By Nick Sibilla
Over the weekend, the Liberal Party of Canada endorsed the legalization of marijuana. Over 77 percent of party members voted in favor of a non-binding resolution supporting legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana. This is a step forward from its previous support for decriminalization (i.e., removing criminal penalties for cannabis consumers, but keeping buying and selling illegal). The resolution also endorses amnesty for all those arrested on non-violent marijuana possession charges.
Interim party leader Bob Rae explained the resolution:
If you want to be part of a group of free-thinking, innovative, thoughtful, pragmatic, hopeful, positive, happy people, come and join the Liberal party...And after the resolution on marijuana today, it's going to be a group of even happier people in the Liberal party.
Legalizing marijuana would also help restore a modicum of fiscal sanity to Canada. According to the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, legal ganja could generate over $2 billion in tax revenue. Meanwhile, the Canadian government spends over $400 million in enforcing this war on weed. Currently, over 50,000 Canadians are arrested each year for owning cannabis, with another 20,000 imprisoned for production and trafficking.
In addition, drug policy reform is becoming more popular in the Great White North. Two-thirds of all Canadians now support either legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. Surprisingly, the age-demographic most in favor aren't youth voters, but baby boomers between 55-64.
Unfortunately for Canadian cannabis consumers, the Liberal Party has fallen on hard times. It is now the third-largest party in Canada, having suffered an immense electoral setback in last year's parliamentary elections. (The Liberals entered that election with 77 seats. Now they have 34.)