcair’s substantial policies of sustainable economic development for the benefit of all Canadians is in sharp contrast to Harper and Trudeau’s of export of Cdn resources without value-added by Cdn workers – the XL pipeline being the clearest example. This issue – rather than pot – will be amongst the real issues of 2015.

    • Of course the economy will be the issue at the next election, as it is for every election. Nobody is saying otherwise.

      I just want to say that when you use the dismissive term “junior” when referring to Justin Trudeau, you detract from the point of your post. You appear to be just another person angry at the way Trudeau has managed to bring his party back.

      • You appear to be just another right winger who uses the adjective “angry” to describe those with whom you disagree. Repeating it does not make it true.
        Jt will earn some respect when he starts to engage Cdns in informed, adult discussion of the serious issues facing us – not insubstantial celebrity and vague promises of future policies that apparently the Conservatives will steal from him if he releases them before 2015! LOL

        • I agree with your comment. I’ll start to take Trudeau seriously when he starts to engage on serious topics. So far, I’ve heard him put his foot in his mouth far more often than I’ve heard him engage Canadians on serious issues. I’m still waiting for a good reason to vote for the Liberals…

        • That is hilarious that you called Gayle a right-winger. Thanks for the chuckle of the day. And as always, the New Democratic Party thanks you for your posts.

        • Gayle is not a rightwinger. Neither am I and I don’t like references to Justin’s age or spelling his name Justine or cracks about his hair anymore than I like Mulcair described as Angry Tom.

        • Gayle right wing? So Dippers do that too, huh – anyone not IN their camp is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Well, there are a lot of us who fall somewhere in the middle; left/right is not a simple either/or thing for most of us.

          • One of the reasons I stopped supporting the NDP.

          • KeithBram
            When JT supports the sale of Nexen to a Chinese state oil corporation, promotes the export of unprocessed bitumen and hence potential value-added Cdn jobs via the XL pipeline, flip-flops on the long gun registry.
            During my lifetime so-called Liberals interned Japanese-Cdns, joined the doctors in opposition to the introduction of medicare in Sask., imprisoned – without charge – over 500 Quebecers following imposition of the War Measures Act, They promised to after joining Kyoto to reduce greenhouse gas emmission yet they rose about 35% in the following decade!
            Here in BC a Liberal gov’t led by a lifelong federal Liberal ,Premier Clark, used $6 million of taxpayer’s money to stop the Basi-Virk BC Rail scandal, and consistently leads the nation in child poverty:- and she – like you – says the Liberals are a centrist party.LOL
            It’s not just what you say that rings so hollow – it’s what you knowingly do – and then pose as centrists – that is so puzzling.

      • another person angry at the way Trudeau has managed to bring his party back.
        Actually, you’re probably right. I guess I’m also another person “angry” (although I wouldn’t use such a strong word. More like disappointed) at the way in which Trudeau brought his party back. He hasn’t offered to date any substantive policies, any intelligent discussions on important/serious issues facing Canadians, and has put his foot in his mouth far too often for my liking. And yet… the Liberals are leading in the polls.
        I would be much more comfortable with the party being “back” if it was based on substantive policy, intelligent discussions, and focusing on issues that matter most to Canadians. Instead, the party is “back” based solely on JT’s name recognition, celebrity value, and in spite of the stupid things Trudeau has said and done.
        So yes, count me as one of the people who are disappointed with the way the party has risen from the ashes.

        • So what do you think of those liberals who don`t seem to care that the Liberals are leading in the polls without any “substantive policy, intelligent discussions, or focusing on issues ‘?

          This is a multiple choice discussion with only two possible answers:
          1—They like his hair and he seems sweet.
          2—They pretend that they are principled, when they slam Harper, but they really just want to win at any cost, even if it means bowing to an idiot who would be the butt of their jokes under any other circumstance.

          • voters most often throw parties out rather than vote parties in.
            harper is not popular right now.

            unfortunately elections are not won on policy. liberal party members get this just as much as conservative party members.

            however, i’d love if it WAS about issues.

          • The two answers are basically a vote against the CPC more than a vote for the Liberals. And that’s basically what I’m noticing. JT is not Harper. End of discussion. Never mind policy, discussions, the stupid things he’s said so far, etc…

            Liberal supporters are more likely supporting the Liberals simply because they dislike Harper, not because there’s anything there to vote for

            That’s why I’m still waiting for him to offer anything for me to vote for, and my disappointment with the way the Libs are rising in the polls. It basically tells them “Looks like we’re doing good… Just stay the course… Don’t bother with policy or anything like that… Just make sure JT doesn’t say something stupid…” Disappointing… (although there are still 2 years until the next election…)

        • Some of that popularity is simply people getting disgusted with Harper but not willing to swing all the way over to the NDP camp.

          • Yes, undoubtedly, but my point is that they’re voting against something rather than for the Liberals. And it’s disappointing that people tend to vote against someone rather than for someone.

        • I will tell you why I support Trudeau. He does not choose his policy based on ideology. He is taking the time to come up with policy that is based on facts and reality, and not on some ideological principle that may or may not be relevant today.

          That distinguishes him from both the CPC and the NDP. Maybe I will not like what he ultimately presents to the country, and maybe that means I will not vote for him. but for now he gets my support because I agree with his process.

          The NDP lost my support when Mulcair started playing little partisan games in the House of Commons, and they solidified that for me when he started catering to his quasi-separatist supporters in Quebec with his 50% plus 1 policy.

          Harper has proven with his legislation that he is more concerned about catering to the needs of his party over what is good for Canada.

          In any event, Trudeau’s #1 job right now is rebuilding his party. There is no point coming out with policy when you do not have the party infrastructure to take it from the pages to the people.

