Not Getting My Hopes Up on Marijuana Legalization by Russel Barth OCT 29, 2015

My opinion on the new Liberal Majority in Parliament is, admittedly, skewed. Nine years living under the Harper yolk, watching my wife suffer with seizures, watching my own health fade, and watching the number of marijuana-related arrests increase every year, has left me jaded and bitter.

Watching our new PM support mandatory minimum sentence legislation for marijuana when he sat as an MP, and supporting fascist laws like C51 and others, makes me think he is nothing more than a better-looking Harper.

When one considers that the party that sits in power now fought medical marijuana users tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court from 1998 to 2006, one is hard-pressed to feel optimistic.
Living in Canada for every one of my 46 years has also taught me to never get my hopes up about anything, ever.

So I decided to ask some “high-ranking” Canadian Marijuana activists “What do you expect to happen in regards to medical marijuana in Canada in light of this new Liberal majority?” Here were their answers.

Debbie Stultz-Giffin, Chair, Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society:

“As we move forward with a legalization model I would like to see provisions that a diagnosis, not a physician, allows for medical access to cannabis. Furthermore, all court decisions dictating therapeutic access will go un-challenged, patients/caregivers will be able continue with home gardens and compassion clubs
will be legalized and legitimized.”

Ted Smith, publisher of the Cannabis Digest:

“Since the Liberals have not announced a detailed plan, many of us are left wondering whether the regulations will allow small producers to enter to market or whether the rules will be favoured towards large corporate suppliers.

We are hoping the government creates laws which encourage small businesses to enter into the industry, much like
how wine is controlled. We all fear a form of legalization that grants powers to large corporations while excluding small business. Any legalization scheme that does not allow for personal growing will be fought in court and on the streets until we are allowed to grow our own.”

Matt Mernagh, Journalist, Activist, Author, Internet Talk Show Host:

“I would expect more Licensed Producers and possibly better access from doctors who are willing to sign. It would be great if Liberals work on disabled people getting access to affordable medical marihuana.”

Kirk Tousaw, Lawyer:

“I hope that the Liberals will stop wasting taxpayer money fighting sick Canadians in court. Instead of suing them in Court, I’m prepared to work with them to craft the worlds best medical cannabis policy.”

Mike Foster, owner of Crosstown Traffic, Ottawa’s oldest head shop:

“If Mr. Trudeau is true to his word, then medical users should be able to return to growing their own medication without fearing any consequences.”

Marcel Gignac, Director of Communications – Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Alliance of Canada:

“I never ‘expect’ anything a politician says in an effort to garner votes, but I at least hope he is a man of his word. While I agree that the legalization for recreational use could be a great vehicle to increase revenue through taxation, I am more concerned on his 2011 stance that medical patients should have the right to grow their own.

With many of our sick and disabled living below the poverty level, they should not have to decide between buying medicine, or buying food when they can barely afford one because of corporate greed that the Harper Regime forced on us.”

David Malmo-Levine, Spokesperson for the Stressed And Depressed Association:

“We are probably going to get some kind of legalization that excludes the young and the poor – our job now is to spread the evidence of cannabis not harming the developing minds of young people, so that we can then create a legalization model less restrictive than the wine model – something akin to the organic coffee bean model with perhaps a parental permission policy to account for the increased impairment levels of novice users.

The important thing is to remove the red tape around industrial hemp and shift subsidies away from non renewables and towards renewable energy such as hemp ethanol so we can learn to live sustainably, with no more oil wars, oil spills and climate destabilization – the ‘save the world’ side effects of building a ‘legalization for all’ model for the rest of the world to copy.”

Judith Renaud, Canadian Chair, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy:

“Drug education is a health issue. It is the responsibility of an educator to consider the wellness of their student while in their care. Educators in the public school system must be conversant about medicinal marijuana during this early period of Marijuana ‘legalization’ in Canada.

