Wacky Baccy Eh! Cannabis Now Legal in Canada

by Simon 49 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • OneEyedJoe

    There's also the question of past convictions. Should people who were convicted of drug offences be pardoned? Personally, I don't think they did. If you broke the laws as they stand, you are guilty and pay the price decided, regardless if they laws later change. If you're given a speeding ticket and the speed limit it later increased then unlucky - that was the limit at the time. If the alcohol limit is lowered, should people who previously passed a higher limit be given convictions in hindsight?

    I'm not really firmly made up one way or the other on this, but I don't think it's quite as simple as "it was the law at the time so you don't get a pass once it's changed." I think in this case it's a little bit fuzzy. There's a spectrum to be seen here and I think we ought to consider where we are along this spectrum before making blanket decisions.

    Going a bit in reverse order - I think we can dismiss out of hand your comparison to ex-post-facto enforcement of laws. If you truly can't see the distinction between taking away someone's freedom because you decided after the fact what they did was wrong vs granting someone freedom because you decided after the fact what they did wasn't so bad, then maybe that warrants further conversation, but I hope it's a rather obvious difference - even before getting into a conversation about what sorts of powers you want to give the government (ex-post-facto laws being, in my mind, quite dangerous vs amnesty being a very good thing in certain cases).

    Your analogy to a speeding ticket is an interesting one, and I think it actually illustrates quite well the fuzziness of which I spoke. Unfortunately I can't find a reference as it was years ago, but I do recall a particular case in which the a speeding ticket was thrown out because the speed limit was found to be unjust/illegal. Apparently there was some law in the jurisdiction that speed limits on certain roads were to be set based on the results of an independent study to determine what was safe, and in one case the speed limits were set significantly lower than that. The speed limits were later raised and speeding tickets that were challenged on that basis were thrown out. Obviously this is a very special case, and it has limited applicability to other law changes, but it illustrates the point that I'm getting to.

    The question about what to do with people who were arrested/fined/etc on the basis of a law that is subsequently changed, I think, hinges on why the law was later changed. If, in the above example, the speed limit was changed not because the road had always been safe to drive on at the higher speed but because the road was resurfaced and improved signage was installed in order to improve high-speed safety, you'd likely come to different results (or, at the very least, the same result with differing strength of conviction). A more extreme example along the same spectrum - where I live currently there have historically been anti-sodomy laws that were used to arrest homosexual men. These laws were later overturned and the people convicted under them exonerated. This is a little different again because the laws were overturned by the judicial branch, but in my view it is more important the reason why they were overturned than by whom - they were found to be unjust laws. If a legislature decides that a law is unjust before the judiciary gets around to doing so, should we not exonerate those imprisoned on the basis of the unjust law?

    In the case of the legalization of marijuana, it could be argued that its prohibition is quite different from a speed limit. Speed limits are in place, ostensibly, to further the interests of public safety. The prohibition of marijuana is in place....I don't know why it's in place, really - because drugs are bad? No, that doesn't work...there's tons of legal drugs out there, alcohol for one being by most/all measures more dangerous than marijuana. Saying its illegal "because illegal drugs are bad" is circular. It's not any more a threat to public safety than alcohol. As far as I can tell marijuana was initially made illegal due to puritanical religious reasoning and to satisfy corporate interests of the day. If I'm not missing some other justification, I think this makes it an unjust law. If its repeal was on the basis of this reasoning, I think it makes sense to enact some kind of amnesty for non-violent drug offenders. Perhaps, given the nature of the drug market and the unsavory elements at work, full amnesty might be inappropriate, but maybe reduced sentences or probation or something like that would be.

    That's all before looking at this from a practical standpoint. Canada is, from what I understand, far better off than the US on this point, but coming at it as someone in the US - if we could get non-violent drug offenders out of prison in a controlled and deliberate manner and end prohibition (especially on marijuana) it would likely be a very large net positive. I'm not sure what the situation in Canada is, but at the very least it seems like it'd be worthwhile to free any convicted of non-violent marijuana related crimes if only so you can stop paying to house them.

    Anyway, as I said, I haven't really fully made up my mind, at least on the general moral argument. As you say, they did violate the law as it stood at the time, and in many cases it's still a good thing to carry on the punishment of those that break the law even if the law they broke is later changed. My point is that it can't be covered with a blanket statement, and there are other considerations that should be taken onboard. As a practical matter, I think, at the very least, eliminating the need to take on further expense in punishing people that committed a victimless crime is generally a good idea. There's lots of ways that individual cases would likely become complicated though - for example: an otherwise non-violent offender that got additional charges for being less than enthusiastic to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Such a person is definitely stupid, but depending on the circumstances I'm not sure if I'd be willing to say that they need continued status as a criminal. Another situation - people that were arrested on marijuana charges and were caught while driving. Typically, though, in those cases (at least here) I think people get hit with multiple charges (possession as well as DUI - driving under the influence can include more than alcohol) so perhaps simply dropping the charges that would no longer apply under the new law would be sufficient.

