Friday, July 26, 2013

Re: Trudeau, stoned

I posted this comment to Warren Kinsella's site and, well, frankly I don't know if it will go through or not (either because I'm so brilliant he'll never let it be shown! or more likely because I lost one comment already because of my browser, and I'm not entirely sure it worked the second time, plus I kind of like it).
Warren, I think your argument is extremely faulty. Here's why:

First, we've already seen a country with large neighbours that have marijuana illegal in almost all circumstances pretty much legalize it: the Netherlands. Yes, on the books its is currently decriminalized, but in practice it is "legalized" - the state taxes and controls it by licensing cafes and so on to sell it, which is pretty much what Trudeau wants to do. I don't see the doom and gloom you're predicting here happening over at the Netherlands. The same example can be given for some Australian states that decriminalized, and we'll see what happens with Colorado and Washington.

Second, while I don't doubt the zeal of US and Conservative politicians, I don't think the issue is controversial enough for the mass public, or US customs, to really care about. Public polling already has come out and said that most Canadians prefer outright legalization, and a hefty number of Americans as well are supportive; moreover, if the US government decides to start a trade war with Canada over marijuana, then we have a lot more problems than we think with our neighbours to the south. It is such a small issue, especially considering that we're going to regulate and tax it, that its almost as stupid as the arguments that said same-sex marriage would disrupt our trade relations with the US; yeah, some Americans in power may not like it, but do you know what they like more? Money, and they get a lot of it from cross-border trade. Why would they affect that over marijuana? This isn't the freggin' 1950's.

Third, Trudeau's argument just makes so much goddamn sense that if you can't convince someone to agree to it, then I have no idea how you made a living as a lawyer. The idea is simple: legalize marijuana so we no longer persecute a recreational drug that probably millions upon millions of Canadians use, has proven to be less harmful than alcohol, and can be easily regulated and taxed for the benefit of the government. We'd probably follow a similar model to the Dutch, where we license shops to sell it and keep it off the streets. No one is suggesting we allow people to blow smoke in your kid's face or something, the idea is that we treat it like we do cigarettes or alcohol (at least here in Ontario). Its so reasonable that its almost impossible to agree, especially given that it has such strong moral arguments behind legalizing it as well. Not to mention all the tourist dollars we would grab!

Sorry but your arguments are weak, not to mention essentially a big slippery slope fallacy that most marijuana prohibitionists use, except on a different level. I don't even smoke, nor have any intention to, and I know how silly keeping marijuana illegal is. We have a chance in Trudeau to rectify this situation where people are thrown in jail for possessing small amounts by this Conservative government! We have a chance to finally get a politician in there that is up to speed with the rest of the population on this issue, something that probably took a hundred years to do. Now you're suggested that we're moving too fast and we need to slow down? Not likely.

The poll I mentioned, or the one I could find quickly, was this one as noted by NatPo. 40% of respondents said it would be taxed and legalized, with a further 26% saying it should be decriminalized for small amounts. 31% combined prefer the status quo, with 11% saying the laws should be stricter. This is pretty consistent across all regions.

The fact is that marijuana, like it or not, is going to be decriminalized and very probably legalized within the next couple of decades. Popular opinion is just too strong to fight against, because everyone knows the lies said about marijuana's effects and harm. Why would we not get a head start now? Trudeau's position is the right one, and I hope he sticks by it.


  1. I'm also a non-smoker but I've been advocating for legalization since the early 80s. I said then and continue to say now that it should be controlled and taxed just like cigarettes and alcohol. Any government that continues to sell and tax cigarettes and alcohol but refuses to do the same for marijuana is simply hypocritical. The CPC ought to support it as a means of making up the loss they inflicted upon us by dropping the very progressive GST.

    Besides raising revenue, legalization can control the strength and intensity of THC levels. It's currently very high (pun intended) and needs to come back down to levels found in the 60s and 70s.

    That's my nickel's worth so now it's time to put a lid on my comments. ;-)

  2. "Besides raising revenue, legalization can control the strength and intensity of THC levels. It's currently very high (pun intended) and needs to come back down to levels found in the 60s and 70s."

    Within the framework of regulation, why could there not be varying strengthens of marijuana available for the consumer to choose from? I think the market would (and should) look after itself as far as the intensities of THC levels.

    1. Not a sound argument. If there is too much THC, then just roll smaller joints, or smoke in a small pipe.

  3. Yes marijuana on average is more potent than before, but the difference between what was available now versus what was available in the 1970s is nowhere near as big as various drug czars have claimed. See for example the following article in Slate.

    That being said, so what if marijuana does have higher THC levels. Saying that potent pot is reason for keeping marijuana illegal is akin to saying that alcohol should be banned because gin has higher alcohol content than beer. It makes no sense. The pharmacological affects of consuming 1 "chemically supercharged" joint, as various US attorneys like to say, versus x number of "dad's joints" would be no different if the amount of THC consumed is the same. As for consumption, just as people do not drink the same volume of gin as beer, the higher the THC level in pot the less people consume. Hence, ironically more potent pot may be a welcome development. After all, one of the most prominent health effect related to marijuana, if not the most, is that it is usually smoked. The more potent the pot, the less people have to smoke to achieve the same high.

  4. Kyle what is proposed in Washington state is much more ambitious than what is the case in Holland. In Holland, it is legal to sell pot, but it not legal to produce it. Washington State plans to make it not only legal to sell the stuff, but also to produce it.

  5. The idea that you can regulate pot like tobacco or booze is just a little naive, if not outright disingenuous. It take effort to make (good) booze, and some expertise. It take even more effort to grow, cure, and blend tobacco into something most people want to smoke. Growing high grade ganja, however, is easy enough even a dope-head can do it. Do you really think you can restrict it to a "beer store" model? And if you try to tax it at the same level as we do booze and smokes, under the punitive nanny-state sin-tax model, you will find the dopers will do just that, grow their own. You would need that Washington state model and that just doesn't fit under our 19th century system of regulating the demon rum. So you see, unless you want to overhaul our sin laws, the idea that we regular, non-pot smoking people will just sit back while the dopers get preferential treatment, well, that's just whacky (tobacky).

  6. If pot is legalized and regulated big business will get involved and their larger economies of scale will squeeze out any small operation operated by some small-time dope head.

    I believe the biggest problem with legalization will be the industrialization of the pot industry with all of the problems that can come from that. The regulatory framework for legalized pot had better be complete, covering everything from growing it through processing it to marketing it.