Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jan 2012
Source: Evening News, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2012 The Evening News


A tentative proposal by the federal Liberals to legalize marijuana 
raises both interest and eyebrows. But would they ever go ahead with 
such measures if elected, or is it just a way of distancing 
themselves from the stodgy Conservatives and appearing edgy?

At their convention last weekend, a proposal from the party's youth 
wing was to legalize pot, control sales, as with booze and tobacco, 
and enjoy the tax revenue.

It's been noted that the substance has been illegal for so long, and 
a subject of such hysteria, that a majority of Canadians would have 
trouble getting used to the idea of lifting laws.

The pro-side says a lot of money goes into prosecuting people for 
possession and it doesn't stop people anyway. Why not take sales out 
of the hands of criminals?

But an article carried this week by The Canadian Press highlights 
some of the complications that would accompany a move to legalize. 
For one thing, presumably there would be an age limit, so policing 
and legal costs wouldn't disappear.

Also, what about production controls of a herb that's relatively easy 
to grow? In addition to backyard growers, if taxes are relatively 
steep, as with tobacco, the black market could still get involved.

On a production note, you have to wonder how things would turn out in 
government hands. Product from government-run facilities has been 
roundly criticized as poor quality by medical marijuana users. And 
just this week problems similar to those posed by grow-ops were found 
at a federally approved medical marijuana operation in Calgary: 
building code violations, compromised air intake, toxins, pesticides, 
herbicides, fertilizer and potentially contaminated drinking water.

Another huge factor: the U.S. isn't likely to follow suit. Consider 
the fresh border nightmares.

And how about nabbing impaired drivers?

Ideally, it makes a lot of sense to legalize, control sales and 
profit on taxes. But as the devil is always in the details, it's just 
not likely to happen.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom