Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Time to Exhale

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Time to Exhale

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Time to exhale

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Aug. 26:

On Thursday federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau revealed that he's tried marijuana five or six times - including an incident three years ago while serving as an MP.

The most recent times was at a dinner party Trudeau hosted at his Montreal home. He said a friend lit a joint and passed it around. Trudeau admitted

having a puff.

It wasn't a mistake; he did inhale; and he made no apologies for doing it.

On Friday, the predictable reefer madness ensued in Ottawa.

The harshest criticism came from Justice Minister Peter McKay, who said Trudeau, by knowingly breaking the law while serving as an MP, showed a lack of judgment, set a bad example for young Canadians and is "simply not the kind of leader our country needs."

In addition, McKay accused Trudeau of hypocrisy because the Liberal MP had voted in favour of mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana production in 2009.

McKay does have a fair point: if those who make and enforce the law don't follow them, than how can other citizens be expected to?

Even if Trudeau didn't buy the marijuana he tried, somebody did. And they almost certainly bought it from drug dealers and organized crime gangs, who ruthlessly control the highly-profitable production and distribution of the drug.

However, Trudeau conceded his private actions and public position had been at odds in the past, and that his position on drug control policy has changed over time.

Prohibition hasn't worked, he said, and it is time to consider legalizing and regulating marijuana instead of spending $500 million per year fighting it and criminalizing hundreds of thousands of Canadians for

marijuana possession.

On that issue, Trudeau is partially correct.

According to the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey conducted by the federal government in 2011, 39.4 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and up had tried marijuana in their lifetime and 9.1 per cent had used it in the past year (21.6 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 reported using marijuana in the past year).

Even among adults 25 years old and older, 6.7 per cent had used marijuana in the past year (12. …

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