Cardi­gan MP com­fort­able with mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion plans

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY STEVE SHAR­RATT THE GUARDIAN – Mar­i­juana banned in Canada un­der Lib­eral Prime Min­is­ter Macken­zie King with no de­bate in the House of Com­mons - Le Dain com­mis­sion found cannabis did not in­cite crime or vi­o­lence, pos­ses­sion penal­ties were “com­pletely u

He’s never even touched the stuff, but Cardi­gan MP Lawrence Ma­cAulay can ap­pre­ci­ate the irony of a new nick­name.

It might only be a foot­note in his­tory, but even Canada’s agri­cul­ture min­is­ter has to chuckle at the prospect of be­ing dubbed the min­is­ter of mar­i­juana.

Es­pe­cially, since he’s now at the helm of the fed­eral agri­cul­tural depart­ment that will one day over­see pot plan­ta­tions and li­censed grow ops, as well as col­lect scads of new tax rev­enue.

“It didn’t seem to be a big prob­lem for Cana­di­ans and so it will be le­gal­ized,’’ he said in an in­ter­view. “The process of le­gal­iza­tion is still be­ing worked out and un­til that hap­pens it’s tough for me to pro­vide de­tails.”

Mar­i­juana has been banned in Canada since 1923 when it was swept up in the drug panic of the 1920s and in­cluded with the ban­ning of opium and co­caine.

Ma­cAulay is no stranger to agri­cul­ture. Be­fore he en­tered pol­i­tics nearly 40 years ago, he was a potato farmer in Midgell, P.E.I.

“I’ve never used it, but I sup­pose it will be even­tu­ally sold as we do al­co­hol,’’ he said. “I’m not in­volved in any way yet, but be­ing an agri­cul­tural prod­uct, I sus­pect that one day we will see green­house op­er­a­tions and dis­tri­bu­tion meth­ods all ap­proved by govern­ment.”

In 1973, the fed­eral Le Dain com­mis­sion rec­om­mended the de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion and even the le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana in Canada. Forty-three years later, Lib­eral leader Justin Trudeau an­nounced in­ten­tions to le­gal­ize the drug as a 2015 Lib­eral elec­tion plat­form.

“Am I com­fort­able with that de­ci­sion?” of­fered Ma­cAulay from his Cardi­gan rid­ing of­fice. “Yes.”


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