Canada Not Interested in Legalizing Marijuana, Would Like to Give Cops the Power to Ticket Marijuana Users Instead



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Canada's marijuana laws may have at some point been considered relatively lax, but as legalization is adopted in places like Colorado and Washington and Uruguay, it's looking increasingly not so. Canada's opposition leader, the Liberal Justin Trudeau, appears open to legalization, and wants Canada to look toward U.S. states that have legalized for lessons, while Canada's Conservative government slammed him for daring to answer a question about marijuana legalization asked by during a high school Q&A. Nevertheless, the Conservative government, too, appears open to revising the criminal code on marijuana. In what may be becoming a kind of "Canadian approach," it suggests imposing fines on the use of marijuana, to give cops an option less harsh than arrest, but better than nothing. Via the Canadian Press:

The Conservative government is seriously considering looser marijuana laws that would allow police to ticket anyone caught with small amounts of pot instead of laying charges, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday.

"We're not talking about decriminalization or legalization," MacKay said prior to the weekly Conservative caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.

"The Criminal Code would still be available to police, but we would look at options that would … allow police to ticket those types of offences."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is open to such an approach, he added.

It's a transparent attempt at creating a revenue stream out of people accused of nothing more than enjoying the consumption of a substance of their choice. Last summer, Canada's police chiefs called for just such a solution, ticketing, in complaining that they were being forced to do all the work involved with an arrest or "turn a blind eye."

Could the U.S. legalize marijuana before Canada? It could, if the chief executive grows a pair, and an interest.