          I get that the other parties want the LPC to drop their policy now, 2 years before the election, but it would be political suicide for him to do so. He has stated, in broad terms, where he wants the LPC to go. That is all he needs to do at this point in time.

          • “He does not choose his policy based on ideology.”

            Well, he hasn’t chosen his policy period. It remains to be seen whether he chooses it based on ideology or not (and, BTW, ideology does not need to be a four-letter word. It’s often used as a condescending term, but it doesn’t have to be).

            I’m okay with him taking his time to come up with policies, and with re-building the party. But the country’s swooning over him is unjustified, other than simply wanting to vote against Harper. This is why I said that it’s the way in which he’s risen in the polls (and sustained his lead, despite the honeymoon being over) that bothers me. He has no policy, and yet he’s been leading for many months. If anything, this trend would encourage him to “stay the course” and just shut his mouth without revealing any more substantive policy between now and election day.

          • I disagree first off that he has “no” policy. He is speaking, in broad terms, of the income gap and the middle class. But more than that, as I say, I am drawn to him because of the process. What makes you think others are not the same? I cannot be the only person in the country who prefers a politician who wants to consult experts to guide his decisions rather than one who wants to base them on his party ideology.

          • Besides, I do not see anything wrong with people looking for an alternative to Harper. People don’t like Harper. They don’t like his style, and they don’t like his policies. He governs for his base, and depends on the fracturing of the left to keep him in office. People crave an alternative. Trudeau and his people are doing a masterful job as portraying him as the alternative.

    • You’ve hit on the key point that Justin seems to be missing. There are a hundred good reasons to legalize marijuana. But arguing that legalizing it will keep it away from young people? That’s pretty stupid.

      • The evidence is against you. Alcohol is harder for kids to get than weed, or crack for that matter. Yet alcohol is in every home and is used far more widely by adults than dope will ever be. It is a question of where you go to buy it. Nobody is going to risk jail selling illegal weed when there is cheaper, legal weed for sale (to adults) at the local Liquor store for example. The illegal dealer will only have a few teenagers as customers, so his supply chain will dry up pretty quickly. There is plenty of evidence, plus this compelling rationale. You should be careful what you call stupid.

        • I have never understood the argument that weed is easier for kids to get than booze. It boggles my mind. When I was a kid, all I had to do was open the fridge and there was a can of beer. Open the liquor cabinet and there was a buffet of hard liquor. If my parents were home, we could go to a friend’s house. Its not like any of that was counted.

          It’s been a decade since I was a teenager, but have things changed so much? Are we a nation of teetotalers where alcohol is hard to find?

          • Agreed.

            from this study…..

            http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d…

            We learn that 71% of youth used alcohol in 2011, which is amost three times the rate of all illegal drugs combined.

          • So where does this meme that alcohol (and now crack, apparently) is harder to get that marijuana come from?

          • Hysterical parents. And Trudeau. At least that’s all I’ve encountered.

            I suppose one could make the argument that dealers don’t, as a rule, check for ID, so it’s really just a smaller portion of kids that want to use pot in the first place that creates that number. And for that smaller portion, it’s no harder than buying a pack of gum. But I’ve not seen data to support that position.

          • Trudeau needs to find the courage to state:

            1. We want to legalize marijuana because it isn’t terribly harmful.

            2. Legalization will probably lead to increased used of the herb, even amongst children.

            3. But don’t worry about that. See point one.

            His argument that he wants to legalize weed in order to reduce rates of use is laughable and will be easily picked apart by Harper in the coming election.

          • I agree. Are the Liberals really that stupid, or am I missing something?

          • I suspect that some of the old guard really didn’t want to purse this policy. They’ll let Trudeau have this policy, but there’s no way in hell they will let him say Marijuana is harmless. Trudeau stays on-script pretty well, but lets watch Harper try to coax a statement to that effect out of him during the debates.

          • You are missing a lobe or something. Real, drug policy researchers post their research online.for peer review. Prohibitionist just make shit up when convenient and ignor the hypocracy of making alcohol legal for adults.

            .

            THE LANCET

            Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis

            Prof David J Nutt FMedSci, Leslie A King PhD, Lawrence D Phillips PhD, on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

            Summary

            Background

            Proper assessment of the harms caused by the misuse of drugs can inform policy makers in health, policing, and social care. We aimed to apply multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) modelling to a range of drug harms in the UK.

            Methods

            Members of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, including two invited specialists, met in a 1-day interactive workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

            Findings

            MCDA modelling showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

            Interpretation

            These findings lend support to previous work assessing drug harms, and show how the improved scoring and weighting approach of MCDA increases the differentiation between the most and least harmful drugs. However, the findings correlate poorly with present UK drug classification, which is not based simply on considerations of harm.

            Funding Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK).

          • You know nothing about drug policy. All drug use declined in nations that allowed adults full access. Look up the statistics about Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland etc.

          • Lying prohibitionist hypocrites.

          • Sean, I really think it’s largely irrelevant, linking that stat to drug use in the 15 to 25 age group. Alcohol has likely always been up around there and the cohort is too large anyway to be really useful. And as I said elsewhere we have been culturally open [and hypocritical] in regard to Alcohol consumption forever. The fact that it is high is no surprise to me. IOWs if alcohol were illegal and pot legally available i’m not sure those stats would change much, everything else remaining as it is from a cultural perspective.
            How many dads allow their kids a glass of beer or wine or a swig? I can’t imagine that many pot smoking parents say, here “Rob” have a toke.
            And maybe I don’t know what i’m talking about? It’s all speculative and anecdotal anyway – at least on my part.

          • Open their parents drawer there is a bag of pot. BTW, how much liquor do you think you were stealing from your parents and they did not notice? In my day, you had to buy alcohol to have a proper party and that was when things stared to get dangerous and out of control, away from our parents houses. But you had to get an adult to buy it for you and that was not always easy. With pot, the kids are selling it to other kids. With legalization that supply to child dealers will start to dry up as the supply has been taken out of the hands of criminals and there will be no profit motive to do so.

