WHERE THE PARTIES STAND
Conservative: Harper beefed up marijuana laws as part of the massive Safe Streets and Communities Act, a bill that imposed harsher sentences—and mandatory minimums—on marijuana traffickers. The party opposes any attempt to decriminalize or legalize pot, and openly mocks Liberal calls for legalization in regularly released attack ads.
NDP: The party has crafted a position between its main rivals. The party’s policy calls for decriminalization, not full legalization: “decriminalizing marijuana possession with the goal of removing its production and distribution from the control of organized crime.” The NDP has long hinted at decriminalization, but both the late Jack Layton and current Leader Thomas Mulcair have been criticized for a lack of clarity on the issue.
Liberals: They want to legalize marijuana. The party features Trudeau and Toronto MP Adam Vaughan in a video that breaks down the party position: Legalization and regulation would make it harder for kids to access pot; the status quo enriches organized crime; and current laws lock up too many “petty” criminals. The Liberals are hoping the pledge reinforces what Trudeau claims is a so-called new, more inclusive approach to politics.
Green: The party plans to confront complex social and legal issues with an independent law-reform commission that would produce balanced public reports on key issues. The party points to doctor-assisted death, sex-work laws and marijuana legalization as examples of the commission’s prospective files. Green Leader Elizabeth May has publicly supported the legalization and regulation of marijuana.