The new legalization policies can affect the decisions by education administrators in public school districts across Canada. A student who has been given the right by a physician to consume cannabis during school hours is an excellent opportunity for educators to support and acknowledge the value of evidence based drug education. The responsibility of an educator is to help keep youth safe.

Safety implies that with a Doctor’s prescription, cannabis can help children under the age of 19 who suffer from diseases that require cannabis intervention. Using science, facts and evidence the educator has the appropriate tools to engage in dialogue with their students and staff about the value of liberty and freedom of choice for every Canadian student in the public school system. Legalization has empowered educator’s to offer relevant guidelines to those who need it the most.”

Dana Larsen, Owner/Operator of The Dispensary in Vancouver:

“I expect this is the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in Canada. The election of Trudeau is the best possible outcome of this election for the cannabis movement. Now our job is make sure he acts on his promises, and to make sure the legalization model we end up with is the best it can be.”  I also asked the Ottawa Police if they plan to stop charging people with marijuana offences now that the Liberals are promising to legalize, and of course they said no. Tens of thousands of charges will be laid across Canada, likely for several more years to come.”

As for me, well, I expect home and designated growing permits for medical users to be reinstated, probably fairly soon, but only after the government fights the Allard case, and others, until the bitter end. I do not expect the new government to allow people to grow marijuana at home for any reason, except, perhaps, the courts forcing them to.

I also expect them to inflict arbitrary and onerous plant number, dosage, and storage limits, along with a relinquishing of some of our Charter Rights to allow “inspectors” and other intrusions into our personal business by police. You know – the kind of authoritarian crap no Canadian would ever want to be subjected to.

I expect the MMPR program to be expanded and streamlined to help more doctors feel more comfortable signing patients up for the program, and for more licensed producers to get into the business. I do not expect small-scale, mom-and-pop growers to be allowed into the MMPR.

I also expect a ridiculous and self-contradictory “legalization” scheme for “recreational” users that will do nothing at all to stem the tide of young creeps dealing extra-legal marijuana to teens. The Liberals’ promise to implement stiff penalties for people who do shows me that they have no idea what really legalizing marijuana even looks like.

If one person (of any age) can be criminally charged for growing, selling, buying, or using marijuana in any quantity, from a single joint to a thousand plants, then it isn’t really “legal”, is it? I expect expanded powers and budgets for police, and a new pogrom against marijuana users who drive. Basing the rules on debunked science and police balderdash, we can expect some truly Orwellian new road safety rules to be enacted, and far steeper penalties for someone with trace amounts of pot in their system than for someone who blew a fraction over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

The use of “pot breathalyzers” will be employed, but since blood-cannabis levels have no correlation to actual impairment, we can also expect lengthly and expensive court challenges to all of the laws and regulations that will be enacted.

I expect arbitrary and onerous carry-around limits, based on the police’s assertion that anyone possessing more than an ounce, or half ounce, “must be” a dealer. Which begs the question: “Who are they selling to?”
If pot is legal and sold in shops, then who are these “dealers” selling their pot to?

  I expect more money to be dumped into bogus “addiction” “treatment” programs like CAMH (instead of into education and addiction treatment for drugs that are actually addictive), and millions of tax dollars will be spent on scientifically-inaccurate anti-pot propaganda across all media platforms. I do not, however, expect to see the “talk to your doctor” ads for the government-licensed medical program, however, nor do I expect the licensed producers will be allowed to advertise.

I expect the science and data supporting the safety and efficacy of marijuana – even for kids – to be shoved aside as police fairy tales about “increased potency”, “toxicity”, “addictiveness”, and road dangers win the hearts and minds of the MPs who draft the legislation. Because MPs are far more afraid of cops than they are of the public.

And all through this, one major thing will be ignored: The Parker Ruling of 1999 stipulated that until such time as the government implemented a workable medical marijuana access program, marijuana was off the Controlled Drugs And Substances. The court gave the government one year to comply, and, in the summer of 2000, they gave us the MMAR. This program was dragged into court nine times, and found to be unconstitutional – in whole or in part – every time.