          • I agree with some of the posters above — I’m pro-legalization, but claiming that that’s going to keep it out of the hands of kids, or make it more difficult to obtain, is a losing argument. It’s a complete overreach.

          • Of course it won’t keep it out of the hands of kids totally but as it stands now an unregulated network of pot sales is going on in the schools with kids selling to kids. Legalizing will eventually make that particular “business model” unsustainable by removing the profit margins. Even when I was a kid, drugs were easier to obtain than alcohol and more desirable because of the “cool factor” of doing something really bad. Drinking was for “juicers”

          • It’s obvious the penalties for bootlegging are going to have to get tougher then now if anything.
            In the city this will be a challenge, but in small towns like mine the bootleggers are known to the cops – hopefully they will be posted at outlets.
            On the bright side legalization will free up a lot more tax resources[ previously in the hands of criminals] for remedial policing and community outreach + education programmes. It will be important to drive home the continued stigma against marketing to kids and illegal consumption in general.
            But bootlegging is my biggest small town worry.

          • Ken, I’m pro-legalization, so you’re basically preaching to the converted. I just don’t think that “keeping pot out the hands of kids” is anywhere near the strongest argument in favour of legalization. I think strategically and substantively it’s one of the weaker ones. There are many far better arguments to make, that’s my point.

          • I’ll give you that it is not the strongest argument but it has merit as well. It will reduce the number of child dealers for sure. How many kids are in the booze dealing business? I have kids, if you do, just ask them.

          • I didn’t realize you were focusing so much on the dealing/selling aspect of it. I take your point there, but again, I don’t see that as a super-strong argument in favour of legalization. To me, it’s kind of a distraction. Most people out there care about USE, and rates of use and so on. I don’t think the amount of use, among children or the general population, will be dramatically affected one way or the other. If you’re going to focus on the matter of dealing and trafficking, I think the far, far stronger argument is to focus on criminality generally and getting the money out of the hands of organized crime. And the related point about tax money — look how much tax money our governments make off of alcohol.

      • The United Nations Children’s Fund’s annual report of 2013 on child well-being, “Report Card 11″, is a comprehensive paper that details the specifics of child welfare, and examines issues from drug use to how many eat breakfast regularly. One of the topics in the study is cannabis use among those aged 11-15.

        The study found, quite conclusively, that Canada has more cannabis consumers in that age range than any other developed country in the world, at 28%. Five other countries had rates above 20% – France, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the United States.

        The Netherlands (Holland) – with one of the most liberal marijuana policies in the world (they also supply hard-core heroin addicts with free heroin) – was ranked #1 in child well-being. In the Netherlands, usage rates among youth is at 17%, significantly lower than the U.S. and Canada, both of which have much stricter cannabis policies.

        In addition, the study found that Portugal, which has decriminalized marijuana, had one of the lowest rates of youth using marijuana in the world, at just 10%, which is much lower than the rate it was before they decriminalized the personal possession of all drugs in 2001.

        • I suspect that the Netherlands also has lower booze consumption that Canada. And lower cigarette consumption. And lower Big Mac consumption. And lower french fry consumption. And lower red meat consumption. We probably beat them in all the glutton indexes.

          People in the US and Canada love to consume. That has nothing to do with our laws. It’s all culture. We ought to legalize pot, but we musn’t delude ourselves into thinking this will reduce consumption.

    • Decriminalization is pointless. First, you are sending the same message to youth as you would with legalization(the NDP’s arguments against legalization) and second, decriminalization does nothing to minimize the biggest problem with prohibition, the fact it finances organized crime and criminal gangs to the tune of millions (if not billions) of dollars which allow them to finance other criminal activities and become almost untouchable by law enforcement.

      In regards to protecting youth, it’s pretty simple. By taking the distribution away from organized crime and criminal gangs, youth don’t have the means as they do now to get their hands on marijuana. As well, with legalization, the government can legitimately create a public health awareness campaign around marijuana and its effects on ones health which will do more good than any other tactic devised to discourage youth from smoking marijuana.

      • Agreed. This is the same problem they have in the Netherlands, which, contrary to popular belief, never actually legalized pot. So they still have some problems with organized crime, mainly because simple possession is de facto legal, while cultivation, distribution and trafficking remain in a grey/black market zone — which means the criminal element is still involved there. Legalization makes much more sense.

    • How – exactly – legalization protects young people is a mystery yet to be revealed

      Bingo!

    • Not really familiar with the NDP’s position. Is it like Harper’s – making personal amounts a ticketable summary offence but leaving the cultivation, selling and distribution as criminal activities? If so you’ll likely see an uptick in use and more money in the pockets of criminals. We’ll save a bit on the possession charges (and even rake in bucks if the ticketing catches on with police) but, over all, court and penal costs will still remain high. Legalizing and regulating seems more sensible.

  13. I am pro legalization of cannabis and a few other delightful mind altering substances but I think for this issue to be successful there needs to be some doctors talking about benefits of cannabinoids on people’s health. When I watch the Dauphin talk about drug legalization, I see a privileged guy who will suffer no severe consequences if he becomes addicted to drugs. The Dauphin can be as lethargic or desolate as he wants because he has $$$ to protect him from consequences of actions. Not all of us can give a couple “speeches” at public schools and collect $30,000 to pay for rehab.

    I believe the Dauphin’s cause would be helped muchly if he started talking about medical benefits. Cannabinoids are very helpful in a variety of medical conditions, different plants/strains do different things. If doctors were allowed to experiment more, cannabinoids could be cheap and effective alternatives to some meds you get through pharmacists.

    • I had not realized you were stoned much of the time in posting here.

