“I think we have to recognize first and foremost that the war on drugs, as it exists right now, doesn’t work,” said Trudeau, adding that the current system puts criminal records on Canadians who consume the drug, while also allowing criminal organizations to profit from the prohibition.
“So I am a huge supporter of decriminalization.”
However, Trudeau added that the next step to look at would be legalization. This would take marijuana profits away from criminal organizations and allow the government to tax and regulate the drug.
Trudeau added that regulating the drug would mean keeping it away from children, since individuals would have to demonstrate ID before purchasing marijuana.
“(Because) you guys aren’t allowed to buy cigarettes or booze either. Because it’s not good for you,” he added.
The last national poll on marijuana found two thirds of Canadians support decriminalization of marijuana, highlighting that we are ready for the political conversation. As well, when you consider where the Liberals need to "grow" to become relevant again, the fact that 75% of British Columbians support outright legalization, the same direction alluded to by Trudeau, you have a political home run. Cynics will scoff that people won't vote based on marijuana, and while that may be true, a progressive stance does help give the Liberal Party shape, identity, not to mention ink. Factor in a NDP lead Mulcair and their tentative position, I see opportunity, beyond the simple practicalities.
The public is ready, there is an economic/tax argument to be made, Trudeau's stance brings the Liberals up to speed. With recent votes in the United States, there is the additional legitimacy that counters the usual fears of American reprisals. It is nice to see Trudeau not only supporting decriminalization, but go further and make the argument that outright legalization is the practical end game.