A few years ago, this conversation would have been unfathomable. Medicinal cannabis was struggling to gain legitimacy – the idea that one day soon the provincial liquor boards would be publicly vying for a piece of the proverbial pie would have been laughable.
The Prime Minister has done more to move this issue forward in the last three years than I ever thought possible. Since coming to office six months ago, he has appointed former-Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, responsible for spearheading the consultation process on the legalisation of marijuana. The ball is rolling.
There are many now who are eager to see progress come faster, or at bare minimum would like a transparent timeline. When will we see the decriminalisation begin? What are we going to do about all of these unregulated dispensaries popping up? What should our law enforcement agents be doing in the meantime?
I am going to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt here. The Minister of Justice has many significant and far more legally pressing issues in her portfolio. In order for this process to work well, we will need buy-in from the Provinces and the Cities. This cannot and should not be a top-down decision.
When asked what I think a reasonable timeline is, my best guess is within two years we will have a better idea of the structure that is to come. I think we can safely expect significant change and full legalisation within the Prime Minister’s first term – so four to five years.
I do hope that we see the fastest change come on the law & order front. I understand the federal government’s reticents to decriminalised without a legislative framework to replace the old laws. The damage being done to individuals and communities because of these outdated (and pretty racist…) minor possession laws are significant and we should act first and foremost to mitigate the loss of any more young lives to prison or worse because of something we have all identified is not worthy of criminal charges.