The Canadian parliament is already debating a bill from the ruling Liberal Party to decriminalize marijuana possession, but in a sign of discontent with halfway measures on marijuana, party delegates from Alberta have crafted a resolution calling for the legalization and taxation of the country's booming marijuana trade. The resolution will be debated at the federal Liberal Party convention set for Ottawa March 5-6, Canada Press reported Monday.
According to Canada Press, which reported it had copies of a number of resolutions, the legalization resolution from the Alberta Liberals says: "Legalizing marijuana would be a serious blow to drug dealers and organized crime financially." And funds from pot taxes could be earmarked for treatment and prevention. "Resolved that a portion of these tax revenues be used to educate youth against drug use and to provide treatment for those who are adversely affected by use of marijuana."
Resolutions for the national conference are in part a grassroots phenomenon. While some are crafted by provincial party power-brokers and awarded "priority" status at the convention, meaning they will automatically be voted on by all delegates, each province is limited to one "priority" resolution. The Alberta Liberals' marijuana resolution is not a "priority" resolution. Instead, it came up by winning support at the riding (district), regional, and provincial levels, and it must survive debate in a workshop at the conference in order to go before all the delegates.
Ironically, another resolution, this one asking for stiffer sentences for persons growing marijuana, comes from British Columbia, where the industry employs more than 5% of the provincial workforce and generates an estimated $4 billion annually.
Other resolutions submitted to the Liberal Party conference, which will help set the party platform, include competing calls for and against same-sex marriage, a call from Quebec delegates to reject participation in a proposed US continental missile shield, and a call for national education standards, certain to be viewed by Quebecois as an assault on their Francophone values.
Given the marijuana resolution's non-privileged status, as well as Liberal parliamentarians' lukewarm support of their own decrim bill, the chances for passage in Ottawa would appear slim. But at least the Liberals will be talking legalization.