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Justin Trudeau’s finest hour

It wouldn’t kill us to give credit where credit’s due:

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational cannabis, reports the BBC.

I expect crime to fall – and the sky not to.

I also expect that some Canadians have already got over-excited and done some stupid things over the last couple of days, and more will follow.

One of the many bad effects of prohibition of cannabis and related drugs was that it led users to wrongly deduce that because these substances are not nearly as harmful as was claimed in order to justify the ban on them, then they must not be harmful at all. One of the saddest experiences of my stint as a teacher was to watch a colleague use soft drugs to slowly paddle himself towards dementia in his mid-thirties.

Prohibition of drugs did not stop him getting them, did it? When something does not work it is good to stop doing it as America did in 1933 and Canada has now. Let us rejoice at an outburst of sanity.

33 comments to Justin Trudeau’s finest hour

  • bobby b

    ” . . . researchers haven’t been able to definitively connect marijuana use with more frequent real-world crashes.”

    Then the researchers aren’t trying very hard.

    I can tell you without question that, under that particular influence, I am far more likely to have my attention drift away and be overtaken by events. I learned long ago not to smoke and drive (er, now it would be vape and drive) after some near-misses.

  • Confused Old Misfit

    And so idiot Canadians, the world’s “woke” nationality, poster children for liberalism, lead an increasingly decadent west toward mind numbing, slobbering oblivion.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well … yes, as with booze you can ruin your own life, perhaps irremediably. As with booze, if you drive while under the influence you may cause terrible damage and death to other people.

    But. We still allow people to drink, and if they drive drunk and cause crashes we hold them accountable. In fact if they drive under the influence, and are caught, they still are punished even though they didn’t in fact cause any harm to anyone else.

    We tried prior restraint — Prohibition — and it didn’t work.

    One of the basic principles of liberty is that there is to be the absolute minimum of prior restraint. And if I’m not mistaken, this principle goes clear back to Aristotle.

    (Same situation for the ownership, keeping, and bearing of arms, by the way.)

    The better way to deal this is to foster a social climate in which irresponsible behavior in general is strongly discouraged, and irresponsible use of booze and drugs in particular.

    But there is risk when you lengthen the chain binding a person by as much as an inch. (And if you keep everybody tightly bound, that has its own downside.) The question is always, how much is it right to infringe on the liberty of people, on their right of self-determination, in the name of avoiding risk; even knowing that allowing this liberty will sometimes result in disaster?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Just to be clear. Along with the lack of prior restraint, Aristotle held that to have been under the influence does not excuse damage caused while in that state. A feller can get drunk, but if he does and then drives his Hummer into a schoolbusful of nuns, the fact that he was drunk is no excuse.


    It also occurs to me that we might alleviate an awful lot of social ills if we simply made extra-marital sex illegal.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . lead an increasingly decadent west toward mind numbing, slobbering oblivion.”

    Most stop well short of “mind numbing, slobbering oblivion.” Usually.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A feller can get drunk, but if he does and then drives his Hummer into a schoolbusful of nuns, the fact that he was drunk is no excuse.

    First of all, i note with displeasure the sexist language.
    But let it pass. The fact is that, in Japan, it used to be the case that drunkenness was indeed a mitigating circumstance in case of car accidents!
    And in fact, if you take a view of punishment as based on moral responsibility, as opposed to deterrence, then the punishment for running over somebody while seriously drunk, should be no more than the punishment for driving while seriously drunk.

    It also occurs to me that we might alleviate an awful lot of social ills if we simply made extra-marital sex illegal.

    Making the cheater liable for damages by the cheated, seems to me more appropriate.

  • My principal concern lies in the “Everything not forbidden is compulsory” area. Could pot legalisation be linked to legal guarantees that it not be hate speech to mock the stoned, not illegal to refuse to bake pot cakes, not impossible to fire a worker for reeling in under the influence, etc.? The PC are always on the lookout for another mascot. By precedent, this will not become an issue until after Trudeau’s time (unless he lasts even longer than his father) but I think it would more likely prove his foulest hour than his finest, if it ever did.

