Canada’s new prime minister plans to legalize marijuana ‘right away’

Emily Gray Brosious

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Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party swept the election on a platform that includes legalizing marijuana

Canada’s Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, won a decisive victory in the country’s general election Monday night, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule, as reported by the BBC.

Liberals took 184 seats to clinch a majority government from Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.

While Harper’s Conservative government has consistently opposed marijuana legalization, Trudeau’s Liberal Party ran on a platform that includes a mandate to legalize marijuana. And with the Liberal win, it looks like America’s northern neighbor will most likely become the first North American country to legalize marijuana.

Monday’s sweeping Liberal victory shows how quickly marijuana politics are changing. Voter turnout was higher than it’s been in almost two decades, according to The Huffington Post, and some of that might be due to the Liberal marijuana agenda.

Conservatives ran campaign ads pushing strongly against marijuana legalization, recycling familiar drug-war claims that legalization is dangerous for children and so forth. Meanwhile, the Liberal Party platform promised to legalize and regulate marijuana in the country.

On Monday night, Canadians showed, without a doubt, that the public majority isn’t buying into the old anti-marijuana rhetoric anymore.

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See the Liberal Party’s platform points to legalize marijuana

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Global implications of Canadian legalization

While U.S. states like Colorado, Washington and Oregon were among the very first places to legalize and regulate marijuana, it appears Canada will soon be the first North American country to fully legalize.

“If that happens, it’s not only good news for Canadians who will be able to purchase marijuana from legal and regulated storefronts instead of being treated like criminals. It’s also likely to give reform efforts in the U.S. a bit of a boost — not that we really needed it, but a little friendly competition is always a good motivator,” Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said in an email statement.

Angell says Canadian legalization could signal “all kinds of interesting implications” for marijuana policy in the United States and across the world, including the possibility that America’s next president will address international marijuana trade issues with Canada’s leader.

“It’s no longer a pipe dream to imagine a day when consumers and growers in Washington State and British Columbia, for example, could be ordering each other’s wares on the Internet for cross-border shipment,” Angell said.

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Legalization won’t happen overnight though

The Liberals said they will create a task force seeking input from public health officials, substance abuse experts and law enforcement to create a new system to regulate and tax marijuana sales. Then a bill will need to be crafted and passed in Ottawa, according to StopTheDrugWar.org.

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