Scheer clarifies that no, a Conservative government would not re-criminalize cannabis

Scheer said he has no intention of rolling back the Liberals' legal cannabis policy, but a Tory administration would consider adjusting some of the rules

OTTAWA — Conservative leader Andrew Scheer made clear Wednesday he would not re-criminalize cannabis, after headlines last week suggested he hadn’t ruled the idea out.

In a French-language interview with a Quebec radio station Wednesday morning, Scheer said he has no intention of fully rolling back the Liberals’ legal cannabis policy, but that a Conservative administration would consider adjusting some of the rules after assessing the “consequences.”

“We recognize the reality now, so I do not intend to go back and make marijuana illegal again,” he told 104.7 Outaouais, a radio station based in Gatineau, Que. “But we will see what happens within the year and make the necessary corrections.”

Scheer said he would work with provinces to determine whether changes should be made, noting that Quebec is “not happy” with federal law allowing people to grow up to four cannabis plants per household — the provincial government still considers that to be illegal, and has said it will take individuals to court if they test the rule.

The interview did not mark the first time Scheer has talked about being “realistic” on the pot file, but it is the strongest clarification yet since recreational cannabis became legal last Wednesday.

The day pot became legal, Conservative MP Tony Clement put it this way, carefully, in French: “So I think that the reality is the reality. The reality right now, it’s legal. And for us, to better protect citizens, there need to be solutions if there are problems.”

A harshly-worded statement the same day from the party’s health critic, Marilyn Gladu, criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for being in a rush to meet a political deadline and having a “lack of leadership on his signature file.”

And in an interview with CTV last Thursday, Scheer didn’t definitively say whether or not a Conservative government would maintain the legal framework around recreational cannabis, only saying his party would “do our due diligence, examine the consequences of this decision, and we’ll examine the reality on the ground.”

Wednesday’s clarification comes a year and a half after Scheer conceded, in an interview with Global News, that his party would have to be careful about its messaging after pot legalization. “We have to be very realistic as a party as to what we’re promising Canadians going into the 2019 election,” he told them in April 2017. “If this is something that has been legal for a period of time, it’s going to be very difficult to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to make this illegal again.’”

Scheer admitted this spring on Quebec talk show Tout le monde en parle that he tried pot when he was younger.

The Post asked him at the Conservative policy convention in Halifax this August whether he would consider trying it again once it was legal. He laughed and said, “No.”

Original Article by National Post

Victor MadrilComment