  • Mr Ed

    I would have some sympathy with the Canadian change were it not just another way of undermining the West, which I am sure as eggs it is. One way to increase my sympathy would be to ensure that anyone who takes such drugs and becomes impaired is wholly and permanently disqualified from any medical care, welfare benefits etc. and if found to be driving under the influence of drugs and impaired, can be shot like a dangerous animal, for taking drugs is rejecting reason, as it is reason that separates us from the beast (and the socialist).

  • JadedLibertarian

    Mr Ed, is drinking alcohol, coffee or smoking cigarettes “rejecting reason”? I believe it was Chris Rock who said the only reason cannabis is illegal and booze isn’t is that the Kennedys ran booze. The state doesn’t mind you taking drugs, providing they are their drugs.

    Not all cannabis is the same. Prior to mass prohibition, most cannabis had a CBD:THC ratio close to 1:1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say cannabis with this ratio or higher of CBD is completely harmless and definitely has health benefits. I use a legal CBD extract to control migraines and it definitely works. It doesn’t get you high, since it is THC that does that.

    Due to prohibition dealers were interested in getting more bang for the buck into their product and started breeding and selling strains with CBD:THC ratios of 1:20 and beyond. Given that CBD buffers the negative effects of THC while retaining its benefits (it is a powerful painkiller for example), this is quite bad. Without this buffering influence THC causes paranoia, psychosis and even brain damage in the long term. It’s nasty stuff.

    I’m all for legalising cannabis, but for off prescription use I’d probably have mandated it had to have at least as much CBD as THC, or more. Had they done that, I’d have predicted precisely zero adverse effects from legalisation.

  • Mr Ed


    is drinking alcohol, coffee or smoking cigarettes “rejecting reason”?

    Yes, it is a flight to chemical solutions. However, those do not generally produce the long-term damage that certain types of cannabis can, as you relate. All medications are essentially poisons in appropriate doses. The psychoactive and ultimately damaging consequences of cannabis use for third parties are what I am concerned about. The Canadian plan has the disadvantage of keeping the means of loading the costs of damaged minds and bodies onto the taxpayers, which is why I would be against it. It is, as I say, an invitation to the rejection of reason and nothing more. I don’t mind people rejecting reason, so long as they alone bear the consequences.

  • JadedLibertarian

    Mr Ed,
    In that case you’d be opposed to any libertarian societal reforms until nationalised healthcare and indeed all forms of social collectivism are abolished. Only once a totally atomistic society had been achieved would you support moves to increase liberty.

  • Stephen K

    “Only once a totally atomistic society had been achieved”
    You say that like it’s a bad thing 😉
    Back on topic… This is very good news, combined with similar moves in several US states. There is a risk that the police resources formerly wasted on cannabis (no double entendre intended) will go on other drugs, rather than shutting down the War on Drugs entirely; but this is probably a move in the right direction. Let us go boldly forward to the ’50s – the 1850s, when law-abiding citizens could walk into the chemist and ask for a pint of laudanum.

  • Ellen

    As distracted driving goes, I have better/worse things to worry about than cannabis. I’m a writer. I’m married to a writer. It can be very dangerous for us to have a conversation in traffic.

  • Niozen

    Yes, it’s always difficult to determine how much governmen control over our own minds is the right amount of government control, and at which arbitrary point the state should begin to exert violence upon the individual.

    Well, for some at least.

  • Mr Ed


    In that case you’d be opposed to any libertarian societal reforms until nationalised healthcare and indeed all forms of social collectivism are abolished. Only once a totally atomistic society had been achieved would you support moves to increase liberty.

    No, I take things as they come, and make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of this reform is not to increase liberty, but rather to increase degeneracy. The effect of the reform is to increase liberty, but with the intention that costs arise, which may become apparent in due course.

    Of course, just because it is legal doesn’t mean that people will do it.

  • bobby b

    “It can be very dangerous for us to have a conversation in traffic.”


    Sure, but at least your explanation to the police will involve a conversation with someone who was actually there.

  • Slartibartfarst

    “Justin Trudeau’s finest hour”

    I put the ❓ because – well, is it really? I just wonder.

