An announcement from political party of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, may have as massive of an impact on the United States as it will on Canada. The Liberal Party plans on submitting legislation some time in 2017 to legalize recreational marijuana use in Canada by the middle of 2018, according to Yahoo News. Although portions of Canada have legalized medical marijuana use, this will be a massive change for not only Canadian citizens, but for Americans too.
For example, just the changes on the northern border may make it as difficult as the southern border for federal drug policy. If Trump thought controlling the flow of drugs was difficult now with the Mexican border, he’s in for a surprise unless his appointees change their tune on marijuana.
Moving past just border security, the increased funds required for local and state police to deal with the influx of marijuana from the border will be significant. Although conservatives oddly seem fine with spending unreasonable amounts of government funds as long as they pertain to “law and order”, the Tea Party portion of congress may present a problem if Trump plans to maintain the current scale of drug war past presidents have.
The next major point for the United States to consider on this legislation is whether we should follow suit. In my opinion, if we did choose to follow suit, my advice would be to decriminalize it on a federal level and then allow each state to sort the issue out for themselves. Rather than force the issue on a federal level, releasing the responsibility to the states allows for greater control of legislation by the people.
This change to the Canadian legal system will make Canada only the second entire country to legalize recreational marijuana. Considering eight states within the United States have legalized recreational marijuana, the U.S. has a substantial internal conflict to deal with. The Federal government still considers marijuana illegal, so the peace between law enforcement on the state and federal level is a formality, not something set in stone. The ATF could still arrest someone in Colorado for marijuana possession on a federal level despite its legality on a state level. These problems are not going anywhere, and based on Trump’s choice for Attorney General, they may heat up soon. I think Republicans should choose their battles wisely. Trump himself has been fairly reasonable when it comes to marijuana, but his appointees have been more questionable.
The domino effect of more states legalizing recreational marijuana will likely be spurred on by the legalization movement in Canada. The Trump administration will likely have to deal with this issue, especially if reelection is in the cards four years from now. This is an issue with a lot of popular support, surprisingly enough on both sides of the political spectrum, especially in younger voters. Considering this, will Trump break from a typical conservative position further and make an effort to allow recreational marijuana in the U.S.? Only time will tell…