Suddenly everyone seems to be an advocate for the legalization of marijuana.
From mayors to policemen to cabinet ministers to provincial premiers, everyone appears to have suddenly seen the light that the decades-long war on marijuana has been futile, hypocritical, wasteful, overblown and ruined more lives than it saved. They suddenly realized there is a better way to deal with this.
One has to wonder how could such a large swath of our decision makers suddenly come to the same conclusion at roughly the same time.
I believe it’s the same reason the notorious drug dealers got involved in the illicit market to begin with — money.
When once our honourable leaders would spout from the pulpit of the evils of “weed,” how it destroys our society, ruins neighbourhoods and provides a gateway to who-knows-what type of drugs and carnage, they now appear to be lining up for a piece of the “pot” pie so to speak.
Ever since the Liberal government announced plans to legalize marijuana, politicians all the way down the trough have been licking their lips for some of that “green” money they assume will be flowing.
Communities that were on the verge of pitchforks and torches to close down a small marijuana dispensary have now seen the light.
Provinces that ordered crackdowns on small compassion clubs now are eager for them to resume business … for a price.
Funny how visions of dollars for bloated governments suddenly changes the perception of what is right and wrong.
As soon as the federal government unveiled its proposal of taxing legal marijuana for around $1 a gram on Friday, the provinces, cities and municipalities immediately rolled out their scripted response about how this is all going to cost them so they need their cut.
Almost in unison across the nation provinces that decried the legalization are now crying poor if they don’t get they’re share of the latest tax.
“A 50-50 split with the feds isn’t good enough,” said the B.C. government, sounding more like El Chapo than an elected body.
I guess the motto of “Just say no,” needs to be replaced by “We need more.”
Such wrangling and haggling among the righteous lawmakers must be making Mark Emery smirk somewhat.
Here was a guy, the self-proclaimed Prince of Pot, persecuted for selling seeds, arrested in Vancouver, thrown in a U.S. prison, incarcerated in a state which voted to legalize marijuana and basically labelled a criminal on both sides of the border.
Now the same people who decried him, are looking worse than him.
It’s a tribute to cities like Vancouver, Nelson, Rossland and other communities who have taken the “no harm, no foul” approach over the years to dispensaries. Follow some basic rules, help keep it out of the hands of kids and we can make it work. Police have bigger fish to catch on their watch.
Now, of course, the rest are playing catch-up to that rational response. Political leaders who once labelled marijuana a “problem” now see it as a “solution” … to their bank accounts that is.
The latest in the long line of hypocritical converts is Julian Fantino. Here was a guy who famously ignored, on camera, a pleading wife of a veteran when he served as Minister of Veterans Affairs. He was guy who was Toronto’s head cop and commissioner of the provincial police force.
Over the last decade or so he has been quoted as saying, among other things, he opposes the legalization of marijuana, legalization puts children at risk and basically was ready to blame Prime Minister Trudeau’s legalization plans as the beginning of the end of our society.
“The Liberals want to make buying marijuana a normal, everyday activity for young Canadians,” his 2014 campaign flyer read.
That is until this week when he had a “vision” about helping people with medical marijuana.
Suddenly the honourable former member of parliament sees marijuana as a way to help people. So instead of volunteering his time to help those people, while still collecting his lucrative government pension, he decided to chair a company that plans to profit from it. So honourable.
This isn’t the first or last about-face by a politician. I’ve written about this before. After years of denouncing marijuana from the election platform, the minute many step away they readily admit that it should be legal. Ujjal Dosanjh, the former attorney general in B.C., comes to mind. He would say such things when on the provincial payroll but once he was done he admitted it was time to legalize it.
It’s hard not to be cynical when people empowered to make the rules suddenly reverse course and accept public opinion the minute there’s a tangible financial benefit.
Somehow they all knew what the public wanted, how the laws weren’t working and the medical benefits. But yet they refused to budge or even acknowledge the argument.
Now suddenly when dollars come into to play everybody is on board as long as they get their cut. Who would have guessed.
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times