Will our weed ever be as free as our grapes?

The Liberal leader reignites the marijuana debate


Justin Trudeau has now confirmed (again) his party’s stated policy on marijuana. He’d previously expressed support for decriminalization.

Last month, Ken MacQueen made the case for legalizing marijuana. Included therein is polling that shows a majority (57%) of Canadians want to legalize the drug, but of course that has to be translated into the current political math. A Forum poll in December 2011 put support for Mr. Trudeau’s position—legalize and tax—at 40%. Decriminalizing the possession of small amounts—which would seem to be the preferred option of Thomas Mulcair—was supported by another 26%. Thirty-one percent wanted the law left as is or penalties increased and presumably those people would side with the Conservative party, which is, of course, profoundly saddened by Mr. Trudeau’s remarks. The most interesting part of that Forum poll might be that support for legalizing or decriminalizing was highest among those aged 55 to 64.

The best part of all of this is that reporters now have an excuse to shove microphones in the faces of politicians and ask them if they’ve ever smoked weed and, if so, when they last did so. Possibly some form of mandatory drug testing is in order.

In other news, Conservative MP Dan Albas was recently feted by the BC wine institute for his work to repeal a prohibition-era law against the transport of wine across provincial borders.


Will our weed ever be as free as our grapes?

  1. Any comments, Aaron, on how well making marijuana easier to get access to will “keep it out of the hands of our kids”? Does that seem like sound policy thinking to you?

    • Ask kids how hard it is to get now compared to alcohol and cigarettes? I bet most would say it’s easier to get their hands on marijuana.

      • Spot on. When I was a teenager it was easier to get weed than alcohol and that was 30 yrs ago when society was not nearly as tolerant towards ganga as we are now.

        Legalize weed and sell it like we do beer and spirits here in Ont and watch supply decrease rapidly. Teenagers will be hanging out in parking lot outside ganja store and asking adults to buy them weed and it becomes much more difficult. Things become scarce when government gets involved.

    • Kids will get it from someone who also has access to cocaine, other drugs and weapons if we don’t let them get it from a more reputable source.

      • So by this logic we’ll be legalizing cocaine in 5 years time. Great!

        • Criminalizing it has been an abject failure, so maybe decriminalizing is not a bad idea. It might make it easier to provide treatment for addiction.

          I mean, is the only thing preventing you from snorting coke its prohibition?


      • Well, come on isn’t that what Justin Trudeau said? It is to protect the children?

        • I’M THINKING OF THE CHILDREN!!!111one

    • “Does that seem like sound policy thinking to you?”

      Trudeau wants to make it easier to buy ganja than eggs, butter and other diary products. It is ok for farmer to sell weed to people but they will go to jail for selling their milk or eggs so, no, it does not seem like sound policy thinking.

      • Well that is a problem with selling milk and eggs, not with selling pot.

        • Agreed. If Trudeau thinks it is ok to sell weed, we should also be allowed to buy dairy products like ice cream for munchies.

      • I dunno about that; when was the last time you got carded buying eggs or dairy?

        • Globe/Mail Feb 2010

          To farmers’ markets across the country they flock, foodies in search of free-range eggs fresh from the farm.

          But they must move quickly because demand far outstrips supply. The eggs – laid by hens that roam free, eat bugs and live an existence that is antithetical to the life of the caged battery fowl that produce for supermarkets – sell out quickly. That is, unless you know who to ask and where to find them. Or, in some cases, the secret password.

          The eggs offer smaller producers a good revenue source. But this growing market for a different kind of egg is creating tension between the small farms that raise them and the egg marketing board that has helped to develop the mainstream egg industry in Canada and its large chicken farms.

          This tension now is putting the future supply of this sought-after product in question as what some call the “egg police” crack down on the grey market.

          “It’s a huge issue,” says Tom Henry, a Vancouver Island farmer and editor of the magazine Small Farm Canada. “The right to sell eggs is the small-farm equivalent of the right to bear arms.”

          • And what does that have to do with anything? The idea is that weed will be sold and taxed like alcohol or tobacco; you can’t legally go to a moonshiner or a tobacco farmer and buy your stuff there. So it will be sold in a controlled way where you have to prove you are of legal age to make the purchase.
            Any kid, however, can go to the grocery store & buy eggs or dairy.
            Stay on topic Tony.

      • He’s not talking about farm gate selling of pot.

    • Lots of people are happy to sell pot to our children.

      Gang members like to recruit youth to sell it in school.

      Pimps are very happy to give it to young girls.

      If that is the only place they can get it, that is where they will get it.