The constitutionality of MMPR was challenged the day it started, so because the government hasn’t yet given us a workable medical access program, marijuana is technically as legal and unregulated as ragweed or dandelions, and has been for 15 years. But you will never hear the government, the media, the courts, or the police admit this.

Watching a dead law get more vigorously enforced every year than it was the year before has left me expecting more of the same for years to come.


Russell Barth is an Ottawa area Marijuana Activist.


  1. Those that need pot for medical use have the avenue to get what they need. Yes, it is regulated, controlled, and taxed by the government. I can live with that, in a so called civilized society. But what the prophet of pot really wants is a complete legalization of pot for all people. It seems he wants medical and recreational use legalized with out any government control and regulation. He sees how the government is running the liqueur and tobacco industries, and doesn’t want the government to do the same with pot. Yes, the government loves its sin taxes for sure – another type of corporate addiction.

    With this mind set and effort, all the medical/psychological issues of pot use, and all the safety issues with it well under the influence is all thrown to the wind. Let’s all get high, and have one big party! Just like the pot culture of the 60’s – sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Not much has changed since then, oh yes, we now have medical use of pot now – the ace in the whole.

    Such ill responsibility is one of the major effects of constant, chronic use of pot – dope fries the brain cells. That is why, for good reason, it is called Reefer Madness! Such a open range type of legalization is pure suicide, and dangerous for all involved, and for all of society. If and when, God forbid, that pot would become legal, as some want, we will all advance from medical cases to mental cases. Watch “Reefer Madness” for yourself. A classic! Not much has changed since the movie came out –

    Exo 23:2 “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment”. Eph 5:18 “Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk [smoking pot], but let the Spirit fill your life”.

  2. What about Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal”? Cannabis prohibition is stealing, obviously, unless you have a broken brain. If you want to go fundamentalist and call any drugs “sorcery”, well, OK, except in Genesis every herb bearing seed is given to man for food—pills aren’t, certainly not pills produced by the unbiblical art of chemistry.

    Smoking pot simply isn’t like getting drunk—marijuana does not impair like alcohol does. Sure, too much of anything can impair—too much water can kill you.

    If you are truly “led by the spirit”, you recognize that marijuana prohibition is unbiblical and that it violates God’s commandment to not steal. And on that front, since when are we subject biblically to democratic Government, except as something we should suffer until the Kingdom of God arrives fully? If Jesus had wanted to make us members of the “free and democratic society of God,” he could have done so, but he didn’t, did he? He proclaimed the Kingdom of God, an absolute monarchy ruled by the Lord.

    I will pray for your soul, that you find wisdom and stop being seduced by movies—after all, movies are images, and Exodus 20:4 forbids images.

  3. Pastor you are absolutely right on that pot is harmful. If you all think that laws are strict on drugs here you should go and look at the jails in my husband’s country of Lebanon. There are anywhere from 15 to 20 men in one cell so can you picture what that is like over there just for pot alone. “Lebanese gold” is much better than marijuana and grows mostly in the Bekkaa Valley and it is garged by the government authorities and if you manage to get caught God help everyone. This medical marijuana might help some people I don’t know because I have never known anyone who took that to take cancer drugs, etc. I do know that if this garbage is legalized then we will have a humoungous problem on our hands with the health care, people driving under the influence and having more zombies around than what we have already. Society has deteriorated something awful as it stands and will become a great deal worse if this is legalized for the general public. Things are bad enough with alcohol and cigarettes but pot would be a great deal worse. This senior geezer in the picture can take his pot and shove it. I am completely and totally against pot and all drugs.

  4. ” for good reason, it is called Reefer Madness!”

    Dear ‘Pastor’,

    Allow me to make you aware of your ignorance.First, a movie from 1936 does not good government policy make. I really can’t go on about this point. You can’t use fiction to prove or disprove things. Which brings me to the other work of fiction you bring up.

