Le chef du Parti LibÈral du Canada, Justin Trudeau, lors de son discours au CongrËs biennal du Parti LibÈral du Canada au Palais des CongrËs, ‡ MontrÈal en ce samedi 22 fÈvrier 2014. JOEL LEMAY/AGENCE QMI

Justin Trudeau’s Legalization: Clueless or Nefarious?

Federal Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau doesn’t have the slightest clue as to how he’ll legalize cannabis. When asked about a specific plan, he enthusiastically replied, “No. Not as of day one… the actual model isn’t going to be spelled out in our election platform because we need responsible study to make sure that we are doing it right in a way that is suited to Canada.” Or as former Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell put so eloquently, “an election is no time to discuss serious issues.”

Staying mum on details has its rationale, according to Justin in an interview he did with the Ottawa Citizen, because, “we have to build rapidly a plan to protect our kids, to stop the criminal elements from profiting, and to not criminalize a whole generation of people.” Therefore, any specifics of Justin’s plan without the special knowledge that comes from sitting in power must be unsound. However, Justin’s “legalization” model can be discerned without having to be part of the platform. Of course, it’d be nice if the Grits could be a little more transparent about this, but when has the Liberal Party ever been honest?

Comparing cannabis to alcohol, Justin tells the Citizen, “No matter how much a teenager wants to go out and buy a beer, for example, there is no black market for selling alcohol to teenagers on street corners or in schoolyards. That is not a way that young people get access to alcohol.” That’s incorrect. Some underage drinkers get their alcohol from willing parents, others find an of age dealer on the street corner or schoolyard (yes, 19 year-olds go to high school). But no matter who is selling, consumers purchase from retail. That is, the legal, taxed and regulated supply.

Regarding street dealers, Justin says it’s the way “[children] get access to marijuana right now. What we need to do is make it at least as difficult for young people to get their hands on marijuana as it is for them to get their hands on alcohol.”

It’s not hard to be an “underage” drinker.  The Conservatives aren’t necessarily wrong when they say storefronts will normalize use and make it easier for children to partake. Storefronts do normalize cannabis and it’s a lot easier then buying off the street, no matter how old you are. Of course, the obvious difference is that we here at CinC don’t see anything wrong with “normalizing use” and storefronts. And considering the magnitude of therapeutic and medicinal properties, if “the children” are so damn important they should be the first in line for cannabinoid treatments.

But the Liberal Party has never let a little facts and evidence get in their way. Justin says:

 “If you regulate it, if you control it, whether it’s working with the provinces, which we’ll have to do anyway for the equivalent of a liquor control board to sell it. Whether you pick and choose particular outlets that are allowed to do it, the carding, the making sure that penalties for selling to under-age people are significant and the returns just aren’t there, combined with a public education campaign around being responsible, is going to go a long way toward protecting our kids and preventing criminal organizations and gangs from making the millions and millions of dollars that they do from pushing this illicit substance.”

In other words, if we let the Liberal Party regulate and control cannabis, they will work with the provinces to create some kind of cannabis control board that manages sales. Or it’s possible that, like in Washington State, the existing liquor control board will just incorporate the newly legalized goods and services within their domain. Imagine the cannabis selection of Ontario‘s Beer Store cartel, coupled with the government-owned and operated LCBO. A control board of bureaucrats handing out applications, licenses, and other wealth-destroying paperwork. They could go as far as to deciding how cannabis farmers should grow, what strains they should use, what third-party capital goods they should buy.

A control board may even try to influence supply and demand, but given the failures of central planning, it won’t be too extreme. Just enough to keep Liberal CFO Chuck Rifici’s involvement with Tweed and Aurora profitable and protected from free-market competition, like BC’s independent farmers and retail owners. As a matter of fact, Justin’s control board destroys the middle-class he claims to be representing.