07/25/2013 11:14 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Justin Trudeau's stand on legalizing pot slammed by federal Conservative

VANCOUVER - Justin Trudeau has gone one step further than he has previously in the marijuana debate by suggesting in B.C. this week the drug should be legalized, a stance that's drawn the ire of the Conservative government.

The issue moved to centre stage recently when pot activist Dana Larsen and his organization Sensible BC were given a green light to begin collecting names for a petition in September to decriminalize the drug.

Jodi Emery, the wife of Marc Emery, Canada's so-called Prince of Pot currently imprisoned in the U.S., also announced that her husband could soon be transferred to a Canadian prison.

The federal Liberal leader announced in Kelowna, B.C., on Tuesday that he wants to legalize, tax and regulate pot, and he repeated the comments on Thursday in Vancouver.

The announcement is not new for the party, which endorsed the drug's legalization and regulation in January 2012, but until recently Trudeau only supported decriminalization and was skeptical of legalization.

The Conservative government said in a statement that the drug is illegal because it is harmful, the government has no interest in legalizing pot and Trudeau lacks the judgment to be prime minister. (News 1130)