In drug-dabbling days of yore, there was one narcotic that I knew from the get-go could be my undoing: heroin.
With the possible exception of sex, there’s no euphoric feeling on Earth so sweet as a smack rush. And while I don’t accept that dipping into any drug for an experimental adventure – not crack, not methamphetamines, not LSD – will automatically predispose an individual toward addiction and a life of ruin, which is what the drug interdiction racket would have you believe, there’s no denying the siren song of heroin nirvana as a seductive compulsion.
Three times and out, I decided. Also, needles are creepy, even when injecting subcutaneously rather than into a vein.
So, no, I don’t necessarily view illicit drugs as an absolute and unequivocal scourge, though I am well aware of the harm caused to chronic partakers and society at large, especially where demand transects with supply – the criminality of trafficking, the inefficacy of gazillions spent on law enforcement.
But of all the substances available from your corner dealer, or your office connection, the most dimwitting, the dummy-down rope-a-dope champion is cannabis.
Not a single habitual user I’ve ever known has been enhanced, augmented even slightly in personality or as good company, by weed. You may think you’re being clever and witty, but you’re merely imbecilic. Mellow, no doubt, perhaps de-stressed – or, if consumed for medicinal purposes, cushioned against pain and depression, thus perfectly acceptable and already legal for some 14,000 registered users in Canada.
Otherwise, it is the stupid of highs.
I trust Justin Trudeau will give dope a wide berth because he’s already the political embodiment of stupid, a callow fellow who has parlayed genetic pedigree – and not much else – into public office, the putative saviour of the federal Liberal party. Cute but silly, Liberal lite on policy and vision rather than the transformative figure plumped by Grits yearning for a return to preeminence.
Four years ago, as a rookie MP, Trudeau voted in favour of Bill C-15, which was the first attempt by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to establish mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. After twice being punted on the parliamentary order paper, the Tories finally passed the law in 2012 as part of an omnibus crime bill.
Last November, speaking to students in Charlottetown, Trudeau indicated his wavering thought process, at that point promoting decriminalization but not legalization.
As of two weeks ago, the flipflop is complete. Unprompted, Trudeau told a Liberal rally in Kelowna he now supports legalizing pot possession, regulating it and taxing it.
All couched in disapproval, of course. Decriminalization, he said, is “a great first step to remove criminal penalties now associated with pot possession,” but “only legalization would keep it out of the hands of children.”
Trudeau added: “In many cases, it’s more difficult for young people to get their hands on cigarettes than it is to get their hands on weed.”
I’m having difficulty following the logic here. Health Canada has moved heaven and earth to make smoking a tacitly illegal activity, while the government continues to rake in huge profits from grossly overtaxing the product. If nicotine is so destructive of health, surely marijuana is no better. The zealous crusade against smoking can hardly be countenanced while simultaneously promoting easier access to cannabis. Any government that would assume this posture is blowing out of both sides of its mouth.
Ah, but there would be rigid restrictions, Trudeau contends. “Once we regulate it and require ID to be shown before anybody can buy it, for proof of age, we actually are putting a better control on it. Nobody can argue the current approach on drugs is working. We have to look at something else.”
What the cigarette tax laws have done is create a ruthless black market for tobacco products, exploited by everyone from First Nations people on reserves to, as I recall, notorious schoolgirl sex killer Paul Bernardo, who was in the business of cigarette smuggling before he turned his attention to abducting and murdering teenagers.
Youth looking to get their hands on dope would be no more dissuaded by qualifying government regulations than they are now.
Trudeau claims his thinking about dope has “evolved” – but maybe he should fire up a reefer and ponder it some more. Thus far he has not offered a single cogent thought about how legalization would work. If it becomes legal to buy, then what about massive grow-ops? Might they become the pot version of Holland Marsh, where consumers could buy weed in bulk as easily as they now buy vegetables? What about driving whilst high? Could police request a motorist suspected of drug impairment to blow into a marijuana version of the breathalyzer? How do you quantify levels of dope impairment?
What I see in that liberalized future is a humongous regulatory bureaucracy, an entire new government beadledom devoted to navigating the distribution and law enforcement consequences. It would make the gun registration shamble look like a fart in a mitten. Two billion bucks would hardly cover it. Last year, when delegates to the Liberal convention voted in favour of legalizing dope, Trudeau was opposed. “It’s not your mother’s pot,” he said, sounding very much like a Tory nag.
He’s crooning a different tune these days, obviously looking to buck up Liberal support among young people, and mindful of polls that show Canadians are increasingly cool with legalizing pot. The NDP, who have long advocated decriminalization, nailed the change of heart for what it is: political pandering.
Now, if Trudeau really wanted to be bold – triggering an enlightened conversation – he should float the idea of decriminalizing, not legalizing, all illegal drugs, from cannabis to heroin. Addiction would be best addressed as a health issue and not a matter for law enforcement. Too much money has been spent in a vain attempt to dismantle criminal drug empires while targeting the ( relatively ) nickel ‘n’ dime end of the operation. On the street, lives are lost every week in turf battles among those who view trafficking as entrepreneurship with guns.
Trudeau advocates making government the pusher. Can you imagine the magnitude of that muddle?
Bogart that joint strategy, Justin. Canada already has way too much stupid.