This summer, Canada will be legalizing cannabis from the west coast to the east coast. It is one of the few campaign promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stuck to since his election in 2015. In that time, Canada’s Progressive Conservative party has unsuccessfully fought to delay the weed plans, citing everything from provincial unpreparedness to roadside testing concerns. One Nova Scotia PC party member is eating her shoe this week after airing a strange anxiety about pot: that it will make Canadians as unproductive as “Jamaica.”
During a reading of Nova Scotia’s cannabis bill, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, who is running to lead the Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, began to mourn the ‘clear-minded, sober and productive’ Canada.
“I have a best friend in Amherst who is from Jamaica,” said Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin. “She said to me, ‘Elizabeth, smoking marijuana in Jamaica is completely accepted and there’s a completely different work ethic and very low productivity in Jamaica.’ I think we already have a productivity problem here in Nova Scotia. We do not need something else making it worse.”
Thanks to its most famous son, Bob Marley, Jamaica certainly has a strong affiliation to weed around the world. But it’s blown out of proportion. Weed is actually illegal in the country, and medical marijuana was only legalized in 2015. As for productivity, studies conclude that it has much more to do with low wages and labor conditions than anything high. But this all seems beside the point. Some think it would be generous to say Smith-McCrossin hasn’t done her research.
“Can’t let this one slide,” tweeted Halifax City Councillor Lindell Smith, “It’s very unfortunate that we have elected officials with a serious lack of cultural understanding.”
Smith-McCrossin has since issued an apology over Facebook. “I am not as knowledgeable about racism as I should be,” she wrote. “As an elected official and as someone who aspires to a leadership role, particularly in a province like Nova Scotia where racism persists to this day, I need to do better.”