When it comes to legalization, there are plenty of reasons that activists can supply. The only ones that count, however, are the ones that politicians embrace. Without their support, our message tends to fall on deaf ears. Justin Trudeau may have summed up one of the most compelling arguments for conservatives to cling to for the cause in an address at an economic conference on Wednesday.
What the Canadian Prime Minister said
Look, our approach on legalizing marijuana is not about creating a boutique industry or bringing in tax revenue, it’s based on two very simple principles:
The first one is, young people have easier access to cannabis now, in Canada, than they do in just about any other countries in the world. [Of] 29 different countries studied by the U.N., Canada was number one in terms of underage access to marijuana. And whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana. And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.
The other piece of it is there are billions upon billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of organized crime, street gangs and gun-runners, because of the illicit marijuana trade, and if we can get that out of the criminal elements and into a more regulated fashion we will reduce the amount of criminal activity that’s profiting from those, and that has offshoots into so many other criminal activities. So those are my focuses on that.
I have no doubt that Canadians and entrepreneurs will be tremendously innovative in finding ways to create positive economic benefits from the legalization and control of marijuana, but our focus is on protecting kids and protecting our streets.
He makes points everyone can agree with
Trudeau knows how to speak in a way that all sides can understand and get on board with. That’s part of the reason he is the Prime Minister. His first point is that legalization is the only way to limit access to minors. Dealers aren’t required to check ID. They don’t follow the rules; if they did, they wouldn’t be dealing in the first place.
Whether we think it is safer than alcohol and cigarettes or not, we don’t want any of those things in the hands of children. Medical use is one subject, recreational use is a completely different one.
His second point
The truth is that as long as there is a need or want, there will be an enterprising mind ready to make a profit catering to it. The choice we are left with is who is going to benefit from those profits? Will it be criminal elements or the public? Will the profits go to buying guns or building schools?
There is an old Native American tale that fits the situation perfectly. There are two wolves in every man, and in this analogy society as well. One is dangerous and filled with hate. The dangerous wolf is the one that we let feed on the profits of imprisoning people for a personal choice, the one that fuels militarized police and black market violence. It is the one that tears apart families and ruins futures.
The other wolf is filled with peace and only fights when it must. It is joy, compassion, love. It is the good that we could do with an open and honest legal system. It is the taxes and jobs, the medicine and joy we could have by accepting cannabis as a personal choice.
The legend says that the wolf who will win is the one we feed. Which one would you prefer?
What do you think of what Trudeau had to say? Is his argument for legalization one that even your conservative friends and family can get on board with? Tell us what you think on social media or in the comments below.