Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 2015
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2015 The Orange County Register


Can Canada help Orange County and the rest of California out of a 
legal haze on marijuana?

The Great White North just elected Justin Trudeau as prime minister. 
His Liberal Party offered a campaign plank that promises, "We will 
legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana. Canada's current 
system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent 
young people from using marijuana, and too many Canadians end up with 
criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug."

It's not total legalization, because the policy also calls for 
creating "new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who 
provide [marijuana] to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle 
while under its influence and those who sell it outside of the new 
regulatory framework." We'll see how exactly that is implemented, but 
the framework is similar to U.S. and Canadian laws concerning alcohol 
and to recreational-pot legalization laws in Colorado and other states.

"It's a positive example for California," Dale Gieringer told us; 
he's the coordinator for the California chapter of the National 
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "We welcome any 
countries jumping on the bandwagon of legalization."

He also pointed to marijuana's legal status being taken up this month 
by the Mexican Supreme Court. "Our neighbors both north and south 
seem to be interested in proceeding," he said. The Huffington Post 
reported the Mexican case "could lead to the legalization of 
marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation." 
Legalization could become a huge blow to the profits of the 
narcotraficantes, whose fierce rivalries have killed thousands of Mexicans.

In California, confusion still reigns, especially for dispensaries in 
Orange County, over Proposition 215, which voters passed in 1996 and 
which legalizes medical marijuana. Only this year did the state 
Legislature finally regularize the dispensaries - yet the three bills 
only partly cleared up the confusion.

A state initiative to decriminalize recreational use of marijuana 
could go before voters next year. Mr. Gieringer said NORML soon will 
submit the final wording, followed by gathering of signatures. In the 
meantime, we will monitor events in Canada.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom