By Jonah Kondro
Well it looks like federal marijuana legislation will be upon us next spring. Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, made the announcement on April 20th. I can have so much fun with this. First, the most oblivious. The announcement was made on four-twenty: apparently an important date with the cannabis culture. Second, our health minister’s name will surely be turned into an internet meme. Jane Philpott. This is just handing the internet ammunition. Mary-Jane is phill’ed with pott. Well, that one isn’t too clever, but you can see what I’m getting after.
I would like to poke more fun at our health minister’s name in honour of four-twenty, but the legalization of weed is actually a pretty serious issue. It seems like all it takes is the feds to flip the switch and marijuana goes from illegal to legal. Boom. Just like that. One day smoking weed is frowned upon and the next day smoking weed is as innocent as playing on the swing set at the park.
The legalization of marijuana is a cop out from the war on drugs. What if the federal government legalized other criminal activities just because they weren’t winning the battle? What if say the feds decided that pedophilia would one day just become legal? Granted the legalization of weed and the heinous acts of pedophilia are two grossly different conversations; moreover, does our morality just switch over instantaneously when something goes from illegal to legal?
The prohibition of alcohol in the 20’s and early 30’s caused a bunch of problems in the U.S: bootlegging, criminal activity, etc. Repealing the ban on alcohol seemed to patch up a lot of the problems the prohibition created, but then the bad guys just looked to other criminal means—the illegal sale of narcotics. If the feds take away a huge source of revenue from the black market, what takes its place? I don’t imagine criminal organizations will passively accept revenue loss.
Let’s not kid ourselves. There is a lot of money to be made from the legalization of marijuana. For a while a bucket of chicken was worth more than a barrel of oil. The feds are simply looking to lay a pipeline into other revenue pools. There might not be a physical pot pipeline, but the taxes from each legal marijuana transaction will filter into the coffers at Parliament Hill.
Philpott has said the federal government will take a “comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate” approach to drugs; and it “must have a firm scientific foundation in science.” Why not use this same approach to repair the socio-economic disparities, the psychological well-being, and the economic downturn that Canadians are enduring? I don’t think the real problems are being addressed with the legalization of marijuana. The new legislation is just going to keep the cogs of capitalism turning.
Those greenhouses don’t look like they are too cheap to operate: lighting, water, and ventilation. All of the resources a grow-op needs are a strain on the climate. I don’t imagine the carbon foot print Canadian’s will leave will be any smaller after marihuana is legalized. This whole issue seems to be driven by backwards thinking.