    • This is a rather interesting turn of talking points. I’m seeing the same comment made in many places today. But basically the argument goes like this:

      Legalizing and regulating the sale of marijuana would help keep it out of the hands of kids much like the legalization and regulation of the sale of alcohol and tobacco keeps them out of the hands of kids.

      Right now the only way to get marijuana in Canada is to hope you can get approved for medical (which is extremely difficult, even in legitimate cases) or you can get it from a dealer. Dealers are not all that concerned with IDing customers to ensure they are of the age of majority.

      If weed was legal and available in stores, merchants would be obliged to ID and ensure it does not get sold to kids. For an example of how that would work, go buy some beer and/or cigarettes. The convenience and security of buying a regulated product in a legitimate store will essentially drive most dealers out of business, much like the small-time bootleggers were driven out of business when prohibition was repealed.

      Legalizing won’t keep it away from kids… the only way to do that is to encase your child in a vault until he or she is no longer a child. But it will greatly reduce its availability to kids, much like the regulation on the sale of alcohol and tobacco that currently exists.

      (Oh, and for the record, right now it’s easier for a high-school kid to get an ounce of weed than to get a pack of cigs and a 1/2 dozen beers.)

      • Just because the government makes it legal, the drug dealers are just going to up and quit? Why would they do that?

        • Yeah, it’s not like the end of prohibition stopped mob bootleggers. Oh, wait….

        • That is a good question. The answer is simple economics.

          People will always purchase goods from a legitimate seller. The convenience and assumed security is a bigger draw than potentially cheaper prices. With the customer base dried up, dealers will have no choice but to stop.

          It’s basically what happened to the bootleg industry after prohibition.

          • Yes, but how will people get E, cocaine and meth? They still will need to have a source for that.

      • Al, It is easy to get all three. In Alberta, the age for buying liquor is 18. One grade 12 student can buy liquor and cigarettes for countless younger teens. Legalizing won’t keep it away from kids as Mr. Trudeau is claiming because they get another older “kid” to boot for them.

        • Yup. It just means they will be able to buy it from their older friends instead of relying on criminal organizations to supply it to them.

          • Yes so Justin Trudeau saying it would keep it out of the hands of kids is bunk.

          • Not disagreeing with you.

          • Never thought you would.

        • Yes, I will concede there are ways around age limits. However, we know that prohibition is expensive and absolutely useless in keeping it out of the hands of kids. Having a legal product with age requirements for purchase at least make it a bit more difficult for them to access it.

          I don’t think anyone is claiming that if we legalize it, it will be magically removed from the hands of kids. However age requirements for purchase make it more difficult to access. This has been shown with both alcohol and tobacco. When provinces raised the legal age on tobacco from 16 to 18/9, the smoking rates for teens dropped dramatically, and continue to drop.

          Finally, I’m not sure that it is a legitimate argument that we should keep an increasingly unpopular and evermore expensive prohibition on a product that is relatively harmless for adults just because an immature adult may break the law in accessing it for kids. By that logic, you are claiming that a prohibition on alcohol and tobacco should exist. We saw how one of those woked out…

          • Hey, I am NOT the one who is saying that by legalizing it, it keeps it out of the hands of kids….that was Justin Trudeau who made that claim. I am saying that isn’t true. If you want to legalize it go ahead but don’t make a ridiculous claim like that because it is completely inaccurate.

          • I agree with you, basically. I’m fully in favour of legalization, but JT’s comment about it reducing use among kids was not wise. And of course, buttheads like Margaret Wente have jumped all over that statement, steering the debate into the ditch. Imagine that.

    • So you are happy with the way it’s being distributed now?

  2. Some call it tampee
    Some call it the weed
    Some call it marijuana
    Some of them call it ganja

    Legalize it – don’t criticize it
    Legalize it and i will advertise it

    Singer smoke it
    And players of instruments too
    Legalize it, yeah, yeah
    That’s the best thing you can do

    Doctors smoke it
    Nurses smoke it
    Judges smoke it
    Even the lawyers too


    • Heh. You are trying this one out every where you can, and yet the article does not say what you claim it says.

      Keep trying…

    • Margaret Trudeau was suffering from mental illness and was self-medicating. It could just as easily been alcohol. Cons using his mother to attack Trudeau should worry about how this looks.

      • What Margaret Trudeau said is that cannabis can trigger psychosis. What she said is accurate. A new study has just been released confirming this but it was already known to be true. You are the one who is acting like Margaret is a “victim” to be pitied rather that a strong, intelligent, articulate woman who happens to suffer from a mental illness. She shares that illness with many successful people like Ted Turner and the late, Mike Wallace. You, trying to silence her message under the auspice of “protecting her” is completely disingenuous. She is trying to educate and help others while you are only trying to protect “your political party”.

