As the American election slithers closer, Canadians are starting to shiver about the years to come. Canada is uneasy about the state of politics in America because of their proximity and relationship that runs far deeper than merely trade. However, Canadians have always believed in their own parliament system, or perhaps, they have believed no matter how frustrating theirs may get, it will never be as frustrating as the American one.
In 2014, Canada elected a new Prime Minister, ending a decade of Conservative leadership. As Justin Trudeau took the lead, a new era began in Canada. Trudeau belongs to the Liberal party who are among the biggest opposition to the Conservatives. To name a few of their priorities, the party promises to cut taxes on the middle class, reform the Canadian electoral system, and ban all political attack ads. One of these promises has garnered a significant reaction from the international community.
A topic of debate Mr. Trudeau has brought forth is one only legal in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. The legalization of marijuana has become a major discussion in Canada. Each year, on April 20th – otherwise known as 420 – it is impossible to walk through a metropolitan area, without being blocked by protesters in cannabis themed apparel, and most likely smoking some themselves. In fact, there has been so much anticipation for its legalization, that in Toronto, the police carried out hundreds of raids in cannabis stores – that weren’t just selling bongs (if you know what I mean).
This proposal of legalization has truly divided Canada. Either side, liberal and conservative, are adamant about their arguments and it is difficult to influence anyone otherwise. On the one hand, it has been proven that marijuana is a gateway drug, it is just as impairing as alcohol, and it damages the development of the brain when smoked at a young age. Undeniably, there will be repercussions if it is legalized: impaired driving might spike, kids may be smoking more than just marijuana, and so on.
However, Trudeau is convinced, and rightly so, that it isn’t just about being able to smoke a joint in public. The majority of Canadians who are charged for possession of marijuana are young adults who likely have never been arrested before. Just because of a small mistake they made in their youth, these people have now ruined their lives. In addition, Trudeau claims that cannabis legalization will create economic opportunity for Canadians. The government promises to tax and monitor the sale of cannabis so that the practice will not only be safe, but will boost the economy.
All of this talk about marijuana, is actually a discussion yet to come. As Trudeau’s candidacy putters along, he hasn’t made any big gesture to kick-start marijuana’s legalization. However, until then, half of Canada will continue to put on their weed sunglasses and socks, to protest on 420.
by Luise S.