Canada’s new Liberal government is pushing its pot-friendly ideas on the rest of the world, and one government backbencher hopes the country could be a driving force in getting the United Nations to reconsider its treaties that ban the drug.
Ottawa might not have a choice, as it finds its plans to legalize marijuana at odds with three UN treaties on the matter.
“If Canada can do this right, and we can build up evidence to show that regulation of marijuana works in a way that prohibition doesn’t, we have an opportunity to lead by example.”
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, an MP for a riding in Toronto’s east end, argued alongside a senator from Mexico that all nations should pursue alternatives to imprisonment for people caught possessing marijuana for personal use.
“Resources better spent on healthcare are now being spent on incarceration, and incarceration alone is redirecting people away from healthcare,” Erskine-Smith told hundreds of government representatives from around the world on Tuesday. “We ought not to throw scotch-users in jail, and we ought not throw the book at marijuana users.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to “legalize, regulate, and restrict” access to marijuana for recreational use in Canada, though the government still hasn’t said exactly how or when legalization will take place.