Can Trudeau Successfully Legalize Marijuana, or Does He Just Have High Hopes?

by justin.bell on September 9, 2013 - 8:46pm

The legalization of marijuana has been an extremely controversial topic for many, many years now. A lot of people would say it’s barely a drug, having many less negative effects than alcohol, and no reported cases of death. However, others would argue that, saying it is a gateway to more serious and addicting drugs. Political leader Justin Trudeau made a statement in August saying that he was not only for decriminalization of marijuana, but also for the legalization and taxation of it. Peter Loewen wrote about this in his article “He’s Riding High Now, but Trudeau’s Position on Pot has its Downsides.” for The Ottawa Citizen. Loewens states that there are both positive and negative ways to view Trudeaus comments. In one case, a large portion of the public opinion could be in his favor because it makes him relatable and distinguishes himself from the Prime Minister. While on the other hand, making his side on the matter publically known may have cost him votes, and that people don’t really care whether or not the prime minister wants to legalize marijuana, making it irrelevant.

            People who are in favor of legalization of marijuana generally have more relative ethical values. These people believe in the sanctity of making your own decisions. Meaning that if someone wants to get high, it should be their right to smoke marijuana, and not someone else’s decision. As much as 40% of youth today is in favor of legalization because they want to be able to make the decision themselves whether or not marijuana is for them (Loewes). That is why the statement by Trudeau may have been advantageous, because a large number of people find this kind of attitude relatable.

            The people who oppose this kind of way of thinking, and believe marijuana is a drug and should be treated as such have must more absolute ethical values. They believe that because marijuana is illegal, there is a reason for it, and there should be no exceptions to its illegality. Because of this kind of reasoning, Trudeau’s statement could potentially backfire, with people saying they don’t want someone who is openly irresponsible about what he does in his spare time. A lot of people wouldn’t vote for a pot smoking Prime Minister.

The last issue was that the legalization of marijuana is not a high priority for this country, and that even though his comment invoked mass media attention, it still isn’t a topic that is going to get voters to the polls.

            In my personal opinion, anyone who wants to smoke marijuana should be free to do so. And if smoking weed isn’t really your thing, don’t be quick to judge someone who occasionally enjoys it. As it was stated earlier, it’s less harmful than alcohol. Everyone is different and everyone enjoys different things, and we should be free to express that without constant fear of getting caught or being judged by our peers. I believe that Justin Trudeau is trying to close a void between a lot of people, and clearly many people are speaking out in support. However, will making this kind of media stunt be enough to someday make him Prime Minister? Or even one day lead to the legalization of marijuana?

Works Cited

Loewen, Peter. "He's Riding High Now, but Trudeau's Position on Pot has its Downsides." The Ottawa CitizenAug 31 2013. ProQuest. Web. 9 Sep. 2013 .

Comments

I agree that we should legalize marijuana. I think that not legalizing marijuana is like spitting on a gold mine for government. Its legalization would generate a lot of money for government by its taxation. Moreover, the crime rate will decrease greatly which is good because our prisons are overcrowded. Prisoners also cost us a lot of money each year. So why not legalizing marijuana when it is less damageable for health than alcohol, less addictive than cigarettes and it would be very profitable? Finally, if we use some of the money generated by marijuana in drug prevention, I do not see how the legalization of marijuana would do any bad to our society.

I know people who live in Amsterdam and who talked to me about the legalization of marijuana. When I saw the title of this article, I felt a sudden interest in reading it. What also appealed to me was the fact Justin Bell wrote about our internal politics, which concerns us all.

As mentioned in the article, this topic is very controversial because of the impact it would have on our society and the image we would send internationally of our country. I agree with the writer and the previous reviewer on the fact marijuana can be taxed and be very profitable to our country: for example, it could help us reduce our depts. I also believe in the principle of autonomy which argues that nobody, not even the government, should decide for ourselves. We are all aware of what effects drugs have on health and if we decide to consume marijuana, despite the numerous warnings given by toxicology organizations, too bad for us.

People who believe in the principle of conservatism are against change and in some cases, could be seen as against improvement. As written in the summary, “they believe that because marijuana is illegal, there is a reason for it, and there should be no exceptions to its illegality”(Bell). I this kind of argument could be used for anything prohibited. Many years ago, when women did not have the right to vote, conservative people could have used the same argument to make sure they never get a right they deserve. Moreover, when people “believe marijuana is a drug and should be treated as such”(Bell), it means they think all drugs should be forbidden, without excluding coffee or alcohol. Furthermore, some “people [say] they don’t want someone who is openly irresponsible about what he does in his spare time [as Prime Minister]” (Bell). I think this argument goes against the principle of confidentiality. If Justin Trudeau does smoke, he does it in his private life and does not mix his high moments with his professional career. To judge a politician on what he does as hobby is none of our business and we should respect his secret garden.

However, maybe will he be consider as vanguard in a few years or so. Do you think, in the future, Justin Trudeau's opinion on marijuana could be seen positively by the population arguing he is open-minded or on the contrary, will it necessarily tarnish his reputation?

Dear justin.bell,
First off, I'd like to point out that your article summary is very well-written and your arguments quite concise. However, even a very good article has room for improvement. Early on in your article, you mention: "People who are in favor of legalization of marijuana generally have more relative ethical values. These people believe in the sanctity of making your own decisions...if someone wants to get high, it should be their right to smoke marijuana, and not someone else’s decision." Although this statement is by all means correct, I would suggest you elaborate these ethical values from a consequential point of view. According to Wikipedia, consequentialism is the principle for which the consequences of one's (or a thing's) conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. This could be an interesting approach to take, given the overall negative repercussions generated by Marijuana are much lesser than some legal drugs (i.e. alcohol) - as you mentioned throughout the article.
You could also mention the enormous sums of money that some U.S states cashed in on, solely by taxing and legalizing Marijuana products. For example, Colorado hauled in nearly $67 million in marijuana taxes in 2014 - $40 million of this amount earmarked for school construction. Such facts will support your view that legalized Marijuana would be beneficial – all things considered – and would better challenge a slew of opposing arguments.
Good writing!
Keep it up,
James

You will most surely find useful argument in these articles:
http://www.uscatholic.org/marijuana#sthash.8k0uGGFD.dpuf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-hamilton/weeds-of-destruction-marijuana....
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism