Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprisingly pragmatic case for legalising cannabis during the Economist magazine’s Canada Summit in Toronto on Wednesday.
When a conference participant said that “Canada could be to cannabis as France is to wine,” noting the possible economic and revenue boosts and job potential from legalisation, Trudeau offered a different rationale for legalisation — a focus on regulation.
The Canadian leader noted that he had two guiding principles in his push for legalising cannabis that focused on reducing harm as opposed to maximizing benefits: to minimize underage access to cannabis and to reduce criminal activity surrounding illegal cannabis trade.
“I have no doubt that Canadians and entrepreneurs will be tremendously innovative in finding ways to create positive economic benefits from the legalisation and control of marijuana, but our focus is on protecting kids and protecting our streets,” Trudeau said.
In January, Trudeau took first steps towards legalising cannabis in Canada with a mandate letter to create a legal framework for it.