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If Marijuana Legalization Is On The Way In Canada, Why Are People Still Being Arrested?


jail prison daniel chong deaIn 2015 Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister of Canada, which was considered by many to be the top marijuana reform moment of the year. Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pro-marijuana legalization platform, and stated during his campaign that if he were elected, he would get to work on legalization as soon as he took office. Mr. Trudeau has taken some preliminary steps to do that, but the process is proving to be more difficult than many had expected. Meanwhile, people are still being arrested for marijuana in Canada, even though legalization is on the way. That is resulting in activists in Canada calling for no more arrests, with one of those activists being prominent Canadian reform activist Jodie Emery. Per News Talk 1010:

Pot activist Jodie Emery says it’s a concern and disappointing.

She says Trudeau seems to be dragging his heels on this and in the meantime prohibition is costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year and too many Canadians are being arrested for pot possession.

“Our movement is asking the Liberals to stop all marijuana arrests. We need a moratorium on marijuana arrests because money is being wasted going after people for pot and the longer we wait to really move forward on this file, the more lives will be negatively impacted.”

When voters approved marijuana legalization in Oregon, and before legalization took effect, some counties suspended marijuana enforcement. That’s what should happen in Canada too. When legalization is inevitable, marijuana prohibition becomes even more absurd (as if it wasn’t absurd enough). The Canadian government needs to put pressure on law enforcement to quit arresting people for marijuana in Canada. Canada is getting on the right side of history, and it’s beyond time that Canadian law enforcement accepted that fact.


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Johnny Green


  1. Us older guys that have never been busted had to be smart about it we didn’t have the luxury of flaunting it, back in them days you could do some serious time behind bars. I am asking people even after it’s legalized to be discreet and don’t be smoking it just anywhere and pissing people off. A small group off people acting like asses are going to ruin it for everyone. Laws that can be made can also be rescinded.

  2. He could simply withdraw from the treaties, claiming that they are antiquated and should be scrapped entirely and re-worked. And that would be accurate. He needs to stand up for his people and lead. I am hopeful that he will, but time will tell.

  3. Has Trudeau said he’s changed his mind on legalization, or are you just complaining because he hasn’t done it yet? I always figured it would take (best case) a year. Worst case is he doesn’t get it done before being voted out.

    Right now they’ve got to sort out the UN treaty issues (which shouldn’t have been a surprise). Law-abiding countries (of which Canada is a star member) need to follow the rules. Which means they and others need to change the UN rules. That’s going to take a while.

    Sure, Canada could say fuck you to the UN like Uruguay did, but Canada doesn’t play that way. Nor do most countries.

    That’s why I think the US will be limited to state (and not Federal) legalization for a very long time. The state laws don’t directly contravene the UN treaties, strangely enough.

  4. If you smoke in your car, then you are infinitely increasing your risk profile. Doesn’t matter if its legalized or not. In CO, WA, OR, if your car reeks of weed, you will be tested for DUI (blood test). The intoxication limit is ridiculously low. Also, a DUI conviction is worse for some people than an arrest for simple possession.

    Keep it in the woods or at home.

  5. It depends where you live and what race you are. Cops seriously want to bust some groups, but they don’t want to mess with other groups (who have expensive lawyers) unless they have no choice.

    The way I look at legalization: it gives everyone a right to be privileged when it comes to weed. That’s a terrific thing. But it doesn’t mean that you can smoke it in public any more than you can consume alcohol in public. But… also no less.

  6. I think Robert Wright makes a good point. I’ve been tokin’ since the 60’s, and I never got busted because I toke in remote areas of woods/mountains or in my house. I never had a problem dealing with cops.

    Now, living in Washington state after legalization — there is surprisingly little difference in how, when and where I light up. The only real difference for me is that I have many sources of good weed now — and I was pretty well hooked up before. Legal weed isn’t cheaper (the opposite) and quality is no better, but having a half dozen shops, each with with 30+ strains in stock, within a half hour drive is awesome. I love going through all my strains, deciding what one will be best tonight. In the bad old days, you either had weed or you didn’t. Most of us didn’t have a wide (if any) choice of strains.

