Le pot «légal» ne va pas résoudre tous nos problèmes - juste quelques-uns


Legal pot won’t solve all our problems — just a few of them: Teitel
Par: Emma Teitel, National Columnist au Toronto Star
Publié le mardi 27 octobre 2015

The Liberals’ rise to majority power means they must deliver on some very big campaign promises including the legalization of marijuana.

The argument that legalization will keep weed out of the hands and lungs of youth is unconvincing.

The argument that legalization will keep weed out of the hands and lungs of youth is unconvincing.

Everybody wants success but few know what to do with it. The late American poet Dorothy Parker summarized this contradictory truth best when she wrote: “If I should labor through daylight and dark/Consecrate, valorous, serious, true/ Then on the world I may blazon my mark; And what if I don't, and what if I do?”

If Justin Trudeau is unfamiliar with Parker’s poem, he is by now familiar with its sentiment: there is equal parts joy and dread in having one’s dreams come true. The Liberals’ rapid rise to majority power means a party previously down and out must reckon with an astonishing triumph and deliver on some very big campaign promises including the legalization of marijuana.

Trudeau campaigned on legalizing the drug and regulating its sale, something he believes will limit youth access to pot by eroding the black market. He told Metro News in February: “Our current approach (prohibition) isn’t protecting our kids, we need to protect the vulnerable, while respecting people’s freedoms.”

But beyond vague assurances that legalization and regulation are good and prohibition is bad, the incoming government hasn’t yet informed the public about when or how exactly its legal pot plan will materialize.

“Between now and November 4th, our commitment is forming a new government,” says Liberal spokesperson Cameron Ahmad. Legalization, he adds, will “ensure that criminal organizations don’t benefit from government policy (prohibition) that isn’t working.”

Pot activists, meanwhile, are having a Dorothy Parker moment of their own. Trudeau’s legalization promise may mean their “labor through daylight and dark” for legal weed is nearly done. But like the Liberals, they are also ambivalent about the future.

Hugô St-Onge, spokesperson for the Bloc Pot — a pro Cannabis party in Quebec — is happy to see a weed friendly PM in office but worries the Liberals’ proposed regulation of the legal weed industry will be too strict and too expensive to abate the presence of organized crime. “If you want to kill the black market you need to kill the value of weed,” he says. Marijuana should be as inexpensive as herbs available in a grocery store, he argues.

Government officials in weed-legal Colorado warn that legalization is a process rife with complications our prime minister-designate may not have anticipated. Considering that Trudeau only just confirmed his living arrangements (the PM announced this week he and his family won't be living at 24 Sussex but in a house on the Governor General's grounds) he may not be thinking in great detail about an issue his party has filed under “to do after November 4th.”

It’s too early, in other words, to tell what the PM’s pot friendly Canada will look like. But what it won’t look like, I’d wager, is a land full of sober teenagers.

Yes legal weed may erode the marijuana black market, but the argument by both the Liberals and pro-weed activists that legalization will keep weed out of the hands and lungs of youth is unconvincing. Government regulation may curb organized crime’s influence in the production and sale of pot but it cannot eliminate the influence of another pesky criminal entity: the cool older sibling who — be it out of the kindness of his heart or for the right price — is always willing to assist a sober younger sibling in a bind. Which is to say, alcohol is legal and government-regulated, but strict guidelines and fines, do not prevent irresponsible brothers and sisters of legal drinking age (God bless them) from stocking the fridge with beer for their siblings’ underage house parties.

A Canada in which weed is legal will likely be a Canada in which more people are stoned. That some of those people may be teens is disturbing to many adults. But parents wary of Trudeau’s campaign promise might take comfort in the possibility that legalization will eliminate the criminal stigma around pot, making it easier for kids to ask questions about the drug.

Consider the way Ontario’s new comprehensive sex education curriculum deals openly with topics like sexting and nude photo sharing, practices we know youth engage in relentlessly but until recently (in Ontario schools at least) we ignored. If the Liberals make good on their promise to legalize weed, let’s hope they advocate for an educational “appropriate use” component in schools similar to anti-drunk driving and binge drinking campaigns. Knowledge is not only power; where drugs are concerned, knowledge is restraint.

In a world where pot is illegal the prevailing message to youth is a) it should be avoided at all costs and b) it’s totally cool to overindulge and anyone who suggests otherwise is a conservative blowhard. Legalization of marijuana will not solve all of our problems but in the very least it will make clear that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


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