What Justin Trudeau’s Win Means for Marijuana Legalization

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate October 20, 2015

    legalization_pollLiberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau has defeated incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper to become Canada’s next Prime Minister. Trudeau’s win is expected to usher in a new wave of political priorities, with marijuana legalization nearing the top of the list.

    From the Liberal Party’s website:

    We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

    Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.

    Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.

    To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

    We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.

    We will create a federal/provincial/territorial task force, and with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement, will design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.

    In his quest to become Prime Minister, Trudeau actively campaigned on a platform that included taxing and regulating marijuana.

    “What is very clear right now is that Mr. Harper’s current approach is making marijuana too easy to access for our kids, and at the same time funding street crime, organized gangs and gun runners,” Trudeau said.

    The Liberal leader also said he would “work with the provinces to makes sure that the control and regulation of marijuana is done in a way that is responsible.” And he repeatedly stated, “”My focus is on making it more difficult for young people to access it.”

    While a concrete timeline has not been provided as to when Canadians can expect a legal and regulated marijuana market, Trudeau has promised to get to work on the changes “right away”.

    For more information please contact our NORML Canada chapter, here.

    30 responses to “What Justin Trudeau’s Win Means for Marijuana Legalization”

    1. Ben says:


      How is this transition of power,
      (which is seemingly, at least, partially due to their concepts re: cannabis),
      likely to be perceived by the candidates here in the States?

      Will our candidates see and respond to this?

    2. Miles says:

      OMG!!! We can only pray and hope that our next president has enough compassion and intelligence as Canada’s new leader. Of course, that is what most of us thought when we cast our votes for Mr. Obama… Wow, did he ever flip flop once in office… I often wonder if Prohibitionist Extrema Joe Biden had anything to do with that.

    3. pierre says:

      Tradeau -> Trudeau

    4. Evening Bud says:

      This is amazing news! I wasn’t even paying attention to what was happening north of our border. Canada has my full attention now. Amsterdam, hell, I’m already saving for my first trip to Montreal or Toronto or Vancouver!

      Hooray for Canada!!!

    5. Rocky Coast says:

      This is quite possibly the best news I’ve ever heard in global criminal justice reform.

      I sincerely hope Mr. Trudeau has already amassed a task force that is competent and will approach this issue with utmost care.

      The phrase “socially disruptive” used to describe the consequences of arresting good people for cannabis is absolutely on point.

      The world is watching, Canada. Make us proud.

      I’ve experienced two decades (half my life) of discrimination due to using cannabis to alleviate child-onset glaucoma… even though I live in California. I know that the only solution that will reduce the discrimination against people like me is full legalization.


    6. Dave Evans says:

      “these offenses” Using marijuana is not an offense! Christ, even people making it legal sound like bigots.

      Then there is this little nugget of bullshit: “create new, stronger laws to punish more severely who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence.” Why??? Are stoned drivers causing problems or is this just more bigotry???

    7. Cowtown says:

      I live in Canada and I say “it is about time!” – I hope Mr. Trudeau keeps his promise!

    8. Anonymous says:

      That’s what I’m talking aboot,eh?

    9. Matthew says:

      At least one college professor claims that this is merely an endorsement of fiscally liberal policies: the entire legalization factor still gets overlooked, in eggheads’ ivory towers…

    10. dk says:

      This is great news because it signals that the world is following the American lead in marijuana legalization. We can thank California for demonstrating that marijuana does, in fact, have medicinal qualities and then Colorado for having the guts to buck the trend and go legal in spite of federal threats. I live in a red state which will probably be the last to get on board (Tx) and at my age, I’ll probably never see the end of the war on weed here, but it feels good knowing that someday, people won’t have to fear the police knocking their door off of the hinges and shooting their beloved pets and family members or spending the rest of their life in prison over weed.