    Sheesh I'm long-winded. TL;DR - I don't think the idea of extending amnesty to those who broke laws that have since been repealed can be objected to as a rule, in my mind the best approach is a case-by-case consideration of law, why it was repealed, and perhaps of individual cases of its application.

    Oh and congrats to America's hat on beating us to having some common sense around prohibition!

  • LoveUniHateExams

    especially on youth or healthcare overall as well as road safety - can Canadian citizens smoke cannabis and drive?

    Is there a legal limit, similar to alcohol? Or people who drive mustn't have cannabis in their system at all? Or you can puff as much as you like and get behind the wheel? Or ...

  • Simon

    re: the auto-pardoning, I think it misses the point that there are still lots of laws that apply to cannabis. You cannot sell or use it in many places, there are limits to how much you can possess. Many of the people who were convicted of offences would still have been guilty of those offences even now that the laws have shifted. There shouldn't be an automatic and blanket pardon and re-litigating cases would be expensive and impractical.

    I think you abide by the laws in place when they were the laws. If you didn't, you are guilty. If you want the laws changed, you campaign for it and try to convince people to do so. But until they change, violating them is a choice and you should pay the price for breaking the law.

    Calling things "victimless crimes" ignores the reality of illegal drugs and what they often enable and the other crimes that go along with them.

  • label licker
    label licker

    Yep! Trudeau now has the reputation as the worlds biggest drug dealer

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    I hear that orders can even be made via the telephone - by pressing the hash key! :)

  • Simon

    Boom-tish! LOL

    Just saw on the news that the lines grew (thousands of people) and the first sales have been made. First customer was called "Ned Flanders", hideley ho good neighbour!

  • OrphanCrow

    From what I understand about the pardons being offered by Ralph et al (to check sources, google Ralph Goodale and pardons for pot), the pardons will be offered only to those who were convicted of simple possession. Which was 30 grams (one ounce) and less. It will not extend to those with more serious violations like trafficking.

    As far as impaired driving laws go, this will take a while to sort out. As it stands, there is theoretically a zero tolerance - 2 nanograms of THC showing up in your blood will put you over the limit. Which is ridiculous. You can acquire that by just being around someone who smokes pot. And, THC will show up in that amount of someone who is a regular user for at least a month. That means that if you smoke it for a sleep disorder and consume a joint before going to bed at night, you won't be able to drive to work in the morning. Even though all the effects have worn off (I have found that 3 hours is the max that the effects last...or somewhere around there).

    So that will change.

    The laws will change as the regulations restrict and impact the profit margins of the major shareholders in the cannabis industry. They have their eye$ on that 8 million dollar prize that the black market generated.

    I haven't looked into the names of those who have heavy investments in the green machine, but I have had conversations with the guys who run the dispensary where I buy medical cannabis. One of them was telling me that the major shareholder in one of the big cannabis production/distribution companies (I really need to research this sometime...) was the finance adviser to the government at the time the cannabis bill was being passed through Senate.

    I am sitting back and watching - I have waited 47 years for this day. Lol! I was 14 years old in 1971 and fresh out of the JWs when I smoked my first joint. Hell, Armageddon was coming and I only had a few more years left to live anyways. I liked the devil's lettuce from the first time I tried it and I am a supporter of both medical and recreational use. The journey has been awesome and this is quite the experience to watch the next step unfold. All the way from the 70s "Mexican ditch weed" to hydroponically grown medical pot.

    And one more thing...in all my years of being around many, many women and hearing their stories of abuse and such, I have never once, not once, heard a woman say "He smoked a joint and then became violent" but, I have heard (more times than I like) "He started drinking and all hell broke loose. I thought he was going to kill me."

    Light up Canada.

    Today I am legal.

  • MeanMrMustard


    Is it heavily taxed? Mildly? .... or dare I contemplate, lightly to none at all?!

  • Finkelstein

    The only concern I have being a Canadian myself is the open capability of users to smoke pot in public places such as walking down street or waiting for a bus, even smoking at home outside, pot smoke isn't pleasant and carries a ways, so there be new annoyances to deal with.

    As for people who drive while high, I think there were more people driving high before these new laws have been set and when its known of the high penalties for doing so get laid down such as driving drunk there will be fewer.

    As for eliminating the black market , particularly here in BC , I dont think so if the sellers here sell their pot at a lower price point than the retail stores, people will still buy their pot from them.

    They can sell it in other areas/countries where its still illegal, such as many areas in the US.

    Its all kind of a experiment right now, in a couple of years the facts will present themselves to this open legalization..

  • Jehalapeno

    Should the gangs during US prohibition of Alcohol been pardoned after prohibition was lifted?

    Of course not. You're participating in criminal activity.

    If you parked somewhere and it was a no parking zone, and then later it was changed to a legal parking spot, should you get a refund on your ticket? Of course not.

    You broke the law as it stood.

    If you illegally claimed a deduction on taxes one year and got thrown in jail, and then the next year it was a legal deduction, should you be released form jail? Of course not. You still committed tax evasion.

    If Alcohol and Tobacco are legal, it makes no sense to ban marijuana. All the reasons for banning marijuana can easily be applied to Tobacco or Alcohol.

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