Pubdate: Fri, 21 Apr 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: David Reevely
Page: A6


Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing marijuana as if he thought it
was a good idea. Instead we're getting the most grudging piece of
legislation since the Paul Martin Liberals legalized same-sex marriage
with the Supreme Court's gun to their heads.

The law proposed last week is a steaming turd of a bill that doesn't
acknowledge the hard fact that governments cannot effectively control
the growth of plants.

This has been the crippling problem with pot prohibitionism from the
very beginning: Marijuana is easier to produce than drinkable booze,
certainly easier than smokable cigarettes.

You'll be allowed to grow pot plants for yourself under the new
legislation and "share" what you grow with other adults, 30 grams at a
time. This is quite a bit of pot - the same weight as a small bag of
chips. And you'll be able to buy commercial marijuana from licensed
growers through provincially regulated stores. But you won't be
allowed to sell any marijuana you've grown yourself, which is
precisely the act governments everywhere have been unable to stop.

Partial legalization will complicate enforcement: Some marijuana
leaves will be legal. Some marijuana leaves will be illegal. Will we
be able to tell where they came from by looking at them? How will
police know? How much court time will be spent on these questions?

To mitigate the law-enforcement problems created by the new bill, the
government is increasing police powers.

As it is, police are supposed to have grounds to pull a driver over,
and then specific reason to suspect a driver has been drinking before
demanding a breath sample. Under the Liberal bill, police will require
grounds to pull a driver over, but once they have they'll require no
additional justification to take breath to look for alcohol or spit to
look for marijuana. Except that mass RIDE checks are legal, so police
will be able to demand breath samples from anybody they feel like
demanding them of.

The government says it wants to "reduce litigation regarding whether
or not the officer had a reasonable suspicion." What does that have to
do with marijuana? Nothing.

Smearing more mess around, the Liberals are leaving virtually all
questions about regulating pot retailing to the provinces. They had an
expert panel - led by former health minister Anne McLellan - advise
them on this legislation and the panel said it's a bad idea to allow
marijuana to be sold alongside alcohol.

Smoking up and drinking together is supposedly more dangerous than
either on its own, though "there is little research to confirm that
there is a direct correlation between co-location and co-use," the
panel admitted.

There are so many liquor stores that allowing them to sell marijuana
will make marijuana widely available and might lead people to believe
governments condone pot smoking, the panel warned.

The feds are going to let provinces decide where marijuana can legally
be sold, punting the McLellan panel's advice on this entirely. Could
be corner stores, could be government stores, could be in industrial
wastelands, could even theoretically be nowhere.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has mused about selling marijuana through the
LCBO. After the feds released the legislation, Attorney General Yasir
Naqvi emitted a long, mushy statement about studying it and working
with partners "to develop a responsible approach that aligns with
their legislative framework." In other words, Ontario has no idea what
it's going to do.

Considering what a mess we've made of alcohol sales here, where the
single most important question is what makes the provincial government
the most money, there's every reason to expect us to mess pot up, too.

Never mind whether government should try to keep adults from getting
high. It can't. The drug war failed, is failing, will continue to
fail, and the state embarrasses itself by fighting it. Which, under
the federal Liberals' proposed legislation, the state will continue to
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