  14. Based upon the overwhelming success of the last blog, it appears someone from the PMO rushed out to have a bio hastily translated.

    The Wronger I’m Reader*

    *updated with latest Pot, Pol

    appears to be selling like moon cakes.

    Cleverly, the PMO intern reports, once it was translated into written Cantonese, he got a 50% discount for adding written Mandarin.

  15. Real conservatives, libertarians, liberals, and mainstream faithful want the government to stop using drug laws as a trojan horse attack on anything else they don’t like free citizens doing but they are being crowded out by the neo-cons, bleeding hearts, thumpers and other alter-educated delusionals. This is a people issue not a left or right issue. Some of us oppose the war on drugs, not only because it doesn’t work, but because it gives the government extremely abusable options for interfering in the lives of people who aren’t ideologically aligned with them. Our freedom to live our peaceful lives should be based on fair and rational laws, not which political party bought their way to the head of the table and which industries they want to hand money to this season.

  16. The Liberal counter punch might be more effective if the data didn’t refute the “flooded” characterization.

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/drugs-drogues/stat/index-eng.php

    “The prevalence of past-year cannabis use decreased since 2004 for males (18.2% vs. 12.2%), females (10.2% vs. 6.2%) and youth aged 15-24 years (37.0% vs. 21.6%).” [2011 CADUMS survey]

    Unless the dynamics in the particular target communities are bucking the national trend, it’s a fairly indefensible charge to levy against the conservatives.

    • Damn you sir. As soon as I read that I wondered if it was wise if they couldnt back it up..Why on earth just not say Harper’s tough on crime and drugs policies aren’t working or effective…leave there? ( there is a case for that) Don’t leave yourself open to nosy Internet fact checkers. :)
      This is the sort of thing Harper would stoop to. Their only defense being he started this crap by accusing Trudeau of peddling drugs to kids.

      • I’m baffled too. The decreases in usage are not insubstantial, and they’ve provided an awesome opportunity for the Cons to a) trumpet their law and order approach as effective on this file, and b) call the Libs liars.

        It’s like they’ve fogotten the blowback over the “Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada.” ad.

        • Now you’ve lost me.[ i didn't do more then glance at your stats]
          Are you saying the tough on pot thing is working? that seems counter intuitive. It also doesn’t fit with the cops wanting to just hand out fines, which surely implies they’ve lost the handle on this from an enforcement pov. And it doesn’t fit with Mackay now saying the govt is looking at enacting these fines, which in my view wont do more then take some pressure off the cops and the justice system. What’s more those kids you most want to help are most likely to be those without the means to pay, or even care in the first place.[ mum and dad will just cough up any way]
          I must admit i’m not enthusiastically on the liberal bandwagon, as those who are most vulnerable or risk tolerant[ as OB pointed out] are just likely to move on to something worse. But it is still better then the status quo.

          • I’m wholly anti-prohibition myself. The manifestations you note are among my reasons. But I was speaking to the particular terms of engagement that the Liberals have chosen in the posted ad. If you’re going to say that under Harper drugs have “flooded” our communities, when usage has declined during his tenure, you’ve narrowed the measure to something Harper can easily and defensibly both boast and attack with.

          • I’m onside with that in principle. Had someone bothered over at the LPC to check the same website they might not have gone with that line of attack.[ i hope so]
            I’m still not sure Harper can boast about anything here[ when has he ever missed such an obvious opening before, be it legit or not?] Is the decline long term for one thing?[ numbers only start in 04] And what brought it about? [always remembering the numbers still remain highish amongst the younger group] Surely there are factors working beyond getting tough on crime? ie., public education, changing mores etc.
            It would be interesting to see a wider study here. The potential for good news for Harper would be “high” if credible evidence existed for a link between MMs and decreased use of some varieties of drugs. Since the decline is general and still high for the younger cohort i remain unconvinced. It is far more likely to cultural and merely coincidental on the tough on crime front. When did MMs kick in i wonder?
            Edit: And there is the large body of evidence they failed miserably in the US.

          • You and I would relish such nuances and complexities in political debate and campaigning.

            You and I also know that Harper need only point the reductions in use to refute Trudeau’s chosen prongs of attack.

          • Odd that they aren’t doing so. Is it possible both parties forgot to check the official site? That would be just too funny by half.

      • Why on earth just not say Harper’s tough on crime and drugs policies
        aren’t working or effective…leave there? ( there is a case for that)

        How is there even a case for that? Taking the 3 numbers (men, women, youth) together & factoring for the larger youth user base, this is a 40% drop.

        No matter how much you don’t like a government, you can’t pretend that their accomplishments don’t exist.

        • You point out the associated crime that prohibition engenders, as opposed to pure legality. You argue that illegality means that addicts are driven underground, away from assistance, which contributes to destroyed lives and societal cost. You ask the voters if turning drug users and dealers into jail hardened, lifetime criminals, is worth it. You might argue that the decreases are due to a youth population that’s more savvy about their own health and decisions.

          But of course, the ad above – and Trudeau – aren’t making such arguments. They’re suggesting a surge in use under the Conservative regime. Which is a lie, by my estimation.

        • As i told Sean i didn’t more then glance at his numbers. i’m not sure they tell the whole story. But i don’t have any actual evidence for that.
          Your point is undermined by the fact that any sensible govt that thought its policies were working would surely be trumpeting that fact, not planning to engage in a form of decriminalization.

    • But the stats you cite show use by youth is far higher than the rest of the population, & still fairly common. I’ll add this quote from the CADMUS study from Health Canada’s site:
      QUOTE “The rate of drug use by youth 15-24 years of age remains much higher
      than that reported by adults 25 years and older: three times higher for
      cannabis use (21.6% versus 6.7%), and five times higher for past-year
      use of any one of five drugs excluding cannabis (4.8% versus 1.1%).”