    Second, your use of the Hebrew scriptures and Christian scriptures (notice how I avoided the term bible) is cherry picking at best. If you wanted to talk about cannabis in antiquity it would be better to start with Exodus 30:22-25. The word קְנֵה-בֹשֶׂם kaneh bosm is the root of cannabis. And in fact, there is a cogent theological argument that the epithet מָשִׁיחַ, mashiaẖ as it applies to a fellow named Josh (you know him as Jesus) would have been very aware with a plant that has over 10,000 years of human use. As for the letter to the Ephisians. Why do I care what one man said to a bunch of Greeks on the Ionian coast in the first century? Your collection of books (that damn word bible again) as you now see them is nothing more than a political document that I have no use for in a post-Christian society. Give me a document that can handle the nuances of bio-ethics and medical science any day.

    Your myopic worldview on cannabis stems from a mere 75 years of bad science, misinformation, and propaganda. In no way is cannabis detrimental to the brain or society. There is in fact far stronger arguments that the use of entheogenic plants put the evolutionary pressure on our ancestors primitive brains to form what some call Pans Narrans (the story telling ape i.e. Homo Sapiens).

    I could go on… but I don’t think you will even read, let alone think about this issue critically.

  5. What is it that compels fundamentalist religious nut-bars to inflict their asinine ignorance on everyone else?

  6. Furtz people who have religion are not “nut bars” at all. Your Jules may be somewhat wacky but she is an exception. LOL LOL. ROLF! One thing about Canabis is that it makes strong rope “hemp” and I have seen mens socks made from hemp as well sold in a good store at a hefty price. Another thing is that the US founding fathers used to smoke hemp as well. No wonder there was that witch hunt back in the 1600’s US and people were burned at the stake because they were on drugs. That was the Salem With Hunt back then. Today we have a bunch of zombies who can’t even talk – when they talk they don’t hardly move their mouths and speak more like a bunch of monkeys. Marijuana or Lebanese gold does deteriorate the brain and it sure has done a number on the young people of today who are the product of the old hippies.

  7. Robin Redshoe – your logic is old, and worn out, and has been tried before – won’t work. Give it up – “dear pastor” ah! And Jacob, what can I say -“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”. Anyone with a few brain cells left can see your argument “goes up in smoke” – literally!

  8. Dear ‘Pastor’,

    You win.

  9. I concur, most shameful, that thousands have died as a result of the Liberal sabotage of the Parker decision. Shame that society hasn’t learned from it’s previous mistakes.

  10. Pastor Tom you seem to focus on medical cannabis producing a “high”. Just for your edification not all medical cannabis produces a “high”. Now that Health Canada has been read the riot act by a unanimous SSC decision cannabis no longer has to be smoked. Extracts and edibles offer an alternative delivery method that will satisfy the needs of patients particularly younger patients suffering from seizures. Again cannabis does not necessarily have to produce a “high”.

    Your rush to judgement not only paints you as ignorant but it is very unchristian like. Isn’t it your God who judges?

  11. Just for the record I favour decriminalization and not legalization. Portugal decriminalized cannabis over a decade ago. Cannabis moved from the criminal label to the mental health jurisdiction. If you want to inform yourself this is a model to study as the data covers an extended period of time. Spain has also moved to decriminalize and so the list grows.

    As with other experiences around the world however it is not likely that a Liberal machine will use existing data before leaping into the already known. Liberals have a track record of ignoring fact and reality. One just has to look at the have not province of Ontario Canada for confirmation of this simple sad truth.

  12. David – have you every ingest Pot – like in pot brownies, etc. Does eating pot give you a “high”? So if I ingest pot for a medical use, the “high” is there, but also pain relief, the lowing of nausea levels, and sedation – THC induced “peace”.

    I can thank the Lord Jesus- the Christ for delivering me from the addiction and mental dependency of pot, cocaine, speed, LSD, magic mushrooms, and many others items, including whiskey, wine, beer! By the grace of God I have still enough functioning brain cells left to emphatically declare that pot is a gate way drug, and should never, never be legalized, nor decriminalized for recreational uses. Dope is for and always will be for dope heads when it used for just enjoyment, for the indulgence of the fallen, wicked human nature.

