Pubdate: Fri, 20 Dec 2013
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 Sun Media
Author: Greg Van Moorsel


Uh-oh, does someone have some 'splainin' to do?

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay is hinting the Conservative 
government might consider modernizing Canada's marijuana laws when it 
comes to possession of small amounts of pot. He told QMI Agency so in 
an exclusive interview this week.

"That doesn't mean decriminalizing or legalizing," he said, "but it 
does mean giving police options, for example, to issue fines in 
addition to any other sanctions, or as a substitute for other 
sanctions," the nation's top justice official said. So far, so good- 
except ... Except, the same Conservative government, in a widely 
aired radio attack ad, made political hay this fall out of Liberal 
Leader Justin Trudeau for promoting legalizing and taxing pot. 
Listen, and you can still hear the worried-sounding parent in the ad- 
a school bell ringing in the background- as she wonders about the 
Grit leader's judgment.

Except, hardline Conservatives-those at whom so much in the 
government's law-and-order agenda is pitched- are unlikely to view 
the substitution of fines for harsher penalties as anything but being 
soft on crime and on a drug many see as a gateway to harder stuff.

There are good arguments for and against reforming Canada's pot laws.

On the pro side, it makes little sense for highly-paid police 
officers and a court system that often struggles to deal with serious 
charges in a timely way, to get bogged down with the small amounts of 
pot that typical recreational use involves.

On the other hand, there are no "small amounts only" illegal 
marijuana grow operations.

That's not how the drug trade works. Think sophisticated grow-ops 
stashed in houses and factories. Think drug smuggling.

It was Trudeau who opened the door to the politics of pot, by 
admitting he's smoked up as an MP.

It could be MacKay is trying to cash in on that cachet, floating a 
trial balloon to show even the Tories aren't as bunched as many might 
think on marijuana. Or, maybe he's softening the ground for a 
legitimate adult conversation on reforming Canada's pot law.

Either way, the Tories should straighten out their own pot politics 
before that discussion begins.
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