Well, last Wednesday was quite a day in Canada – as thousands of Canadians demonstrated that the new Liberal Government’s United Nations’ announcement of its plans to introduce some form of legalization of marijuana in 2017 was quite clearly an as yet unplanned strategy.
The “demonstrators”also showed that, legal or not, pot is currently readily available to virtually any member of the public, young or old and that it can be sold (at certain times) flagrantly in front of the police…to minors or anyone.
Thousands upon thousands (an estimated 25,000 in Vancouver alone) celebrated 4/20 day across Canada by lighting up or otherwise consuming so many forms of marijuana that the extent of the demonstrations showed there are already unlimited sources of the drug that legislated control and distribution is obviously going to be an extremely difficult feat for any government in the immediate future.
In Vancouver, a day of fine weather at the beach, became hazy with the second-hand smoke from countless pot cigarettes, pipes and other devices while police, medics and
lifeguards stood by idly and ineffectively doing nothing whatsoever to interfere with the public law-breaking taking place.
Similar scenes were occurring in scores of locations across Canada, including Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and even on the grounds of Parliament Hill where hundreds wandered around on the grass showing marijuana possession is “easy as pie.”
All in all, as I see it, the bottom line was whether there is any possible way that the government can ensure, as promised, to keep marijuana out of the hands of children and criminal and street gangs.
As all of this was going on from coast to coast, Liberal Health Minister Jane Philpott was out of the country, in New York to announce to the United Nations that Canada will introduce legislation in the spring of next year to begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana.
Philpott said Canada’s plan on pot “challenges the status quo in many countries,” but is convinced it is the best way to protect youth while enhancing public safety. Her comments offered few or no real details of how the Liberals will introduce its legislation.
Philpott added the Canadian government’s approach will be “rooted in scientific evidence designed to address the current consequences of drug possession and drug crimes.” Whatever that means.
That day, in Question Period in the House Prime Minister Trudeau bafflegabbed his way around a demand by NDP’s Tom Mulcair that he immediately announce an end to mandatory prison sentences for pot possession.
Down at the beach, near English Bay, in Vancouver, the city’s 4/20 promoters staged a massive, open-air marijuana market and protest rally, perhaps the largest ever seen in Canada. Dozens of eager “entrepreneurs,” who seemed much better prepared than the health minster, erected all kinds of booths in a nearby parking lot, a designated rent-free zone. There they showed how they would like distribution to be handled.
These “dealers,” for want of a better word, strolled around the area, selling single or multiple joints and cookies to anyone with the cash to buy. Signs had been posted asking vendors not to sell to minors, but if anyone surveyed the young people lighting up all over the beach, the signs were clearly ignored as high schoolers (obviously skipping school to enjoy the event) lounged around the beach keeping a wary eye of the police – who simply seemed content to observe what was occurring.
The City of Vancouver did not sanction the event as officials always looked the other way. I would guess taxpayers were footing healthy overtime bills for police, firefighters and paramedics and unknowingly cared as little as the city, the provincial government or the belated feds.
This was a fait accompli for all participants. The laws governing the public use of marijuana were completely ignored.
To me, the whole event was one police confrontation away from the situation that developed a couple of years ago after the Vancouver Canucks were bounced from the Stanley Cup final by the Boston Bruins and chaos ensued that took several years to settle in court.
It could have turned violent if the police had ventured into the crowds to prevent selling marijuana to minors.
The question left to viewers on TV or onlookers at the site was how the government can possibly devise a means of keeping the sale of marijuana out of private hands and protect underage Canadians to access. The courts appear to have made it clear canadians can feel free to “grow their own” – not that they already are doing so.
So I see this as already out of control — and government and the law will have a hell of a time taking it back.
Marijuana, as a recreational drug is illegal in Canada today. Laws however, don’t appear to apply any more, at least not in British Columbia or in most big cities across Canada.
Marijuana simply is readily available for purchase all over Vancouver in city-regulated stores.