Legalized pot takes money from gangs: Trudeau

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ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says regulating the sale of marijuana will protect young people and take money away from criminal gangs, but the government is drawing the line at pot when it comes to legalizing illicit drugs.

The federal government’s approach on marijuana has two goals, Trudeau said Thursday during a visit to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in the Victoria area.

“The first is to protect our kids. Right now we know that young people have easier access to marijuana than just about any other illicit substance. It’s easier to buy a joint for a teenager than it is to buy a bottle of beer. That’s not right,” he said.

“Secondly, we know that criminal organizations and street gangs are making billions of dollars off of the sale of marijuana. We feel that regulating it, controlling it will bring that revenue out of the pockets of criminals and put it into a system where we can both monitor, tax it and ensure that we are supporting people who are facing challenges related or unrelated to drug use.”

But the government doesn’t plan to go any further than legalizing marijuana in legislation he hopes will be introduced by this summer.

“We are not planning on including any other illicit substances in the move towards legalizing and controlling and regulating,” he said.

Trudeau is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with first responders and health-care workers on Friday in Vancouver on British Columbia’s opioid crisis, which killed 922 people last year.

A recent federal announcement giving $10 million to the provincial government to help fight overdose deaths is aimed at improving the response to the crisis, said Trudeau.

Although it is up to the province to decide how that money is spent, he says people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside told him in December more money was needed to keep safe consumption sites open longer for drug users in the inner-city neighbourhood.

“This is an issue that we are taking very seriously and we will continue to engage in,” said Trudeau, who met with Premier Christy Clark on Thursday evening in Vancouver.

Trudeau spent Thursday morning on the naval base, where he went on a five-kilometre run with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and military personnel, met with sailors and toured the facility.

Trudeau examined the recently modernized combat systems on board HMCS Ottawa, one of the Pacific fleet’s five frigate-class ships. He also visited the crew of HMCS Chicoutimi as the submarine was about to leave the base for a voyage.

Trudeau met privately with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps at city hall, where protesters gathered outside carrying signs that chided the government for dropping plans to reform the electoral system and its support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.

Helps said the meeting was the first time a prime minister had been at city hall since 1965, when Lester Pearson visited.

She said she received no firm commitments from Trudeau during the 30-minute meeting. They discussed green technology, the opioid crisis, the city’s cruise ship terminal and housing.

“The best outcome is I feel there’s the beginning of a relationship,” Helps said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Where are the priorities with this silver spoon fed wonder boy folks ??? Why can’t this character talk about the economy, pipelines, jobs for Canadians who actually want to work, stop catering to the special interest groups, start worrying about the middle class who pay the bulk of the taxes in this Country. Why doesn’t this guy get his priorities straight folks ??? Like wynne, this boy is all smoke & mirrors. Seriously !!!

    • You, Mr. Councillor, are using the pulpit provided to you as a member of local government to be a divisive internet “troll” who ignores facts about marijuana legalization (majority of Canadians support it [almost 7 of 10 as of last June]), pipelines (two approved in November) and middle-class tax cuts (1.5% tax rate decrease between $44,700 and $89,400). I find it unbecoming of an elected official to be actively trying to work against other Canadian governments while on the taxpayer payroll (so to speak) despite the fact that you, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Wynne all serve the same constituents – the people of Sault Ste. Marie.

      The State of Colorado made $200 million in tax revenue off of $1.3 billion in marijuana sales in 2016. You want help for the middle class? Canada is six times the size of Colorado! Some analysts project the marijuana market to reach $20 billion by 2021. Holding that 15% tax revenue that Colorado got in 2016, that’s $3 billion in tax revenue in 2021 before savings on policing, prosecution and incarceration. Who benefits? The taxpayers. Funny how legalizing and taxing marijuana helps real people.

      But you want smoke? When marijuana is legalized, plenty of people will help you there. Might mellow you out. It’ll help with your blood pressure too, son. We can check with you later to see if it helps with your Conservative-bubble-induced Alzheimer’s.

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