      -So, drug use by youth, as Trudeau suggests, remains common & is far more prevalent in youth than among other age groups, Presumably, it remains very easy for high schoolers to buy from dealers at school. “Flooded” schools doesn’t seem an innacurate term in this context. Trudeau’s also likely correct in stating youth currently find it more difficult to obtain alcohol than pot. This makes sense as alcohol’s a legal, regulated market, while the pot market’s a black market & unregulated. The illicit status of pot creates attractive profit opportunities for black market dealers. Whereas profits from bootleg selling in high schools of otherwise legal alcohol would be less attractive. There’s much more incentive to deal pot in schools than booze. As Trudeau states, if pot was legal for adults, & regulated, it would likely become less easy than it is now for underage youth to obtain pot, just as is the case now with alcohol.

      • Can you imagine how alcohol dealers would show up at the school’s parking lot?? What? Bring the stuff in by the truck load?

        I mean, the difference between dealing in drugs and dealing in alcohol has nothing to do with want but has everything to do with practicality. It simply is NOT practical to start dealing in alcohol on school parkinglots. Trudeau is dangling some real big red herrings in front of you and you seem to have an appetite for them,

        • Organized crime is operating out of school parking lots?

        • The sheer impracticality of dealing in alcohol didn’t seem to keep organized crime away from it throughout prohibition.

      • But Herm, usage among youth is DOWN. You say flooded schools, but the ad copy reads flooded *communities*.

        Go back and read the survey results again. I’ll wait…

        OK, did you catch the part where alcohol use among youth in 2011 was at 71%? Even if we generously assume no overlap between pot and other drugs use by use, the combined total is 27%.

        So tell me again how alcohol is harder to obtain than pot?

        • Get SERIOUS. Getting a drink of beer from your Dad or a glass of wine on a holiday is in those stats. That is meaningless. It is uncontrolled unsupervised consumption that is the problem. It is a fact that it is harder for a minor to by booze than pot.

          • Harder to buy, yes. Harder to obtain, not so much. Also, taking a single toke of a joint would show up in those stats too, no?

            “Research indicates that youth view heavy drinking as a social norm and that the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are a ‘rite of passage.’ This view is highlighted by the fact that while illicit drug use has generally been declining, the prevalence of heavy drinking has been holding steady and even increasing, particularly among youth aged 15 to 25.”

            http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/pubhealth/init_report/yhd.html

          • If we’re going keep pot illegal.& if we want to be rational & consistent in our attitudes & laws re. substance use & abuse, then surely we should outlaw alcohol too (& tobacco) . Because alcohol (& tobacco) are far more damaging than cannabis. Alcohol causes deadly heart & liver disease, cancer, & diabetes – diseases illicit drugs do not cause. The most dangerously impairing drug is not cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, meth, or cannabis. It’s good old legal alcohol, the drug most closely associated with violence in the form of road & other accidents, assaults, suicides, domestic abuse, & homicides. It’s not reefer madness society needs concern itself about so much, but rarther “crazy drunk” booze madness. It is unjust to demonize & criminalize pot while tolerating far more damaging booze & tobacco. Stop the drugs war hypocrisy.

          • “It is unjust to demonize & criminalize pot while tolerating far more damaging booze & tobacco. Stop the drugs war hypocrisy.”

            But Trudeau’s not saying that, is he? He’s saying that under Harper’s rule, our communities are being “flooded” with drugs, and that it’s easier to get pot than alcohol.

            You know, it’s possible to support a platform or candidate while being critical of the way it’s being sold or argued. Your continual shifting of goalposts and inability to respond to objective data with nothing more than personal belief or appeals to greater “truths” are all well and good. (Heck, as I keep saying, I deeply oppose prohibition.) But greater “truth” doesn’t excuse lies in advertising, and it sure as hell won’t win elections.

            One of the things I despise about neocons is their privileging of gut over evidence. Ask yourself if you’re going down the same path too.

          • I think you are too hung up on the Liberal ad’s use of the term “flooded”, & you may be reading too much into the word, & its supposed inaccuracy. It’s an evocative term intended to communicate the fact cannabis use is still widespread in many Canadian communities despite Tory approved laws against it, & new Tory laws that will be even tougher on pot. The term “flooded” is not inconsistent with the stats you cite showing pot use has decreased. Because pot use is still widespread & that’s how I interpret the term’s meaning here. I live in Vancouver, & just walking around town I frequently come across people smoking pot openly on the street, or smell skunky pot smoke issuing out of open car windows.
            -I still say it’s likely easier for a high schooler to score some pot at school at lunch time or after school from student dealers than to score a 12 pack of beer as easily. The fact more teens, as you point out, drink alcohol than smoke pot reflects prevalence of demand, & does not necessarily imply more ease of obtaining.alcohol than pot.

          • Data to support your assertions?

          • Hahaha, you’re trying to make the argument that alcohol is more impairing than LSD?!?!?!?! OK, whatever. You’ve lost all credibility.

          • There’s no argument – it’s a fact. LSD users aren’t clogging our prisons for violent crimes and robbery, filling the streets with homeless addicts, crashing their vehicles, passing out in ditches and dying of exposure, overdosing or dieing of liver or heart disease. Nor are they dieing or suffering from any of the too-numerous-to-list other high risk activities resulting from either addiction to alcohol or impaired judgement caused by it.
            On the bright side, you’ve got no credibility to lose.

          • THE LANCET

            Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis

            Prof David J Nutt FMedSci, Leslie A King PhD, Lawrence D Phillips PhD, on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

            Summary

            Background

            Proper assessment of the harms caused by the misuse of drugs can inform policy makers in health, policing, and social care. We aimed to apply multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) modelling to a range of drug harms in the UK.

