Scowly Liberals legalize the demon weed

If marijuana is so dangerous, as the Liberals keep saying over and over again, why is the government seeking to make its recreational use by adults easier?

Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jane Philpott, Minister of Health listen as Parliamentary Secretary Bill Blair responds to a question after announcing the legalization of marijuana during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday April 13, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jane Philpott, Minister of Health listen as Parliamentary Secretary Bill Blair responds to a question after announcing the legalization of marijuana during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday April 13, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

And now, an edited but faithful reproduction of the background documents the Liberals released with their marijuana bill on Thursday:

“…strictly… strictly… restrict… strict… significant penalties… strictly… zero tolerance… dangers… restrict… strictly… restrict… stop criminals… strictly… restrict… punish more severely… tougher… deaths and accidents… risk every day… dangers… punish more severely… oral fluid.”

This sets a certain tone.

After reporters were given a few minutes to read the bill, federal officials from, mostly, the Health department were ushered into the National Press Theatre to brief us. One began talking. “What’s your name?” a few reporters asked. The official’s eyes bugged out in terror.

My colleagues reassured him that we would not quote him in print, an assurance that is standard practice in these so-called technical briefings. “We’ve done this before,” one said.

Thus reassured, the official and his colleagues began laying out the details of the pot law, which sets a minimum age for marijuana sales (18 years) and allows for provinces to increase that minimum; caps the number of plants per household at four and the legal height at one metre; and radically increase criminal penalties for providing cannabis to children and for driving while impaired.

Then the nameless officials filed out and the cabinet ministers, whom we could feel free to quote, filed in. Jane Philpott from Health, Jody Wilson-Raybould from Justice, Ralph Goodale from Central Casting, and Diane Lebouthillier from Unilingual Francophones.

Perhaps you will find that last joke a little harsh, but Lebouthillier was quick to correct anyone who thought she might be there as Minister of Revenue: the bill does not provide for any tax on the sale of cannabis. She was there as “a social worker by training,” and as a former secondary-school teacher from the Gaspé, where, she informed us sadly, it was easier for too many of her students to get their hands on a reefer of the marihuana than on a cigarette.

The ministers proceeded to lament the scourge of pot. They were led by their not-quite-ministerial colleague Bill Blair, the former Toronto Police Chief who has, in his capacity as a parliamentary secretary with special responsibility for not even remotely messing around, criss-crossed the country looking increasingly stern about this whole pot business. “Today is an important day,” Blair said. All of his career, he’s been trying to protect children. Today was another child-protecting day. “It is not our intent to promote the use of this drug,” he said, sternly. No kidding.

Goodale at one point sputtered as he tried to find a word for cannabis in the context of its potential transport across international borders: “This — this — this — ” he said, making helpless massing gestures with his hands in front of his face. “This product,” he managed at last.

Blair said the goal of the legislation was to ensure that henceforth, nobody could get marijuana from “some gangster in a stairwell.” This suggested that the situation has indeed deteriorated since my high-school days, when my more louche classmates were unable to locate a gangster in any stairwell and had to resort to getting their weed from so-and-so’s big brother.

The news conference was well-attended and the ministers’ time finite, so the event ended before I was able to ask my question. It would have been this: If marijuana is so dangerous — to children, to road safety, at the border and as a driver of organized crime — why is the government seeking to make its recreational use by adults easier?

Put another way: Given the Liberals’ body language, the plain meaning of their bill, and every single element of their discourse since 2016, the only part of this bill that makes no sense is the legalization part. They could strictly crack down on all the other dangers and everyday risks, with zero tolerance and harsh penalties up the wazoo, without legalizing anything. And since not one of them said anything resembling “this is a great day for personal freedom and the right of adults to exercise choice responsibly,” I honestly do not understand why they are legalizing anything.

Let’s take it a step further. I believe the only reason the Liberals have tabled this bill is that they promised to, and that they are getting a little heavily-subscribed on broken campaign promises in other domains. I believe everything from Blair’s appointment on forward is an expression of contrition for ever opening up this mess. I believe this bill, once passed, will radically increase the amount of police time devoted to measuring the height of plants, policing stairwells for gangsters, administering saliva tests at roadsides, and otherwise fretting over the demon weed. And proportionately less time doing other police work.

Which means this is the first time I’ve ever seen a government deliver on a campaign promise while flip-flopping on the policy question at hand.

It’s usually at about this point that Liberals get all huffy and say, “We always campaigned on tighter regulation. We never meant to make it easier for kids to get marijuana.” Well, sort of.  Here’s the policy resolution that made pot legalization Liberal policy in 2013. And indeed it says regulation blah blah blah children blah blah. But it also proposes an amnesty for people previously convicted of  simple possession—a sure sign that the goal of the original proposal was to increase freedom, not further limit it.

