Liberal MP John Aldag

Langley’s two MPs split on pot legalization

Liberal Member of Parliament John Aldag and Conservative Mark Warawa are polar opposites on the issue of legalizing marijuana.

Liberals versus Conservatives: Just like the divide that exists between these two federal political parties, so too does the crevasse between Langley MPs John Aldag and Mark Warawa, and their personal views on legalization of marijuana in Canada.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government will be introducing legislation in the next few weeks that will legalize marijuana by Canada Day 2018. And while the federal government will change this law with almost unprecedented speed, it will be left up to the provinces/territories and municipalities to work out logistics of how it will be grown and distributed.

Aldag is the Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal MP, and he’s “anxious” to see such a law move forward.

“I’m frankly very excited,” he told the Langley Advance. “It’s the right move for the country.”

He’s convinced it will make it safer, especially for Canada’s young people, who he said register the highest pot consumption out of any countries in the Western World.

He believes taking control of growing and distributing marijuana will better keep it out of the hands of under-aged youth, and govern what it contains.

The 53-year-old former Parks Canada employee, who smells pot farm exhaust when walking his dog at night, said all too often he’s told nightmare stories of marijuana being mixed with other illicit drugs. By governing the sale, buyers will better know exactly what they’re consuming.

Another bonus, Aldag said: “It will take billions of dollars out of the hands of organized crime in our country.”

Aldag said he doesn’t expect there will be similar access to marijuana across the country, and determining how that will look in each province, territory, city and village will also be a significant undertaking.

He agrees it is an “ambitious agenda” having the law in place by July 1, 2018, but Aldag feels it is doable, and hopes to discuss the issue with both Langley Township and Langley City councils as well as his provincial counterparts in the next few weeks.

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CAPTION: Conservative MP Mark Warawa is opposed to the Liberals plan to legalize marijuana by Canada Day 2018.

Warawa, who is the Conservative MP for Langley-Aldergrove, is appalled by both the move to legalize marijuana, and the speed with which the Liberals are trying to “force it” through the Senate and the House of Commons.

That process, he said, typically takes at least a couple years and said Trudeau’s “strong arm” tactics to push it through faster are simply politically motivated since it was one of his campaign promises.

Contrary to Aldag, the 66-year-old Warawa fears this will put larger quantities of the drug in the hands of young people. And he claims that numerous discussions with addicts, law enforcement, and other experts support his belief that marijuana serves as a gateway drug to other deadly substances.

He’s convinced nothing good can come from legalizing it, for the recreational users, those who use it for medical purposes, or society as a whole.

“If this is not handled very carefully,” Warawa said, “it could ruin a lot of lives.”