Pubdate: Mon, 23 Dec 2013
Source: Northumberland Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 Sun Media
Author: Greg Van Moorsel
Page: 4


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

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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