I think this bill spends so much time apologizing for its own existence that it is not at all clear why anyone would seek to operate within its regime of hard-to-procure, weak product, served with a scowl, instead of continuing to operate within the black market. If this bill becomes law, the overwhelming majority of marijuana sold and consumed in Canada will continue to be sold and consumed illegally. Not a great day at the office for rooms full of ministers and public servants. Campaign promises aren’t cheap, as those who make them eventually figure out.


Scowly Liberals legalize the demon weed

  1. “Dangerous” or not marijuana does not justify the millions spent annually in police, court and other costs to ‘wage war against it’. So ‘vile’ has it been that in actuality very few studies have been done to gauge its affects – good or bad, while a generation of Canadians, and others, have applied the principles of plant husbandry to turn grandpa’s ‘weed’ into a designer drug. Like the equally ‘vile’ tobacco and alcohol, the government should have been all over regulating marijuana decades ago. If we’re not careful they’ll screw the regulation and distribution up too.

    Now to ‘get after’ some of our other equally dangerous habits?

    • This modest legislation seems to be well thought out and exactly what the situation calls for: namely curtail access to teens and allow use by others without resulting in a criminal record.
      I just don’t understand the almost universal negative reaction from Ottawa media and the entire CBC. And negative responses aren’t made in a serious reflective way, but laced with sneering, and snide innuendo. Wells and Hebert for example taking cheap shots Goodale and as usual Trudeau. What’s the problem?
      This had to be done. It wasn’t something somebody blurted out. Blair didn’t undertake this with insincerity, he had the experience first hand. Give him a break.

      • The new proposed Cannabis Act recognizes that there I’ll still be illicit cannabis, and gov.lists offences, scheduling penalties which are out of line with recreational drugs like alcohol. For instance you can get a 14 year prison penalty for growing more than 4 plants (harmless)! While You can make hundreds of gallons of home brew for personal consumption. Pedophiles, sexual assault, and reckless endangerment causing death have lower sentences. Also, the task force has admitted that their federally licenced producers can’t produce enough to fill the demand. Also generally Folks are aware that the task force looks to the citizenry as consumers in a penalty scheme, and the limited federal licences have been given to the rich, Ottawa insiders rather than the people who had to take risks in the struggle to legalizing the plant.

  2. Is that Ralph Gooddale on the ‘panel’? Unless he’s a closet ‘doper’, give up all hope you potheads. He’d make a good Gauleiter.

    • No other PM has taken on such a policy as this one since gay marriage, and when you have to make a tough policy decisions, it can divide people and opinions, but someone has to do it, chances are these kind of policies find a way of working itself out, there will be court challenges, but that’s what helps make changes, challenges..

  3. So now we’re to have neo-prohibition with penalties of 14 years in prison if you don’t like the quality of Liberal corporate monopoly cannabis. Corporate cannabis owned by ex-RCMP members as well as Liberal insiders such as former Liberal CFO Chuck Rifici. Such a brain dead approach only ensures the continuance of a black market.

  4. I always looked at policy as a target, once the target has been set, you can, hit or miss, but all long as you have the target in your sights, you can always adjust your sights to that target, by adjusting changes as you go. Once this policy is set, provincial and federal counterparts can always tweak it, as a part of the learning curve they are about to learn, until they get it right. At least right now, Pandora’s Box is open, its been a long journey since PET tried back in the 80s. Good Luck Mr.Trudeau for taking on such a hard piece of legislation, Thanks for treating Canadians like adults, YOU GOT BALLS!!

    • I’m surprised that young Trudeau supported an age limit of only 18 years. His mother was the poster child for the awful things cannabis can do to a young developing mind. Hers was paranoia and bipolar-ism. For others it can be schizophrenia.
      The legal age should have been set above 22-possibly as high as 25-when a youth’s brain stops physically developing and these dangers are largely gone.

      • Jerome A very good comment, much better thought out than the others. The way this is proposed is typical of the incompetent liberals, they spent no time thinking what they were proposing in the election and therefor have no clue when they try to implement something and get it wrong. Secondly the cost is way out of proportion to the intent and solves nothing.
        I am sorry that the voters showed complete brainlessness and just managed to waste billions of the Canadian taxpayers money which if we are lucky can only be corrected in many years.

      • You went down the rabbit hole when you took a pot shot at Trudeau’s mom. If their hasn’t been any scientific studies done on pot, how can you make them statements, these are all just theories your shooting your mouth out about, before you spread fear, or anything else, please, just the facts, if not, your point is moot, your just making noise.

        • Perhaps Carpet Bomber you should read Margaret Trudeau’s biography. She sure tied her paranoia and bipolar-ism to her use of cannabis.
          As well, the quote below is copied directly from The Royal College of Psychiarists’ publication on this very topic
          “There is now sufficient evidence to show that those who use cannabis particularly at a younger age, such as around the age of 15, have a higher than average risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.”
          Time for you to educate yourself on this matter. Possibly just start watching the news. There were several psychiatric organizations on today expressing their concern over the minimum age in the Federal proposal and who are pushing for a much higher age restriction when the provinces act.

