Last month the Liberal Party dominated the elections in Canada, sweeping the Conservatives out of power for the first time in a decade. Their leader, the young and charismatic Justin Trudeau, made marijuana legalization one of the primary planks of his platform for governing. As the newly anointed Prime Minister, he is moving forward with that promise.
Last week Trudeau sent a letter to his Justice Minister, outlining her responsibilities, which include getting the country started down the road to legalization. The letter contains over a dozen bullet points dealing with law enforcement, the courts, sentencing reform and the repeal of many of the Conservative Party’s most onerous laws.
The sixth bullet point is as follows: “Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”
New Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is a former prosecutor who was endorsed by the group Sensible BC, a group that advocates for the legalization of cannabis.
There is no word on how long the process of legalization might take in Canada, but it certainly won’t be an overnight thing. The Liberal Party was elected to dismantle much of what the Conservative Party did, and that will take many years to do. Where legalization falls in all of that is anyone’s guess.
The good news is that legalization might be easier to get done than many of the other reforms the Liberals have to tackle. Recent polls show Canadians in favor of legalization, so for a young Prime Minister who wants to show he is getting things done early on with the mandate he’s been given, cannabis legalization might be an easy victory to secure.
Good luck to our neighbors to the north!