    • Using mentally ill mother against son… you stay classy.

      • Margaret Trudeau is a woman how has an illness that happens to fall under the classification of “mental illness”. She is in good company in terms of her illness. She, Ernest Hemingway, Ted Turner, Mike Wallace and countless other VERY successful people suffer(ed) from this illness that usually strikes intelligent people in their late teens and early twenties. It is also tends to run in families. The only time that a person is disabled by this illness and is not able to function fully in life is when they become very manic and suffer a psychosis or sooo depressed that they suffer a psychotic depression. Such episodes rarely occur when a person Bipolar Disorder remains on their medication and gets adequate sleep because lack of sleep causes mania and depression always follows untreated mania.
        Obviously, when Margaret told her story to the newspaper, she was completely cognizant. You may not appreciate what she had to share but she was completely correct. Cannabis can trigger psychosis in SOME people. As Bipolar Disorder is inheritable and she herself has experienced psychosis with mania, I am sure she would concerned about her children using cannabis.

        • Her opinion is no more relevant to this discussion than any other. If Harper’s mother was a strident communist, would that be relevant to Harper’s politics?

          Going after parents and other family members is dirty pool, especially exploiting illness for political points.

          • It isn’t an opinion to state that cannabis can trigger psychosis. Rather, it is a fact. The fact that it actually happened to her is relevant to her. Further, she is a former first lady of Canada. She is a famous Canadian in her own right. I am sorry but Justin Trudeau is where he is because of his famous family. It is a little late to pretend they don’t exist and can’t be exploited except when it is in his favor. Actually his father Pierre also promised to decriminalize cannabis , if not legalize it, as did Jean Chretien and he we are, 40 years later and it’s still a criminal conviction.
            As for exploitation of Margaret Trudeau’s mental illness. Betty Ford who was a first lady and an alcoholic and Margaret Trudeau are to be applauded for their honesty and diligence in using their illnesses to help others get education and treatment to avoid suffering like they did. Given the number of books Margaret Trudeau has written and her blatant honesty about her trials and tribulations, not to mention her level of wellness, it is very wrong to say discussing her “mental illness” is exploitation. Now, using her mental illness to get a speaking gig for a national mental health advocacy group that makes you $35K richer, we could discuss that boarding on exploitation by her son but then I am not sure many of you want to recognize that.

            Interestingly, people did go after Harper’s father-in-law for not leaving his home in High River and after Harper’s wife when she went to do work as a volunteer at the floods in Calgary, claiming it was a photo-op.

          • So you think communism is hereditary ?

          • ????

    • Sigh…

      Yes Margaret Trudeau said cannabis can trigger psychosis.

      What she did NOT say is that she is slamming her son’s stand on legalizing pot.
      john g is clearly trying to exploit her personal situation to make his non-existent point.

      • Of course Margaret Trudeau did not say she is slamming her son’s stand on legalizing cannabis. The article in which she discusses her illness and cannabis is from 2007.
        Margaret Trudeau would likely have no issue with the legalization of cannabis but she obviously knows that it is not harmless for everyone. Some people cannot and should not ever use it. That is her point.

        • Yes. And john g’s “point” is his false claim that she disagrees with her son. Hence all the posters who admonish him for exploiting her.

          I’m just trying to get the discussion back on track.

  3. A liberal attack line could be:
    Parents, Grandparents do you know under Harper’s mandatory minimum prison sentences for relatively minor crimes your teen or older child or grandchild could be jailed in federal prison for making a small mistake regarding marijuana, and be saddled with a serious criminal record for life?

    • Ya, except you can’t find a single example of it happening.
      The CPC attack could just as well be “Under Junior’s legalization policy all your kids will be high as a kite and complete failures in life”.

      They’re both equally credible.

      • Can’t disagree with that.

  4. Ain’t no shortage of weed nor wine in my neighbourhood.
    And surely don’t need either one from BC.
    Illegal lobster and Atlantic salmon (yum) are available but
    harder to get.
    What were we talkin’ about ??

  5. What part of a bunch of hippies from the 70’s supporting legalization is “surprising”, Aaron?

    This is simply pandering to the NDP base for Trudeau. It won’t move a single Conservative vote, even if they do support the policy.

    Nobody cares, marijuana is effectively legal in Canada anyway. Make it legal, and likely the only thing that will happen is that the prices will go up as government try to make more and more money from it. Which is incredibly disgusting when you think about it.