    But if you just have to flaunt your weed and push the boundaries, then you get to be a pioneer. Good for you. Hope you like arrows. Just don’t turn the non-toking public against us by being assholes. You may see legalization as this wave that will wash away prohibition, but instead, I think you are skating on pretty thin ice, and you want to carefully make it to shore before you break through and fall in. Public sentiment could swing the other way, as it has in the past.

  7. And it would be most important if the US was the one to drive the effort to change the treaties. The main reason being, is that the US was the country who pushed the UN to make those treaties in the first place — to give cover for the US military’s use of force in Central and South America and elsewhere to attack drug producers.

  8. Kevin Seaholm Christy on

    True, I totally agree. I guess I was wrong about how these international treaties work, so I stand corrected. And yes, I believe you are right. No one should ever be treated badly because they choose to use cannabis over the deadly legal alternatives.

  9. …every one who grows or has ever grown their own needs to set aside one male & one female plant each cycle simply as seed providers. In the spring & early summer, take 10 seeds & add them to baseball-sized water balloons. Make 10 or 15 at a time. Give your friends 10 or 15 at a time. Let them sit & marinate 24 hours, (the seeds, not your friends…). Then, go on a hike, a dog walk, or a bike ride, and throw them in promising looking locations. The point isn’t to return & harvest these plants. The point is to make finding weed plants growing around your community so common that it isn’t news anymore. Remember, as in high school English class: Neatness & originality count for bonus points. Overgrow the government…

  10. Trudeau needs a kick in the balls. The man is endangering Canadians, by bringing in 50,000 Syrians. Just look at Germany. Now Germans are turning on their government at record numbers. Trudeau will end up doing the same thing before we see Legalized Cannabis in Canada.

    I can promise that Trudeau will mess up Canada, but don’t worry you will get Cannabis legalized soon. In the end I love Cannabis though I refuse to support people like Trudeau. Trudeau brings in deadly people from Syria in the name of politics, over the safety of Canadians wealth & health. How the hell can you trust a person like this?

  11. I don’t drink and Your opinion about me does not matter to me because your probably one of the dumb asses that got caught and wants a pardon I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that.

  12. The good news is that the legalization conversation is ramping up quite quickly on the international stage. In the states Bernie Sanders ( who has legalization on his platform ) is gaining popularity and polls show a narrowing of the gap between him and Hillary Clinton. Mexico will be discussing it soon as will the UN.

  13. A little backwards and screwy don’t’ you think? Arresting someone for one drug when it is the other drug that is the problem. Your theory would work it they were arresting them for alcohol use.

  14. We must push for the right to grow your own. Only then will it be truly legal and readily accessible for all adults that want or need it. This plant is of great value to all who would choose to enjoy it. It is a great stress reliever and a good alternative to alcohol. We are only now really beginning to realize the enormous medical potential overall. The leaves are full of cannabinoids and many other beneficial components that could be used for juicing. This plant was put on this planet for the benefit of mankind and there should be no government restrictions placed on our ability to access it as easily as possible. That is our basic, constitutional, human right.

  15. Why are people still being arrested? Because Canada has it’s fair share of assholes too. I estimate it to be about 30% . The far right mean spirited, hypocritical way of thinking. In other words, bullies.

  16. …What will take political balls by Trudeau, Obama, and the next US president, is admitting on the world stage that the international drug policies that we are framed in by, are outdated and now in need of serious revisions.
    The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (as amended by the 1972 Protocol), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 no longer reflect the realities of our modern world, nor the attitudes & beliefs of progressive thinking people.

  17. Trudeau never said that the person who wrote the story said it, he was insinuating that Trudeau was using it for an excuse when in reality it came from a note from Trudeau’s legal adviser’s which some how mysteriously ended up in a reporters hand’s don’t believe every you hear from so called news people.