            Methods

            Members of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, including two invited specialists, met in a 1-day interactive workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

            Findings

            MCDA modelling showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

            Interpretation

            These findings lend support to previous work assessing drug harms, and show how the improved scoring and weighting approach of MCDA increases the differentiation between the most and least harmful drugs. However, the findings correlate poorly with present UK drug classification, which is not based simply on considerations of harm.

            Funding Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK).

          • 15 to 25, pretty good spread there. 18 to 19 being the legal age everywhere in Canada for booze. NOTE: unrestricted, unregulated unsupervised consumption of pot is the norm not the exception.

          • You’ve got better data to support your assertions? Then share it. Otherwise, kindly admit that you’re largely basing your assertions on personal viewpoint and move on.

          • Your data includes 18 to 25 year olds so maybe you need better data to make your point.

          • Sean, perhaps you are too easily discounting the cultural phenomenon of binge drinking,drinking in general, it’s history and the fact that possession is legal for a fair amount of that cohort. I realize i may be constructing a rationale here for not lifting the societal taboo on pot use – it could quite possibly encourage a lot more open useage. And it’s true there’s a danger of older siblings and friends[and dealers] bootlegging to the under aged.[ this happens now with booze. Any plan to legalize pot will have to be tightened up considerably]
            But i think not overall. It’s taken centuries to instill into the young[and not so young] that alcohol is something that can be handled and just dealt with – a part of normal life. I can’t see that changing overnight; neither can i see it turning on a whole new generation of pot users. I think the prohibition against giving the stuff to the young will remain – as it has to a considerable extent with alcohol.[ at least among adults]
            As for evidence – i believe what evidence there is within jurisdictions where legalization exists, there is no real jump in consumption.
            As nutty as it sounds, the fact that pot has been illegal for so long should act as a brake on it becoming a rival for alcohol.

          • Where’s your data?

        • Good point from Ken Greenwood. Any kid can raid their parents’ liquor cabinet, for a drink here & there but it’s not so easy for an underage teen to buy cases of beer etc to take to a party.

          Sean: To take up your point that pot use has decreased somewhat in recent years that begs the question, Why is Harper’s gang introducing new “get tough on pot” laws if the pot “problem” is not worsening, but is in fact lessening as far as use of it goes?

          The same argument applies to other of Harper’s “get dumb on crime” laws. Crime rates have been steadily decreasing for decades. There is no crime epidemic (except maybe in white collar crime & tax evasion by the rich – the type of crime Tories are happy to ignore, presumably ’cause many of their donors are such tax evaders) requiring new draconian Tory laws, minimum & longer sentences, bigger jails, more justice system employees = more injustice & a huge new waste of taxpayers money for a crime “crisis” that does not exist.

          • Binge drinking remains a more prominent problem among Canadian youth than pot use. I’m sorry, but the idea that alcohol is hard to obtain is not supported by data.

            I completely and utterly reject the Conservative approach to “law and order” in general, and prohibition specifically. But I wasn’t speaking to that. I was speaking to Trudeau’s assertions that a) drugs are flooding our communities, and b) that alcohol is harder to get than pot. Both assertions are not supported by data.

            If you want your guy to win, I’d strongly suggest you start assessing the world of campaigning with cold logic and anticipation of Harper’s responses and potential attacks. It’s not rocket science, but it does require the ability to critically examine your own messages and platforms, and a preparedness to fine tune them in advance of obvious problems.

  17. This would be a significantly better conversation if our msm was not entirely made up of WEIRD people. Why is it impossible to read Canadian ethnic minorities views of this issue in our msm? How many generations of immigration does Canada have to have before our white msm will make them feel welcome? So many white, left wing privileged Western U grads makes for boring, and very narrow, media in Canada. Laurentian consensus is alive and well amongst our journos, that’s for sure.

    ———-

    “In the end they titled their paper “The Weirdest People in the World?” By “weird” they meant both unusual and Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that are different from the rest of the world, it appears. The very way we think about ourselves and others—and even the way we perceive reality—makes us distinct from other humans on the planet, not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors.”

    http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/

    • Yeah Melissa Fung, Nahlah Ayed and Ian Hanomansing are just good ol’ crackers

    • It’s important to note it was western governments run by “weirdo white men” who first introduced to the world the reckless, failed social experiment known as drugs prohibition for the first time in history, starting around 100 years ago.

      Drugs prohibition also had, to some degree, a white racist basis & beginning.
      Marijuana became irrationally & hysterically demonized in the U.S. (“reefer madness”) because it was associated with a distrusted, ethnically “out group”,, the Mexicans.

      Similarly, opium, & by extension opiates, became particularly demonized because of their association with “yellow peril” opium dens in Chinatowns in major cities, including in Canada. Lurid, fear-mongering tales were trotted out suggesting fine upstanding white men’s, & worse – white women’s – morals & virtue were being violated by opium & the “evil” Chinese. There was much vocal anti-Chinese sentiment in Canada in the early 1900s, including among political leaders & other influential Canadians such as Judge Emily Murphy & her influential anti-opium, anti-Chinese diatribe book, “The Black Candle”. Anti-opium sentiment was part of anti-Chinese sentiment, which helped pave the way for narcotics prohibition laws.

      Meanwhile, the far more damaging legal drugs, alcohol & tobacco, were tolerated , while less damaging cannabis & opiates were puzzlingly demonized & criminalized, due to racism & irrational hysteria.

      Sadly, “white weirdo” drug warriors are still mostly in charge, especially in Harper’s Tory gov’t,, & they’re still foolishly persecuting a failed, unjust, counter-productive war on drugs their irresponsible predecessors commenced 100 years ago. The whole world continues to suffer from the infection of white western politicians’ ill-conceived prohibition laws & international pro-drug-war treaties the U.S. & others forced upon the world.