    Some people (not me, you understand) might say that the statement was made tongue-in-cheek with the implicit suggestion that it was evidence of Trudeau The Great and Powerful hiding behind the green curtain and masquerading as the Great Leader taking on some of the central and singularly serious matters of State and affecting Canadian society today, diverting attention away from an inability to address what must surely be more important and pressing issues to address, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

    However, at the risk of boring the reader to death, what I would comment on is the parallels that could be drawn from history.
    History tells us [taken from britannica.com/topic/opium-trade] that the Opium trade in China was the trafficking that developed in the 18th and 19th centuries CE when Western countries – mostly Great Britain – exported opium grown cheaply in India and sold it to China at great profit, with the express purpose of that profit funding the imbalance of trade with China (who had little demand for British products) – to meet the tremendous demand in Europe for Chinese tea, silks, and porcelain pottery.
    Though opium was first introduced to China by Turkish and Arab traders in the late 6th or early 7th century, it was generally taken orally as a drug to relieve tension and pain and was used in limited quantities until the 17th century, at which point the British effectively cynically and deliberately enslaved the Chinese nation for commercial gain, against the prohibition of opium by the Chinese emperor(s) – who had seen what the drug was doing to their people. It brought those dynasties down and Britain thus set the precedent, essentially inventing the business model for today’s criminalised drug dealers and merchants. Against these criminals, there is a “War on drugs” in the US today, which yet begs the question as to why there is not a “war on drug merchants”. Oh wait, the US apparently are the merchants… 🙄
    However, Britain wisely did not enslave itself as they could see what opium enslavement had done in destroying China’s economy and economic productivity.
    Concurrent in this history was that tobacco apparently contributed as a desensitising enabler or gateway drug, as, by the 17th century the practice of smoking tobacco spread from North America to China, and opium smoking soon became acceptable and popular throughout the country. Opium addiction thus increased in China, and the necessary opium importations to meet demand grew rapidly.
    It was Harold Macmillan (British prime minister 1957 – 1963) who reportedly famously and cynically observed in Cabinet, when advised of the medical reports that established the harmful health effects/risks of tobacco smoking, that it would be foolish to ban the stuff outright as it generated a healthy tax revenue, so increasing the tax – and revenues – would seem to be a fiscally prudent way to proceed. That could have been disingenuously designed to seemingly encourage people to wean themselves off (ha-ha) the addictive nicotine drug – so, no drop in tax revenue likely there, eh? (Wink, wink.)
    Now we know – or we’ve apparently been told by many and separate independent medical research reports since the ’60s – that:

    “Smoking kills”

    – right? And “secondary smoking” too – right?
    But smoking “recreational cannabis” (and, by extension, “secondary smoking” too) is now deemed OK – right? Oh, but wait, wasn’t smoking those evil cigarettes “recreational” too ❓
    My, but this script is confuzzling.
    Hmm. There could be method in this. Given likely falling gross revenues from tobacco consumption, maybe Trudeau sees relaxing the law for cannabis usage as being merely a fiscally prudent way to proceed, but with the added benefit that it could be likely to garner extra votes from gullible NPCs in both/several camps.
    I mean, heck, it’s not as if there’s any harm intended – if smoking or taking drugs didn’t kill them, something else would anyway – right? Surely the fiscally prudent recommendation would be that it’s much better to control and tax the smokers’/drug-users’ inadvertently expedited life-exit strategy than to leave it to chance and risk not getting all that potential tax revenue and it’d keep smokers and drug-users happy and keep the national health services in a growth business, so it’d be win-win all round. ➡ AmIright?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Julie, let’s also outlaw Homosexuality! That will solve everything!!! (And also outlaw killing journalists in consulates. The perfect world is almost here!)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Nicholas, I can’t think of anything that it wouldn’t help if we banned it.

    That includes breathing (because CO2 emissions).

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    But how will plants survive without CO2? Or should we just ban plants?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, we won’t need to ban plants. Once we’re gone, plants will depend exclusively on Gaia to make The Decision That is Right for Them; and Gaia loves plants. Even the ones that alter the environment. Besides, Gaia doesn’t want us banning anything except all human activities that result in CO2 emissions, including exhalation.

