CANADA: Canada’s opposition Liberal Party head Justin Trudeau has called for the legalization of marijuana, putting himself and his party on a collision course with the ruling Conservatives ahead of 2015 elections. Trudeau’s stand also differentiates the Liberals from the New Democratic Party (NDP), which has been the progressive party on drug reform, but which only calls for decriminalization.
The Liberals adopted marijuana legalization as a platform in January 2012, but Trudeau had previously lagged behind the party, calling only for decriminalization.
Trudeau revived drug policy as an issue when, at a Kelowna, British Columbia, event Sunday, he spotted someone in the crowd holding a sign calling for decriminalization.
“I’ll take that as a question,” he volunteered. “I’m actually not in favor of decriminalizing cannabis, I’m in favour of legalizing it, tax and regulate,” he said to applause. “It’s one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids, because the current war on drugs, the current model, is not working.”
In Vancouver on Thursday, Trudeau elaborated.
“Listen, marijuana is not a health food supplement, it’s not great for you,” he told reporters, but added that it was no worse for people than cigarettes or alcohol and he was now willing to go further than just decriminalization.
“I have evolved in my own thinking,” Trudeau said. “I was more hesitant to even decriminalize not so much as five years ago. But I did a lot of listening, a lot of reading, and a lot of paying attention to the very serious studies that have come out and I realize that going the road of legalization is actually a responsible thing to look at and to do.”