A new poll suggests Canada may have reached the tipping point and a 66-per-cent majority favours legalizing marijuana.
Hallelujah! Finally we might get a sensible public policy discussion in this country about what to do about a relatively benign substance that has been demonized and outlawed for a century yet is as readily available in schoolyards as cigarettes.
The prohibition and a 40-year-long “War on Drugs” have led to pot being more widely accessible, taxpayers considerably poorer, gangs richer and thousands upon thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens branded “criminal.”
Another 50,000 or so Canadians are busted every year for possession; throw in 20,000 or so traffickers and producers and this so-called war is costing us as much as $400 million annually in law enforcement, court and corrections.
Bearing in mind a million dollars a year buys roughly 12 new cops, 14 teachers or public health nurses, ask yourself: Couldn’t all that money be better spent?
The federal Liberal party obviously thinks so – 77 per cent of delegates at the weekend convention voted to legalize the herb, echoing the Senate special committee on illegal drugs (chaired by a Conservative), which 10 years ago urged the government to free the weed. Four decades ago, the LeDain Commission similarly called for an end to the criminal prohibition of cannabis.
Across the country today, more and more people agree.