  18. So sad and shows how backward the #Harper Bobbleheads have taken us when we are now behind the US on this issue… But I suppose some Conservative taxpayers like the militarization of our police and $700,000 armoured personnel carriers roaming the streets.,. Let the Drug companies continue to sell us big dollar known addictive prescriptions but harass people who can grow medicine at home…

  19. Sorry, Justin. Canada’s got at least 99 problems but regulating pot ain’t one.

    Imagine if all this effort was focused on a real issue, like the disgracefully high number of kids that go to bed hungry every night.

    #LiberalFail

    • Then can you explain why the Conservatives have put so much effort into attacking him on this file?

      • Because the Liberals and Conservatives are about the politics of personality. The CPC strategy is to label Trudeau as inexpereienced, pot-smoking hippie, thus playing into the prejudices of small-town, uneducated tory supporters. A smarter LPC campaign move would to own another issue that common people can relate to, like the NDP are doing with the Canada Post service cuts.

    • Hogwash, and I’m a conservative. Marijuana use isn’t a crime, it never was a crime, and regardless of what some outdated”law” says, it never will be a crime. This is an issue that should have been solved decades ago.

    • That’s only because of corporate agendas for continual supply of cheap service sector labor.Their tory job creation strategies promote part time 10-15 hour a week Walmart “jobs” for the disadvantaged and working poor,and new EI policies against seasonal workers.Their kids will continue to suffer,so that Harpers kids will never ever have to.You,my friend are a FAIL. Go hashtag yourself,you arrogant ass.

  20. While conservatives are trying to convince Canadians that they are against marijuana here’s Harper launching a $1.3 billion free market in medical marijuana. Of course it’s his rich buddies that’ll run the program and the government will tax the pot sales.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/870996/birth-of-a-billion-dollar-marijuana-industry/

    We have the makings of a new “Breaking Bad” series here in Canada. Harper replaces Walter White as the King of Pot. He already has the Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, locked up in a US prison. Now Harper has to fight Mexican drug cartels and biker gangs for control of the drug turf and the profits. I’m sure there would be a role for Rob Ford in there somewhere. Come on HBO. Get on this one.

  21. Every time the U.S. brings in new post-9/11 border security requirements, Canadian businesses scream bloody murder, and the Canadian government rushes to enter into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. so as to streamline shipments of goods to the U.S. again. If we legalized marijuana in Canada, the border would end up being virtually closed off – and it would stay that way. So legalizing marijuana in Canada, until the United States does it first, is completely out of the question.

    • Complete nonsense. The US government is in no position to absorb that type of economic loss. The citizens would scream bloody murder. Marijuana use isn’t a big deal in the states, by 2016 at least five states will have legal cannabis.

    • Wrong no capitalist is going to close the border over a weed that is more widely grown in America than in Canada. R U a Troll because Colorado and Washington state are legalizing cannabis and not just medical use..

  22. The campaign for the BC referendum was pathetic. Signers would have to be strongly motivated to find a way to sign. On my walk to and from work I saw only one notice that anything was going on and that was in the window of a shop that was usually closed.

    There were far more boys wearing “Because I’m a Girl” vests.

    So that was a botch. It can’t be used as a measure of opinion.

    • That referendum law always set a very high bar for even being able to get it to a vote. And there was no comparison to the firepower, money and foot soldiers behind the successful anti-HST drive. For the anti-HST petition, you had an incredibly motivated (and strange bedfellow) coalition of the Provincial NDP Party (aching to do political damage to the Provincial Government), the NDP’s organized labour bedfellows, Vander Zalm and his army of redneck devotees, the BC Conservative Party (glomming onto the issue in order to obtain political relevance and profile), plus plain old angry citizens who hate taxes, especially highly visible consumption taxes. Compared to that firepower, the marijuana referendum had a peashooter.

  23. ” White man speak with fork tongue” Tonto

  24. Peter Mackay now talks of (now get this…) decriminalization!!! Well… not really what it seems on the surface….what a tangled web of deceit. Can this get any more ridiculous? Sure it can.
    So now the police will get enhancement of powers resulting in more systemic abuses of rights to citizens… like the mexican police who require a payout to leave country…this does have the perfect makings of a huge ca$h cow for the law enforcement and clerks.The current mandatory minimum crime laws remain in force and discretionary privilege given over to police…hmmm…so if you don’t cut

    a deal they will threaten to charge you; and either way it is going to cost you.

    They are keeping nostrils flared, awaiting opportunity to engage…in the swift execution of their duty(to Her Majesty) so, better be ‘keepin’ six’ everyone,there’s a war on…watch out. Mackay was Defence Minister during the G20 riots and look how that turned out…big paychecks for the cops. Auditor General has the numbers for all to see.

    Truly another great example of the PM’s Action Plan to create jobs…on the backs of tax payers. Shameful shenanigans.

  25. If Trudeau actually wants to regulate cannabis I will vote for the first time.

    • Regulate and TAX… this will create a massive shift in revenues for the federal coffers, and relieve the pressure on the judiciary. Many in the current regime will have to give up their lifestyles and privileges that were ill-gotten in the first place

  26. Thank you Mr Wells for this reporting. It is refreshing and good to see it is still being done in Canada.

    There is no evidence that our community has been flooded with marijuana over the last 7 years so this is an obvious lie . So why make it? One reason might be in order to make Justin Trudeau’s legalization policy appear to be “hard on crime” (striking back at criminals and gangs…) when in fact it is the opposite.

    The Liberals must be concerned that the effect of Conservative advertising about marijuana is the alienation of urban and suburban new Canadian voters who are concerned about crime and are receptive to Conservative messaging about it. I doubt the Liberal argument that Justin Trudeau’s views on marijuana legalization are actually part of a Liberal tough crime-fighting agenda will work but they have to say something, even if it is absurd on its face. Justin Trudeau’s unexpected candour on his personal marijuana use, and the Conservative move to aggressively exploit this, has made this Liberal defensive action necessary. The Liberals can’t afford to be silent on any point because, as Mr Wells’ rightly points out, the 2015 campaign is already in full swing.

