The high and low
When newly-elected Justin Trudeau planted the seed in 2015 that he would be legalizing marijuana, it set the government on a divided path.
For some pot enthusiasts and medical marijuana users, the idea of legalizing marijuana became a beacon of hope after years of fighting. For those opposed it sparked concern for a new era of drug use.
The new legislation, announced on April 13, seems half-baked for both sides. While there is more than a year to tweak the bill, the pot legalization legislation sparks a lot of questions.
First of all, the federal government will be the one to regulate the drug but leave distribution to the provinces, which sounds like cost downloading.
The legislation also begs the question of how much money taxpayers will get from this apparent tax pot of gold.
Right now police do not have adequate equipment to combat drug impaired driving. How are they expected to enforce new impaired driving laws if proving impairment is onerous and complicated?
The legislation allows people over 18 to grow four of their own plants, but what if you do not own your own home? Landlords are speaking out against the legislation, saying it could affect neighbours in multi-unit buildings. They site electrical hazards, mould and odours that could occur.
The government’s stance on marijuana isn’t hazy, but the legislation is.
Throw it to the wolves
Marijuana is on the fast track to legalization in Canada and the response has been lukewarm at best.
The opposition only focuses on the negatives, while public health and law enforcement officials gave the proposed Cannabis Act a hesitant nod, saying they still have significant reservations but are looking forward to answers from the government.
Some may say the legislation was presented too early, asking “where’s the tool for law enforcement to measure the level of cannabis intoxication? Who’s going to regulate the number of marijuana plants in a home? What level of government sets the legal age?”
But isn’t that the entire reason for putting a bill on the table?
This is the first time since prohibition that Canada has faced legislation to legalize a long standing illegal substance.
It’s not going to happen overnight and it won’t be easy.
By putting a draft out there the federal government has done the smart thing. They’ve got people talking.
Whether the talk is good or bad the government could very well hear suggestions they didn’t consider when writing the bill.
There are a lot of smart people out there, after all.
Sure, holes will be poked and wording criticized, but the end result will be a piece of legislation that’s been put through the ringer and, fingers crossed, is free of ambiguities and unknowns when it finally does become law next year.