Sometime in the next year or two, marijuana will be legal for personal consumption in Canada.
The federal government is currently working on the exact laws around this, but all indications so far point to it being produced, sold, and taxed much like alcohol, i.e. not sold to kids, sold through special outlets, taxed heavily.
But the federal Liberals have, as yet, not touched the drug laws already on the books. Which is wasting the time and money of police forces and courts across the country.
Men and woman are still charged with simple possession, or for running small grow operations in sheds and garages.
This is surreal for the low-level drug offenders. The law of the land is about to change, but they’re stuck on the wrong side of a legislative process. The same behaviour that is criminal now will be a mere personal choice, or even considered entrepreneurial by 2018!
It also wastes the money and time of the police and courts.
The police have enough to do without worrying about processing pot as evidence or filling out the paperwork for simple possession charges.
Yet they’re sworn to uphold the law. Although there is some looking the other way – our courts might collapse if police launched a blitz on casual pot users – they can’t look away from a dozen plants.
So, while the Liberals slowly work their way through the ramifications of the new law, we send people to court to pick up criminal records and police spend time investigating and testifying.
What we’re likely to see now is a year or so of foot dragging. Anyone charged in the next 18 months has no incentive to go before a judge – after all, they won’t be lawbreakers, soon enough.