Important questions on legalization the Liberals apparently have no answers to


National Post, 20 April 2017

Is it perhaps possible that cannabis reform is being driven by something of a guilty conscience from a certain privileged class? Fabulously rich kids who graduate, say from McGill before spending a few winters snowboarding in Whistler, don’t have to worry about blotting their copybook with a pot conviction. The police don’t make trouble for them.

The federal government slipped its marijuana bill into the House the day before Good Friday, with almost no one around to ask questions. The government itself had few answers to the more pressing issues, leaving most important matters to be determined later, by other levels of government. So in the same spirit, herewith various question that do not appear to have adequate answers.

What is the social good that marijuana legalization is intended to achieve? The arguments for legalization — removing the burden on the criminal justice system, not impeding future career prospects with a youthful criminal conviction, removing the scope for organized crime — are negative in nature, getting rid of various supposed bad things. But what is the good that we can expect from making marijuana more readily available? Is there any? Can we expect greater labour productivity, higher educational achievement, enhanced physical fitness, a lower carbon footprint, a better equalization system?

From the armed forces to universities to big banks to telcos, mental health initiatives are near ubiquitous. It is widely acknowledged that pot-smoking by teenagers compromises mental health for a significant proportion of them. That will certainly increase with easier marijuana access. Is that just the price we pay for the ambiguous and unspecified benefits?

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