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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: Editorial: Liberals On Right Track To Legalize Pot
Title:CN ON: Editorial: Liberals On Right Track To Legalize Pot
Published On:2012-01-18
Source:Peterborough This Week (CN ON)
Fetched On:2012-01-23 06:00:56

On the weekend, the Liberal Party of Canada took a long hard look at
its future. Amidst all the plans to make itself more relevant, its
members broke new ground by resolving to make marijuana legal. Even
the open-minded NDP had only suggested decriminalizing pot, so this is
quite a change for a Canadian political party.

So what's the difference?

Decriminalizing marijuana takes away the legal sting when you're found
with some leaf. Making it legal means you can sell it commercially and
the government can tax it, just like they do with cigarettes and alcohol.

The movement for legalization arose from the Liberal Party's youth
wing. They have grown up watching pot becoming more accepted, a
process that was accelerated when people who use it for pain relief
and other medicinal purposes could get a licence to grow their own. We
are slowly evolving to the point of recognizing en masse that this is
not a substance that causes serious addictions to most people who use

Critics will, of course, point out that weed is a 'gateway drug' that
gets people into situations where they then try harder and more
addictive drugs. We would argue that by changing the rules so tokers
can buy their marijuana from a legal source, you don't send people out
into alleyways or drug houses to get a fix. Therefore, that entry into
the criminal world doesn't happen.

Frankly, we see marijuana as a recreational drug, just like the booze
and cigarettes that many adults enjoy every day. Its health effects
are limited and, as medicinal users will tell you, it helps cope with
chronic illnesses.

It's hypocritical for the government to approve and tax some drugs and
to fine or jail people for another.

We're tired of seeing so many police resources going into
investigations for petty crimes like dealing pot when officers would
have more impact by going after other criminals. There have been
concerns about more drug dealers and bike gangs coming into the city;
taking away part of their business would certainly hurt their trade.

We know this is a long way off, especially since the Liberals have 34
out of 300-plus seats in Parliament. And the law-and-order
Conservatives are unlikely to jump on this bandwagon.

From a practical sense, this would be a progressive move for
Canadians. We just hope you're ready when the Liberals get enough
seats someday to see it through.
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