Speaking to high school students in Charlottetown on Tuesday, the front-runner for the Liberal Party leadership said he is a "huge supporter" of decriminalization, according to The Guardian. Trudeau also spoke about the failure of the war on drugs, the prospect of eventual legalization and the health effects of pot. Click over to The Guardian to read all the details.
Trudeau isn't revolutionizing the Liberal Party by coming out in favour of decriminalizing marijuana. At the party's convention in January, 77 per cent of delegates voted in favour of a future Liberal government legalizing the drug.
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"There's a lot of good arguments that say that pot is not as dangerous as tobacco or alcohol, and those are legalized. However, if you look at the big narrative of things, we're trying to get away and reduce the consumption of alcohol and reduce the consumption of tobacco and we're trying to encourage people to be healthier and to be more engaged with the world and one of the things that pot does is disconnects you a little bit from the world. It's not great for your health," Trudeau said in an interview with ProjectRedDot from the convention floor.
"So I don't know that legalizing it — although I totally understand the arguments around removing the criminal elements — I don't know that it's entirely consistent with the kind of society we're trying to build."
Trudeau has cast votes in the past that some view as anti-pot. In 2009, he voted with fellow Liberal MPs for Bill C-15, which would have imposed mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana-related offences (the legislation never became law).
Canada's patron saint of marijuana, Marc Emery, has been critical of Trudeau's votes on pot-related legislation. Emery is currently incarcerated in the United Sates for selling marijuana seeds.
Trudeau's reticence to fully embrace marijuana may be related to his own mother's experience with the drug. Margaret Trudeau said quitting pot was a key part of her recovery from mental illness, according to The Vancouver Sun.
Marijuana laws are in the spotlight now partly due to votes earlier this month in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington to legalize the drug for recreational use. Medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts.
The Conservative government has not reacted positively to the news. International Co-Operation Minister, and former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Julian Fantino said the government is concerned about drugs coming across the border and the money pot provides for organized crime in a recent interview on the U.S. votes with CBC's Power and Politics. Fantino stressed that while the Tories remain opposed to decriminalization or legalization, those found with small amounts of marijuana should not go to jail.
The federal government has changed a lot since 2003, when former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien openly said his government planned to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of pot, a plan that was quickly changed after the U.S. federal government expressed its stern disapproval.
Now it seems roles have been reversed, with the U.S. (at the state level, at least) driving the trend toward liberalization of drug laws even as Canada cracks down.
Public opinion in Canada, however, remains firmly in favour of decriminalizing small amounts of pot, with two-thirds of Canadians expressing their approval in a recent poll for Postmedia and Global TV.
Related on HuffPost:
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanasise/6847095796/" target="_hplink">Flickr: alana sise</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/billward/110338154/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Bill Ward's Brickpile</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gerbache/2260207829/" target="_hplink">Flickr: gerbache</a>
Also legalized possession by non-medical users. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dok1/520845832/" target="_hplink">Flickr: dok1</a>
Legalized for medical use.
District Of Columbia
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigberto/2770838680/" target="_hplink">Flickr: ~MVI~ (off to coron)</a>
Legalized for medical use. Flickr: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/7749689644/">Doug Kerr</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardo_mangual/6006230817/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Ricymar Fine Art Photography</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="www.flickr.com/photos/indywriter/2683524563/" target="_hplink">Flickr: indywriter</a>
Passed ballot initiative for legalized medical marijuana in 2012.
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayoticblue/213316452/" target="_hplink">Flickr: ckay</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/csbarnhill/2633187564/" target="_hplink">Flickr: csbarnhill</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/http2007/4699361533/" target="_hplink">Flickr: http2007</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulflannery/4021996652/" target="_hplink">Flickr: psflannery</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/everyskyline/3134662783/" target="_hplink">Flickr: michaelwhitney</a>
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-powell/2099638403/" target="_hplink">Flickr: digging90650</a>
Legalized for medical use. Also decriminalized possession of less than one ounce.
Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanalexander/6129117/" target="_hplink">Flickr: BryanAlexander</a>
Legalized for medical use. Also legalized possession by non-medical users. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rose_braverman/6924724331/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Rose Braverman</a>
$13.7 Billion Saved On Prohibition Enforcement Costs
The government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on prohibition enforcement costs and tax revenue by legalizing marijuana, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/economists-marijuana-legalization_n_1431840.html" target="_hplink">according to a paper endorsed by 300 economists</a>.
$500 Million In Tax Revenue For Washington State
It's estimated that Washington's legalization of marijuana could bring the state an<a href="http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/marijuana-legalization-decision-washington-colorado-oregon-can-pot-stimulate-the-economy" target="_hplink"> additional $500 million in tax revenue</a>, WPTV reports.
$60 Million Saved By Colorado Legalization
Colorado's pot legalization legislation, Amendment 64, is estimated to create <a href="http://csbj.com/2012/11/02/marijuana-economic-stimulant-or-just-a-can-of-worms/" target="_hplink">$60 million for the state in combined savings and additional tax revenue</a>, Colorado Springs Business Journal reports.
Legalization Could Reduce Marijuana Prices
Marijuana users could see substantial savings due to marijuana legalization, as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/legalizing-marijuana-washington-colorado_n_2088375.html?1352310298" target="_hplink">prices could fall by up to 100 times</a>, perhaps freeing up some cash to spend on other things.
Huge Prison Cost Savings
Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study, <a href="http://www.alternet.org/rights/47815/" target="_hplink">AlterNet reports</a>.
Marijuana Prohibition Costs Taxpayers $41.8 Billion A Year
Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/29/marijuana-laws-work-biz-cx_qh_1001pot.html" target="_hplink">Forbes</a> reports.
California Marijuana Crop Worth $14 Billion A Year
Marijuana growers account for <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884956,00.html" target="_hplink">$14 billion a year in sales in California</a>, making it the state's most valuable cash crop, TIME reports.
Illegal Marijuana A $36 Billion A Year Industry
It's estimated that <a href="http://madamenoire.com/106691/capitalizing-on-the-billion-dollar-marijuana-industry/" target="_hplink">illegal marijuana is a $36 billion industry</a> in the U.S., MadameNoire reports.
Dispensary Ads Boost Newspapers' Revenue
The <em>Sacramento News and Review</em> saw a big boost in ad revenue when it offered advertising space for more than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries, enabling the publication to hire three additional employees, <a href="http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/144285/2/Marijuana-ads-mean-big-money-for-weekly-newspaper" target="_hplink">according to News 10</a>.
Mendocino Zip Tie Program Raised $600,000
Mendocino County, California's zip tie program aimed at regulating medical marijuana growing by charging permits for each plant raised <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/medical-marijuana-license-mendocino_n_1193198.html" target="_hplink">$600,000 in revenue in for the Sheriff's department</a> in 2011.
Oakland Raised More Than $1 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue
The city of Oakland, California raised $1.3 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, 3 percent of the city's total business tax revenue, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a>.
Colorado Pulls In $5 Million From Pot Sales Tax
In 2011, Colorado pulled in $5 milllion in sales taxes from medical marijuana businesses, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a> reports.
Legal Marijuana Could Be $100 Billion Industry
Economist Stephen Easton estimated in 2010 that <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/legalize_mariju.html" target="_hplink">legal marijuana could be a $45 to $100 billion industry</a>, <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em> reports.
Each weGrow Center Creates 75 Jobs
When hydroponic marijuana growing supply chain weGrow opens a new store it <a href="http://aznow.biz/small-biz/wegrow-phoenix-opens-cultivates-opportunities-arizona)" target="_hplink">creates an estimated 75 jobs</a> indirectly, according to AZBusiness Magazine.