  • Runcie Balspune

    One of the aspects of legalization is access to the drug by children (whatever age you determine that to be), when the drug is criminalised then the supplier does not really care how old the customer is, they’ll be prosecuted just the same. As with tobacco and alcohol, legalisation brings the onus back on to the supplier, which might have some benefits.

    I’m not saying legal drug supply laws are perfect, I am sure some children can get hold of alcohol and tobacco, but in general most suppliers are reluctant to sell to children because it is they who will get the punishment, some can even get a little overzealous on this.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Slartibartfarst: the current policy of legalization, taxation, banning in workplaces, and general sneering at smokers, has led to a substantial decrease in tobacco use; which leads me to think that the same approach should be applied to cannabis.

    That’s assuming that you want to decrease cannabis use, of course.

  • llamas

    @ Julie near Chicago – well, to be fair, it is a truth, universally accepted, that Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle . . . . .

    I’ll get my coat.



  • Julie near Chicago

    llamas, No doubt; but you’ll note that he specified a schoolbusful of nuns. Different had it been Dimocrats. 😆

  • Adam Maas

    It’s worth noting that Legalization is the sole Liberal Party position that can be directly attributed to Justin Trudeau, pretty much everything else came up from the party leadership (Trudeau is a non-entity in internal party politics, he’s PM because of his last name and willingness to be the mouthpiece for Gerald Butts, a Liberal kingmaker who knows he can’t win elections himself).

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I was just reading that Canada is running out of weed! Those crafty pollies! They pretend to legalise something, knowing that people will have to go cold turkey, because they’ll soon overuse it!

  • Confused Old Misfit

    The stupidity of the legalization idiocy is in the governments assumption that it will be able to control the effects thereof through provincial licensing of use and distribution and/or punitive taxation and that the unpleasant effects will be small enough to be ignored.

  • llamas

    Confused Old Misfit – perhaps I’m missing the thrust of your message.

    While I agree that the process of legalization shows many of the typical symptoms of government stupidity (how could it not?), I’m confused by which ‘effects’ you say they are trying (but will fail) to control, and which ‘unpleasant effects’ will be ignored, and what negative outcomes you expect will result from those two failures?

    I’m spending a lot of time in Colorado these days, where MJ is more-or-less completely-legal under State law, with restrictions not dissimilar to the restrictions on alcohol – no sales or supplying to minors, restricted public consumption, sales outlets locally-regulated, etc – and the general consensus seems to be that the results have been close to 100% positive. No real effects on other crime rates, positive tax revenues (we can debate whether that’s a good thing or not, naturally) and a lot fewer people are being rousted and their lives ruined over their victimless consumption of a relatively-benign substance.

    Wot I is missing?



  • Paul Marks

    I despise Mr Justin Trudeau – but, in this case, he has (I think) made the correct decision and should be praised.

    There are two real alternatives in relation to cannabis and other drugs – one would be Singapore (supported by Peter Hitchens) – arrest and punish all drug users, not just drug sellers drug BUYERS (all of them). There is no chance (none) of this happening – people would explode if their sons and daughters were all dragged off to prison.

    The alternative is legalisation. For the present situation, having laws but not really enforcing them, is just a horrible mess – the worst of both worlds. The streets are awash with drugs – yet the drugs are in the hands of criminal gangs (for they are illegal) and what the criminal gangs really want to do is not sell people cannabis but to sell people HEROIN – and they are selling heroin, all over the place.

    Whilst buying cannabis means that people have to go to criminals, the mess will continue. With the criminal gangs that people go to buy cannabis trying to selling them heroin.

  • Confused Old Misfit

    As the Chinese are reputed to have said: “To soon to tell” llamas.
    However, government will find a way to screw things up. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-cannabis-store-customer-service-1.4876193
    My fundamental objection is to government involvement in any phase of the use of “attitude adjustment” substances. You use what you want, when you want. You accept the consequences thereof up to and including your death. You get NO assistance from government, none whatsoever under any condition. You have complete freedom to continue moderate use or to escalate that use to any level of depravity.
    Provided always that your activity does not impact on any other persons quiet enjoyment of their life.