  13. I can’t imagine pot causing more brain damage than religion.

  14. David, you are still going on about the evil Liberal government in Ontario. Can you explain to me why the Cons deliberately threw the last two elections by running with an unelectable obnoxious idiot for a leader? They could have and should have easily defeated the Libs twice, but they chose not to.
    Newton, you keep proving over and over with every post you make, that your crazy religion causes way more brain damage than the consumption of weed.

  15. Furtz – your last statement: speculation or based on scientific fact?

    Psa 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”.

  16. Simple observation, Newton.

  17. Last time I checked we didn’t live in Ohio.

  18. Marijuana is an undeniable gateway to politics Now we await amnesty, a moratorium on arrests, stays of court proceedings before the Crown and an apology for having to live under such unreasonable threat, punishment and irrational hysterical hostility. I want to believe, Mr. Barth even though I know hope is often for the doomed.

  19. Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs and drugs destroys families. When people need the drug they go to all avenues to get it. A few hours ago my husband was telling my daughter and I about a nurse in Lebanon who had problems with her legs and she sought morphine to dull the pain. This nurse went to all extremes to get it even taking it away from her patients and giving it to herself. This nurse was found out and they got her treated for her addictions. I have seen people who start out with marijuana that seems so innocent but it isn’t innocent at all. When marijuana doesn’t have the same effect any more then people look for something that will give them an effect and then they get hooked and need more and more.

  20. Have to agree with you Rocket Roy. I smoked a doobie way back when Lester Pearson was our PM, and I’ve been a political junkie ever since.

  21. Pastor I sure do agree with you as usual and I signed the petition and sent it. I have a small bottle of Irish Cream sitting on my buffet and I don’t even touch it. My husband insisted and I said no it will stay there till Christmas and he wants to get me another. I will not touch it at all. If I took marijuana I would be much wackier than I am now – God help Jamie would be at wits end with me more than what he is now. LOL LOL. ROLF!

  22. Furtz I am not aware of the Ontario Liberals being evil. That would be best answered by Pastor Tom, perhaps. They have proven to be incompetent at managing the provinces affairs.

    The Conservatives need to embrace the digital era the way that the Liberals have. Maybe send Brown a selfie stick for his phone. On second thoughts that might only get tangled in the cord.

  23. Good one David! Newton has already passed judgement on Wynne and the Ontario Libs.
    And the fact that the Cons chose Brown to replace Hudak indicates to me that they want to lose the next election too.

  24. Furtz/David: I have never passed any personal judgment upon Premier Wynne and her liberal groupie. I have just stated God’s absolute moral standards concerning their corrupt (evil) actions – Like “Thou shalt not steal”, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”( Furtz that means lying in class you didn’t know), and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (that includes all sexual deviation form God’s norm of biblical marriage – like divorce, sodomy, same sex marriage, etc. ).

    I am just stating what God has already declared in His Holy Word – He is the standard, He is the authority, not me – “Or do you not know that unjust ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be led astray, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous ones, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor plunderers shall inherit the kingdom of God” ( 1Co 6:9 -10).

  25. Actually Pastor Tom one of the original translations into the English language stated it something like this…thou shall not covet thy neighbours wife nor… How is that you interpret this as a blanket statement covering sexual perversions contrary to the natural order of things? Does it include the purchase of sex toys as well? Which religion reigns supreme and ultimately decides which interpretation to go with? When considering the old testament is it he Jewish faith, Christianity or the Muslims that claim that right or title?

    Exodus 20:17 talks about the act or desire of committing adultery. Where do you find evidence covering transgender issues and such? Is Wynne a disciple of the devil?

  26. Yes Newton, I keep forgetting. You don’t pass judgement, or hate anyone. It’s your imaginary god that does all the hating, and you are simply the messenger.

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