    If all the Liberals have right now is marijuana to talk about, they are losing. They can’t allow the debate to be about marijuana for the next 2 years. I hear that the Liberals will have their biennial policy convention in February and with Chrystia Freeland MP’s help there will actually be some economic policies spelt out. And a good thing too. They cannot concede any more ground to the Conservatives on the decisive “jobs-prosperity-growth” topic. If they wait until 2015 it will be too late.

    • There’s no meme, like an old meme.

  27. So, Harper’s courting the extremist religious immigrant vote?

    What politician doesn’t whore around for a vote….

  28. Legalizing Pot is The Same as saying all alcohoilics and And Drug Addicts are Totally Acceptable in todays Society and The Future of all Societys, and Let The Useless Bums Rule First

    • Let’s see — bizarre, random, inexplicable use of initial capital letters; failure to use apostrophe; improper attempt at the plural; failure to insert period at the end of the sentence. You are obviously all whacked out on drugs.

  29. Trudeau needs to get a grip and bring focus back on decriminalizing small quantity pot possession to prevent unnecessarily damaging the reputations and future of young people.
    KISS formula, right?

    • Wow, some strong posturing going on here. Looks like the Cons are feeling a little unsettled. The concern for the ‘kids’ is the usual soapbox issue that the
      opressors use for their own nefarious reasons and has little to do with altruistic intentions towards the innocents and their vulnerability.Not so simple when you end up giving these kids criminal records for simple possession under the new
      “tough on crime” laws and mandatory minimums.

  30. Thanks to sweeping legalization measures, marijuana is fastest growing industry in US

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043269_marijuana_legalization_measures_growing_industry.html#ixzz2nvmo33ht

    Just when is Trudeau going to explain to me how legalizing marijuana is going to keep it out of the hands of kids and reduce harm? I agree with 510naf below – decriminalize small amount of possession, but full legalization is NOT the way to go (unless the ONLY objective is to earn tax dollars on it).

  31. Gangs should not control cannibis.period.

    • Exactly. Stephen has become Canada’s Narco-lord by proxy.

  32. Mr. Trudeau’s stance on protecting “young brains” is poorly informed. For instance, the idea that increasing availability of cannabis will decrease its availability to youths is silly – especially if Mr. Trudeau is against tighter controls around home growth.

    There is, for instance, the belief that the reason children smoke pot is because it’s illegal, but cigarettes (subject to a massive anti-smoking advertising campaign) and alcohol are both legal and a large number of youths both smoke and drink.

    The assertion also isn’t born out by cannabis law liberalisation schemes in other places, such as Alaska. In Alaska, introduction of the grow-your-own model led to a rise in adolescent use triple that of the US national average. It was such a problem Alaskans put through a petition and pushed legalization back out by referendum, until the decision of the referendum was repealed years later by judge.

    It’s also interesting that so many people believe legalizing cannabis will curb violent crime driven by the crack, cocaine, and heroin markets. When was the last time you heard of a gang driveby over marijuana?

    Whatever your stance on the issue is, make your decision based on fact, not obvious pandering.

  33. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international 501(c) 3
    nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals who bear
    personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug
    policies.
    Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to
    call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight
    system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the
    violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal
    market.
    http://www.leap.cc/

  34. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night.
    Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress
    medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes
    every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value,
    marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than
    marijuana ever could.

    As quoted in Busted : Stone Cowboys, Narco-lords, and Washington’s War on Drugs (2002) edited by Mike Gray

  35. numerous dangers prohibition poses for children, among them:

    - kids looking for pot meeting drug dealers with dangerous drugs
    - kids getting dangerous ‘fake’ ecstasy and dying because it’s impure
    - kids joining drug-dealing gangs for status and bling and girls
    - kids’ work ethic corrupted by the lure of easy drug money
    - kids watching their pets getting shot by cops in raids
    - kids traumatized by their parents’ arrest over growing some plants
    - kids getting shot as drug gangs battle it out over prohibition profits
    - kids glorifying prohibition gangs and these gangster’s success with women and money
    - etc. etc.
    excerpt from Mark Emery’s prison blog

  36. I heard this ad on the radio last week while shopping. I wanted to scream. I ad is degrading to Mom’s. This is not the 1950′s. I do not believe in using fear tactics as a way to campaign.Also, negative campaign ad from any party turns me off.
    Novel idea, tell me what your party platform is to lead our country. Then follow through on that platform.

  37. time for the conservatives to go… look at the states… conservatives would rather prescribe narcotics that cause you to go to detox centers, pills to be sold on streets, wake up conservatives.

  38. I heard the ad by Conservatives on the radio, and it actually made me want to vote for liberals. I wasn’t sure about any of the policies of the Liberals, but the very advertisement which was on the radio shows just how out of touch the Conservatives are. They only want to help Alberta, do basically nothing for Ontario (the largest population per province), and they speak out on foreign issues which no one wants them to touch, Harper has been prime minister for too long, lets pave the way for Trudeau.

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  40. 91% of Canadians don’t use marijuana. It seems highly unlikely that they would want to see it “normalized, commercialized or legitimized. However they might like to see kids not burdened with
    a criminal record for first time possession. Legalization is not going to happen if the vast majority of
    Canadians come to release that this means wide spread availability and just like alcohol and tobacco a very wealthy and powerful lobby and commercial interest group that will control efforts to minimize the exposure to vulnerable markets – the vast majority of Canadians will wake up just like they did with the attempt at the referendum and push back those that say legalization is inevitable – it is far from that.

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