Justin Trudeau isn‚Äôt legalizing marijuana to please the people who smoke it.
‚ÄúPeople are right now breaking the law,‚ÄĚ the prime minister told the Toronto Star‚Äôs editorial board on Friday. He called the recent flood of new storefront dispensaries in cities like Toronto, ‚Äúfrustrating.‚ÄĚ
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a conference for elementary school teachers in Toronto on Friday.
The government is legalizing pot to prevent kids from accessing it, and to prevent criminal organizations from profiting off it, he said. ‚ÄúSo, I don‚Äôt know how much clearer we can be that we‚Äôre not legalizing marijuana to please recreational users.‚ÄĚ
Trudeau‚Äôs comments come as his government is set to introduce legislation regulating the sale of marijuana this spring. He‚Äôs faced pressure ‚ÄĒ most notably from the NDP ‚ÄĒ to decriminalize the drug, so that Canadians who smoke up in the meantime won‚Äôt be left with a criminal record.
‚ÄúPeople are right now breaking the law."
But Trudeau has consistently ruled that out, saying the move would give criminal groups a legal stream of revenue. "That‚Äôs not what anyone wants in this country,‚ÄĚ he told the House of Commons in April.
At this point, there‚Äôs no way for cops to stop the spread of dispensaries, the medical marijuana industry has said.
"If you close down a dispensary, somebody else is going to open up because there's a need that's not being addressed," the outgoing president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, Jamie Shaw, said in the spring. "Once those start opening, it becomes an avalanche. You can't keep up from an enforcement perspective."