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article imageMulcair: NDP government would decriminalize marijuana in a flash

By Marcus Hondro     Aug 22, 2015 in Politics
Vancouver - The leader of the federal NDP Party in Canada, Thomas Mulcair, did not mince words on Thursday in Vancouver when it came to the subject of marijuana. He made it clear what his party would do should they win the October 19 election.
"I want to make sure that everybody understands that the NDP's position is decriminalization the minute we form government," he said. "The NDP has had the same position for about 40 years. Decriminalizing marijuana is the position of the NDP. It's my position and it's something that we can do immediately."
His remarks came at a press conference in response to a question from media, but he did not precisely answer the question. He had been asked why his party would decriminalize marijuana rather than do what Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party say they would do, which is to legalize it.
Decriminalizing marijuana
A leading advocate for a changed approach to marijuana in Canada is Dana Larsen, who founded the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize cannabis possession and in 2010 ran for the leadership of the B.C. NDP. Larsen was formerly the leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party.
He says that decriminilization means stopping the policy of arresting or detaining people for possessing pot. "This form of decriminalization doesn't involve any tickets or fines," Larsen wrote in 2013. "It simply stops police from spending their time on possession of marijuana. Citizens in possession of marijuana would simply be left alone by police."
Legalizing marijuana would involve regulating the production and sale of pot in the country and taxing marijuana sales, which is what Justin Trudeau is on record as saying his party would do. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, however, maintain that marijuana laws should remain essentially the same.
"Mr. Harper's plan has failed so we've got to start doing things differently," Mulcair said. "I have been categorical that no person should ever face criminal charges or a criminal record for personal use of marijuana."
Mulcair and the NDP are currently leading the polls.
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