In light of the Toronto Police Service's raid of 43 grey market dispensaries in Project Claudia, the Toronto Board of Health called for the federal government of Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to provide clarity on cannabis laws in Canada.
"The police are enforcing a failed federal law. That law needs to change. It's not the responsibility of the police to decide whether or not to enforce law. It's the role of the federal government to change that law. It's failed. It hasn't deterred people from using pot," said Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy, who sits on The Toronto Board of Health
Thomas Mulcair, the NDP leader and perennial thorn in Trudeau's side on this question, used this as another opportunity to press Trudeau to immediately decriminalize marijuana. During a question period in Parliament, Mulcair said:
"Here is our Liberal government on pot. After promising to legalize it right away, it is continuing to hand out thousands of criminal records. The Liberals named a former police chief to lead the file, who encourages police to crack down on personal use. The Toronto Board of Health has just joined the many voices begging the Prime Minister for lucidity on the issue. Why is the Prime Minister playing politics with young people's futures? Why will he not take a clear step and decriminalize right away?"
Trudeau responded with the government's often-stated position that favors a longer process focused on fully fleshed out regulations.
"...on legalizing marijuana, we have always been very clear that it is about protecting young people from the easy access to marijuana that they have right now. It is about preventing criminal organizations, street gangs, and gun runners from getting significant sources of funding through the sale of marijuana. That is what our focus is on, and that is why, until the law is changed, the current system still applies," responded Justin Trudeau
This is not new messaging. The federal government and Trudeau have maintained since being elected that they would introduce cannabis legalization legislation aimed at protecting young people and taking the black market away from organized crime, but would not decriminalize as an interim step.
Previous Liberal governments have made attempts to decriminalize, with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien encouraging Trudeau to do so earlier this year.
Twitter was watching both the oft-repeated question and tired response with it's usual sense of sarcasm and disdain for all things political.
In very Canadian fashion, Twitter user @MJGlass2 responded to Mulcair's question with a hockey metaphor.