          • The problem is with most of these results, i question it, because you still have not given me any scientific evidence, just studies with assumptions, this could be genetic problems passed on by generations of family. Mr. Wells is only a politico blogger, whenever he writes his , it sometimes has no more value than Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz, its all just mostly commentary, and Wells, like you, picks his hyperbole and turns it into whatever you want to believe, he will just assist your mind to get the result your looking for..

          • just to add, almost 100 years ago to today, well maybe around 94 years, fear has been the main driver of the prohibition of ‘Cannabis’, seems nothing has changed much since, and in all that time, no one ever said, lets study this to see the true effects, no, because fear of it, was cheaper to peddle and distribute rather than the use of science, took up to much time and money. Most people are good driving at fear, its an easy tool to use, but the same people who use those tools, are very poor at finding a solutions..Like i said in an earlier comment, Pandora’s Box is open now, so let the chips fall. I don’t fear pot, never did. I don’t fear anything or anybody, and that’s what separates the weak from the strong, fear is the best tool for weakness, just ask George Orwell..

          • To Jerome:

            It really sounds like you’re confounded and don’t realise that correlation is NOT equal to causation, as many tend to some how subjectively believe.

            Look up the science to your fallacious and conflated understandings.

            People with bi-polar disorder, usually tend to use cannabis to calm them down when they’re up – think high CBD (cannabidiol) or maybe more THC to bring them up, when they’re down.

            That’s correlation – not a causation and a LOT of people use it for these and similar reasons. It’s a natural, non-toxic, non-harmful drug (if it’s grown organically).

            So what, what’s it to anyone else how they self-medicate. Of course it’s illegal, it’s against a logic-defying system… This plant has been used for this so many purposes throughout man kind, literally for thousands of years – documented, yes, documented, throughout history – before Herodotus and Zoroaster…

            Including from ancient times – there’s no denying any of this, unless you refuse to look at empirical, rational, objective facts.

            Oh yes, and if you’re one who believes in Christ, then also note that it was almost certainly used in the holy anointing oil – so, being against would also anti-Christ(ian), sorry to say.

            I am deistic, but its clear who supports evil and who doesn’t in society… =)

  5. The Ottawa media seem obsessed with using this legislation to take another shot at Trudeau. The CBC has become crazed with the reefer madness scenario.
    At Issue had Mansbridge posing twisted innuendo laced questions revealing his usually snarky anti Trudeau subtext. Coyne wouldn’t entirely go along but Hebert took on her smug self satisfied smirk as she skewered the government again.
    A noon hour radio host presented a fear and loathing set piece which was downright frightening.
    All the negatives about pots health concerns support the governments position but some media miss this. It will keep pot out of the hands of high school dealers and teens. So if pot is really bad this legislation will be good.
    Coyne at least understood that the alcohol model applied to pot is workable. At least I think he said this, in and around Mansbridges loaded questions.
    Hey Paul. Do you know why the CBC has gone so negative on just about everything the Trudeau government does. Not only negative but snarky and sarcastic and nasty? Xmas vacation scandal made it to Easter. Wow.

    • CBC has long been a leftist news media station and very pro Trudeau. However, I think the longer Trudeau has stumbled along blatantly breaking one promise after another, getting caught in conflict of interest situations and demonstrating more arrogance than his father, they’ve become embarrassed and have stopped covering for him-at least for a while.

  6. What a waste of time ….. considering all the other issues facing this country. Homelessness, first nations without drinking water, the veterans issues, Phoenix payroll problems, soaring home prices, sagging health care ….. but soon we can toke up a refer and forget all about it ….

  7. “If marijuana is so dangerous, as the Liberals keep saying over and over again, why is the government seeking to make its recreational use by adults easier?”

    Because it’s not as dangerous as alcohol, opioids, tranquilizers, and anti depressants.

    • On some under 25 years of age it may be more dangerous. I hope the provinces move the age for use of cannabis up to at least 22.

  8. 1M height limit. They obviously have never grown it. Buds at that height are pretty hard. Try 3M. Morons

  9. I do volunteer work at an addiction treatment centre. Talking to the therapists who work there, their description is interesting. They view that for young people there is a plain of mental health with one edge being close to mental health issues and one far away. If you happen to be on the edge close to mental health issues and you use cannabis it can push you over the edge. This happened to one of the therapists children who was into cannabis big time starting at age 13. By age 15 he had Schizophrenia and has been on medication ever since. This is why psychiatric organizations recommend a usage age for cannabis of at least 22 after the brain has matured.

  10. effing liberals are brain dead. Spark one up Justy and show us your tits.