Straight Talk
EDITORIAL - Justin Trudeau flips on legalized pot

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau arrives to speak to the media at Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 12, 2103.



Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau now says he's in favour of legalizing pot.

We disagree, which means we agree with what Trudeau said at last year's Liberal party convention, where delegates voted in favour of legalizing marijuana and he was opposed.

At that convention, Trudeau told ProjectRedDot legalization would likely increase marijuana consumption, which is "not great for your health" and "disconnects you a little bit from the world," adding, "I don't know that it's entirely consistent with the kind of society we're trying to build." We also agree with what Trudeau told Maclean's in 2010, when he wasn't even in favour of the lesser step of decriminalization.

"It's not your mother's pot," Trudeau warned, meaning today's marijuana is much stronger than what baby boomers smoked in their hippy days.

"I lived in Whistler for years and have seen the effects," Trudeau said. "We need all our brain cells to deal with our problems."

Now, Trudeau says his thinking has evolved. He wants to legalize marijuana, regulate it, tax it and keep it out of the hands of children.

He hasn't explained how legalizing it will reduce consumption by young people, the opposite of what he suggested in 2012.

Nor how the government will deal with illegal grow-ops and smugglers selling cut-rate pot, given that government-regulated pot will be taxed and more expensive. (Think of the thriving organized crime business in selling and smuggling illegal cigarettes, even though tobacco is legal.)

We agree with Trudeau's previous position, and with the Conservatives' response that "these drugs are illegal because of the harmful effect they have on users and on society." We support medical marijuana, prosecutorial discretion for casual users -- there's no need to jail them -- and throwing the book at big-time grow-op operators and smugglers.

We do credit Trudeau with taking a clear position in favour of legalizing pot, as opposed to the half-step of decriminalization.

This will give voters a clear choice in the next election between Trudeau's Liberals, who want to legalize pot, and Stephen Harper's Conservatives, who don't.

At present, most Canadians say they're in favour of legalizing or decriminalizing pot.

We're confident when all the facts are put before them, they'll believe what Trudeau used to believe.

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