During an appearance on NTV’s Issues & Answers, Liberal MP-elect for St. John’s East Nick Whalen offered insight into his party’s promise to legalize cannabis, a plan that Whalen said is, “an important thing to do.”
“Justin Trudeau has said that’s it’s not going too happen immediately, it’s going to take time.” Whalen said. “I can’t see this happening in a short time period, but i see it hopefully as something that can happen within a first term.”
Whalen said cannabis legalization will take time to ensure the government can look at issues surrounding regulation, such as how sales will be taxed.
“Each province is responsible for the civil law and the sale of goods and services in their district, so they’re going to have to be involved there,” said Whalen. “Will it be federal and provincial taxes? Will it just be provincial taxes? There’s so many nuances.”
According to Whalen, under cannabis legalization law enforcement will need to look at new issues, such as the illegal importation and sale of cannabis, similar to tobacco and alcohol, but will ultimately be better utilized compared to the current situation.
“Police services have been wasting a lot of money on something which has essentially become a norm in society,” Whalen said. “It’s not really considered to be that serious of a crime.”
One of Whalen’s main points on the slow implementation of cannabis legalization was cutting out organized crime from transitioning into legitimate players within the new framework.
“If we were going to decriminalize it immediately those distribution networks would continue to exist and would probably be the largest beneficiaries of an immediate change,” Whalen said. “We want to make sure that it’s not a situation where the bootleggers, the rumrunners of the drug trade, get all the benefits from legalization – it needs to be the state.”