  18. People who get busted for pot are breaking the law as it stands now. These people getting busted are the stupidest of the stupid perhaps they need to smoke a little less and clear their brains keep it low key and don’t be sparking up a joint in public places. Stay home and smoke don’t do things that are going to bring the cops around like piss your neighbor off with loud music day and night until they call the cops which is a bad idea when your house stinks like weed . I have heard people commenting on how when its legal there going to light up in front of the police station the smoking laws will apply to weed too and then they will be whining because they got a fine for that.. Act like an adult be mindful of other peoples right not to smell your weed. Be discreet or you will piss people off and set the weed movement back for 20 more years. Some weed smokers seem to think they have the right to be obnoxious and get in other peoples faces and that’s what lands you in jail and gets you a criminal record. We all know it’s illegal so don’t get caught.

  19. The Single Convention Treaties’ prohibition of cannabis is nowhere near as all encompassing as people try to insist.

    Show of hands…who here has actually read the SCTs other than myself? Anyway, Uruguay is in compliance.

    What the heck is the UN going to do if Canada says it won’t comply? Send in troops? No, the UN will get very, very angry. Then they will send a letter to Canada telling them that they’re very, very angry. The UN is nothing other than a paper tiger

  20. disqus_XlYouOiadt on

    There were a couple of articles appearing to quote him. Why do you say they were wrong?

  21. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Way back in 1961, 55 years ago, Harry Anslinger, chief promoter of the U.S, federal government’s “marihuana” prohibition, reportedly played an instrumental role in crafting the United Nations Single Convention drugs treaty. Today, the whole world still enforces the same completely fraudulent “marihuana” policy devised by one delusional American man.

  22. The US between 2000 and 2008 broke 16 UN treaties. Countries violate these treaties all the time. All canada has to do is tell the UN they are denouncing and abandoning the 3 drug related treaties in 6 months. When that 6 months comes up, they leave the treaty and immediately re-enter the treaty with a referendum against cannabis prohibition. That or canada simply determines cannabis prohibition to be unconstitutional. Or Canada can say we will no longer be involved with the drug treaties, we are a sovereign nation and we are making the choice to end cannabis prohibition because it doesn’t prevent people from using, incarcerates people for a personal health choice, is expensive to enforce, and simply does not improve society.

  23. Those poor, mistreated cops!
    I thought they were supposed to serve, and protect the citizens. I didn’t realize that they needed marijuana laws in order to protect themselves from all the pot smoking jerks in the world. How sad it would be if they could not destroy the lives of everyone they dislike. You have convinced me to support prohibition! Police need this valuable “F. U.” tool in their arsenal of defense against jerks!

  24. Police don’t WANT to bust you for weed? So if you are nice they will let it slide and if you are arrested, then it is obviously the fault of your attitude? I am very, very dubious about that. Some cops don’t want to do drug arrests but that’s what they are getting paid to do, some cops arrest you because they need the overtime, some cops arrest you because they get a kick from ruining your life. Otherwise, give some evidence about the 800,000 annual cannabis arrests in the US being mostly about “attitude.” There is not the slightest evidence of what you say except that your denial that having a joint in your position, as inconsequential as it seems, can land you in significant trouble. Somehow, it has nothing to do with “The System.” Even still, 90%++ of all arrests are for simple possession, not growing too many plants or having a pound.

  25. Most drug drug charges laid today would still be an offense under the newer Marijuana laws.. You cant ask the government to let someone go for growing 20 plants when the idea future law may only permits 6.. How about if you get caught with a pound and the new law allows 6 ounces.. Don’t cry because you got busted with a few grams of pot and a cop charged you for it… Chances are, you were a jerk to the cop and that was his way to say F.u. They don’t want to bust you for weed,, But if your going to be a drunk about it.. you ll get what you deserve….

  26. Cops love the easy arrests that marijuana laws provide. Even under prohibition, cops have always had the option of not aggressively enforcing the law. Most arrests are made during traffic stops when police use the situation to justify vehicle searches. In all of these traffic stops the cop could simply ignore the scent of cannabis, write the ticket, and go back on patrol. Police make the choice to aggressively target users, and turn every traffic stop into an “investigation”.