    • And tens of thousands of marijuana prohibition enforcement cases stop clogging our courts, gangs lose a billion dollar market to fund violent activity, kids stop buying their weed from criminals….

    • Rick, I think you’re dead wrong in saying this won’t move a single Conservative vote. Especially if the Conservatives really ramp up the attacks and end up looking like a bunch of reactionary fuddy-duddies stuck in the 1950s on this issue. There are a lot of economic libertarian conservatives out there with very liberal views on social issues like this. Remember, William F. Buckley supported legalization.

    • Right, effectively legal. Right.

      Some 58,000 Canadians were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, and another 18,000 were arrested for marijuana trafficking, also up significantly with a 10% increase over 2009.

      • Those figures are incorrect. I just saw them in a CBC article, and the numbers they gave for 2010 were about 28,000 for possession, and a little under 3,000.
        Don’t get me wrong. I think that’s 30,000+ too many people. I just think you might like to check your source.

  6. This is going to backfire badly on Junior. 1st of all, the entire premise is idiotic. He’s saying that by making marijuana more accessible to adults, it will somehow become less accessible to children. Why? Because store clerks will ID them? Sure, but what about asking your older brother to pick some up for you, or getting a fake ID? Both incredibly easy. I was a half-a-pack a day smoker by the time I was 15. Had zero problems getting them when I needed.

    The other idiotic idea is that somehow the criminal element will just disappear. They won’t. They’ll either go legit, and use the legal proceeds to fund other criminal enterprises, or they’ll just keep doing what they’re doing.

    The government would have to sell it’s weed at a price lower than the current “black market” rate, otherwise people will just stick with their regular guy. And we know that lower prices will undoubtedly raise demand.

    So in the end we’ll have more Canadians smoking more pot, kids will have easier access to it, and the criminals that are currently selling weed will see a massive windfall.

    What a brilliant policy.

    • So you support banning alcohol and tobacco?

      • I am not against legalization of cannabis. In fact, why not? However, anyone who honestly believes teenagers are having a hard time getting their hands on bootlegged liquor and cigarettes is completely naive. In Alberta, where I live, the legal age is 18 so an 18 year old in grade 12 can boot for tons of people. That 18 year old will just boot pot for everybody too. Then there are the ones who use false ID furnished by their older siblings.
        As for the drug sales by gangs. I think they will just up the ante into the different drugs. Will we legalize Cocaine? Meth? E?
        There will always be something “illegal” out there gangs to bootleg….illegal handguns from the US…..

        • All drugs should be decriminalized, and most should be legalized. Heroin is less dangerous than alcohol.

      • Yes we should ban cigarettes. They are cancer delivery devices. Here we are banning certain kinds of plastics, etc. and then we leave the biggest offender of all on the shelf.

    • You know what is idiotic? Saying that mandatory minimum sentences deter crime when there is not one shred of evidence that is so.

      i haven’t seen that complete lie backfire on Harper….

    • “The other idiotic idea is that somehow the criminal element will just disappear. They won’t. They’ll either go legit, and use the legal proceeds to fund other criminal enterprises, or they’ll just keep doing what they’re doing.”
      Rick, that’s weak and misleading. Of course criminals will continue to be criminals. But they won’t continue to make stupid amounts of money growing and selling pot. Because they’ll face a massive wave of competition from all the new entrants who are able to grow and sell it legally.
      You know, when the US repealed prohibition in the early 1930s, people like Al Capone and Nucky Thompson did not continue to make ridiculous amounts of money selling bootleg liquor. Grab a brain.

    • Have you seen the usage rates among teenagers when comparing the Netherlands to the U.S, and Canada? It is substantially lower.
      I’m not saying legalization is the only factor, but the future you envision with a joint in every crib, will not happen.
      Kids smoke weed now, and will continue to smoke it. Is the solution to lock them up? Give them criminal records which can effect their future?
      Every study I have seen shows that legalization or decriminalization does not increase drug use. Have you seen any that counter that claim.
      If you are interested to learn more start with the one by the CATO institute.

  7. I live in Alberta where the age of consent is 18. Kids in grade 12 turn 18. The 18 year olds can bootleg for every younger kid around…that is every kid that doesn’t already have false ID from an older sibling. You can legalize cannabis but please do not pretend it is for the purpose of keeping it out of the hands of children because children are easily getting their hands on cigarettes and alcohol whenever they want it.

    • Umm kids can already buy all the weed they want. In countries where it has been decriminalized, use by under 18’s goes down. But don’t let facts….