This weekend, a rattled, angry Trudeau attempted to defend his government’s legalization process. Like anyone with a murky agenda, he packed a lot of shaky assumptions into a few words, hoping, I suppose, to send a message that is simple and clear. But the message is tangled, and meaning, clear as mud. Here are his words.
1. My government’s promise to legalize ‘marijuana’ is about two things: protecting kids from easy access, and eliminating the “criminal element.”
2. That is possible, but only with our new framework.
3. The framework’s not done yet.
4. Until it’s done, the current prohibition stands.
5. P.S., we are not here to please the recreational users.
6. So, how much clearer can we be?
Much clearer, I submit. To bring reality to Trudeau’s message, let us begin by adding what remains unsaid. The message should read something like this.
1. My government’s promise to legalize cannabis is NOT about:
A) the suffering of 30,000 Canadians arrested since the day I took office.
B) the patients for whom dispensaries are a lifeline.
C) the children taken away from parents in the name of prohibition.
D) the Canadians who have risked their freedom to bring us legalization.
E) the quality of cannabis, and cannabis products.
F) the fact that cannabis is a fine plant with multiple, good uses.
E) anything remotely positive.
That stuff, A to E? It’s all about pleasing recreational users. That is to say, ‘pleasing recreational users’ is the bin into which I’ve tossed all of the above concerns. It’s my bin, so I can put in what I please. And it’s a morally bad bin, to boot. We’re not about any of these things. Moreover, I will continue to call cannabis ‘marijuana,’ despite the fact, as I well know, that ‘marijuana’ is a racist term, and needs to be retired, no matter what it says in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
2. “We can only get legalization right with MY new regulatory framework.” What do I mean?
I have heard that there is a vibrant, multi-billion dollar cannabis industry in BC, with over 13,000 employees; that there are about over 20,000 Canadian MMAR growers, who supply cannabis to about 350 dispensaries across the country; and that almost none of these represents “the criminal element.” I know that in some Canadian cities, dispensaries are tolerated by police and local governments, and are in the process of receiving city licenses. I know that BC has long been on the forefront of public health approaches to substances that are currently illegal. So, practically speaking, “only in MY new regulatory framework” means,:
A) For the time being, dispensaries in some cities will remain open. Their police are not co-operating with us. Also, some of the legacy cannabis industry will continue to thrive. We have done our best. We have ordered the industry to stop breathing until further notice. It will not listen. I hear it breathing even now. And its members refuse to buy the extra bags of kitty litter we’ve ordered for the shops this Christmas. They’ve even shunned our festive, seasonal packaging. But damn it, we can squelch dispensaries and their suppliers in other cities, especially Toronto, where my friend and supporter, Premier Kathleen Wynne, is busy making deals with pharmacies and liquor stores. And we can provide the Licensed Producers, favourites of Bill Blair, my leading light, with more time to colonize the cannabis world. Go LPs!
B) As it may be years before a pro cannabis law is passed, brace yourselves. We are coming to arrest you. But only in some cities, of course. We hate to be consistent. It takes away from our mystique, which takes away from our power. We think of ourselves as Wizards of Oz, unreformed, of course.
3. Until the plan is complete, the current prohibition stands.
This means, I have it on good authority that there is much expertise amongst activists, and in the gray economy, on all aspects of cannabis: medical, scientific, historical, and spiritual. But my plan calls for the scrapping the entire culture, knowledge and all. You can call it cultural cleansing, or lending a hand to the LPs, whose public shares grow stronger by the day, or siphoning the money out of BC and into Ontario, or indeed, anything you like. However phrased, we the Liberal Party of Canada are set on a course make our dirty, I mean, duty, clean, er, I mean, clear. Or, as I said earlier, how much cleaner, I mean, clearer, can we be?
4. We are not here to please recreational users.
I mean, we might please them, but that will be a mere side effect of our new system, scrubbed of legacy growers, processors, medicine makers, scholars, spiritualists, and all other such riff raff. Pleasure, good pleasure, that is, is a side effect, not of cannabis, but of industrial cleansing. You may not be convinced today, but wait until you see and experience the cannabis we have in store for you.
On a final note, I hear that all of you cannabis fans, medical and otherwise, like thick, concentrated oils. We like them too. That’s why we plan to ship five times the usual volume of oil through Vancouver harbour, scattering the fair province of BC, Lotus Land to some, with our pipelines. What’s that? You wouldn’t mind us shipping cannabis oil? Good luck. It’s illegal. And if I have anything to do with it, it will remain so. Meanwhile wait for the task force. Any day now, they will have a treat for you. Oh, and rouse your lawyers. You’ll need them.