  27. There is no excuse for treating all who use cannabis as slaves, as if they have no human rights

  28. Kevin Seaholm Christy on

    Yeah, it’s definitely hard to trust politicians as their biggest concern generally is reelection. However, I actually think Trudeau does want to legalize cannabis but is just a bit intimidated as he’s a younger politician and is the president of one of the G-7 nations. Basically, if (hopefully when) Canada legalizes, it will be a major shock on the global stage, that is, it will hold much larger significance to have a nation of the G-7 and a nation with over 30 plus million citizens have legal access to cannabis than the smaller nation of Uruguay. It will be a big tipping point and will make it much harder for the US to continue enforcing it’s anti-cannabis agenda. Basically, once laws are made (especially international anti-narcotics laws), it’s a big headache to change them. Of course, there’s lots of money to be lost for people currently employed in federal and international agencies for drug control as cannabis is the most used ‘illegal drug’ on earth by far. In terms of weight, just to give an example, something like 90% of ‘drugs’ being moved across the Mexican-American border is weed. Also, think about all the competitors of cannabis: drug testing (let’s face it, drug testing is weed testing as it’s the only thing that stays in your system forever), pharmaceuticals, law enforcement agencies that capitalize off of cannabis’s prohibition, alcohol and tobacco companies, and so on. Also, keep in mind that governments are generally a good decade or so behind in public opinion. That’s at least what we were taught in political science. OK, I wrote way too much, just very passionate about the topic!

  29. Is Trudeau for real? Or is he just another lying cop-out politician? Stand up for your people, Mr. Trudeau, and tell the bullies at the UN to get bent. You know, “because it’s 2016.” That is how your people will come to respect you.

  30. Sounds awfully familiar to another slimy liberal politician aka Barry Obama. Trudeau said what he needed to say in order to get the votes. However, once in office, it’s “tough shit”. Just like when Barry said he would end the raids on MMJ dispensaries and once in office, there were more raids than under Bush. And if Trudeau had no idea there would be push-back or opposition to attempts at legalizing, then he really was clueless to begin with as were those who bought his campaign promises.

  31. ” There was an article where it Trudeau was quoted as saying: “I Want to Legalize Weed but They Won’t Let Me’.” That was not a ‘quote’. Trudeau didn’t say that. It was a headline, and it was wrong.

  32. Unfortunately it sounds like the same old shit, “I will legalize cannabis”….next statement after being elected….”They won’t let me”. Typical politician bullshit and LIES just to get elected.

    Trudeau didn’t have a chance until he proclaimed he was pro cannabis.

    Now it’s “they won’t let me”…… Bullshit.

    What a load of crap, the international treaties don’t mean shit, countries “promised” to keep all drugs illegal but that’s all these treaties are is a ‘promise’.

    They(treaties) have no legal bearing, no horrible ramifications if you break the treaty,. Did Uruguay feel any “horrible” fall out from legalizing????


    All the treaty says is that if you are no longer part of the treaty then the international community(of all the other treaty members) will not help you with the war on drugs.

    GREAT, stop the war!

    Grow a set Trudeau. “They” are not important.

    I think the “they” that won’t let him legalize are actually his balls.

  33. Closet Warrior on

    I hope Kevin is right about Trudeau and not the world having reservations but running on such a controversial platform- surely he learned of all the international push-back. Uruguay is the Prime Example of the Finger to the world and they’re no Super Power! Looks like we as reformists may have to face the fact Trudeau may be another Lame Duck promising pipe dreams for a High seat in government at the expense of its citizens. I really hope I’m wrong but HOW MANY POLITICIANS DO YOU TRUST???

  34. Kevin Seaholm Christy on

    I think it’s international conventions preventing Trudeau from acting. There was an article where it Trudeau was quoted as saying: “I Want to Legalize Weed but They Won’t Let Me’. I think he was referring to international drug treaties (which are incredibly outdated and not in line with modern public opinion). However, I am confused as Uruguay’s former president Mujica went ahead and legalized cannabis anyway. Regardless, Canada legalizing cannabis would definitely be a step in the right direction. I’ve always been perplexed as to why one can legally kill themselves with alcohol and tobacco yet be prohibited from healing oneself with cannabis. Hopefully Trudeau and his administration can get the ball rolling so that they can legalize common sense. That’s all I’ve got to say.

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