Is Mississauga Ready For Legalized Marijuana For All?

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When the Liberals were elected last fall, some experts and pundits rushed to argue that Justin Trudeau's plan to legalize marijuana could never come to pass -- or if it did, it wouldn't do so quickly, let alone easily. Now, the pot legalization ball is rolling ever closer, with the Liberal's formally announcing plans to legalize and regulate marijuana (and on 420, no less!).

Health Minister Jane Philpot was in New York giving a speech to the United Nations General Assembly at a session on global drug policy when she said that it's no longer possible for the government to "arrest our way out of this problem."

The Toronto Star reports that government sources insisted that the timing of the announcement was merely a coincidence, but coincidence or not, the day couldn't have been more perfect.

While the announcement certainly isn't shocking, it might be troubling for critics to see the government moving forward on a prominent campaign promise -- one some might have thought was a bone being thrown to the kind of young progressives who typically opt to stay home on election day.

"Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative and compassionate. It must respect human rights while promoting shared responsibility, and it must have a firm scientific foundation," Philpott said in her remarks, as reported by The Star. The legislation to regulate marijuana, which is scheduled to be introduced next spring, is aiming to keep the substance inaccessible to youth and out of the hands of criminals (although a recent report suggests that legalization might not take pot off the black market so easily.

While The Star reports that the Liberals will be launching a task force within the next few weeks to thoroughly investigate their historical plans to legalize and regulate the popular and largely de-stigmatized mind altering "herbal refreshment," it's important to note that Mississauga has always been on board with some degree of legal marijuana -- even if it's only, at this point, weed of the medicinal variety.

Early last year, Mississauga moved to become one of the first cities to pass specific bylaws regulating medical marijuana grow-ops. Now, you can see those bylaws in all of their glory here.

A quick online search locates three operational medical marijuana facilities in the city, including Best Budz Dispensary (adorable!), Canna Relief Consulting Canada and Pharma Cann.

While many would argue -- rightfully -- that medical MJ is a different beast from its recreational counterpart (well, different in terms of use, if not actual substance), it was refreshing to see city council take a fair, honest and progressive approach to something that does benefit people suffering illnesses and chronic pain. It might speak of insightful realism on the part of the city, as it allowed grow-ups to fit into the overall community in a way that satisfied both growers and nearby businesses.

The CBC reported that Councillor Jim Tovey said the city was forced to act because Health Canada was more concerned with keeping medical marijuana from becoming a black market product than anything else. He also said residents were, by and large, pretty on board with the city's initiative.

"I've spoken to a lot of residents about this. They're like 'great. This is good. It's really good the city of Mississauga is being proactive in protecting our families,'" Tovey said, as reported by The CBC.

Now, should marijuana -- recreational, for fun marijuana -- be regulated at the federal level, policies governing its sale and use will largely be out of the city's hands. That said, with council having taken proactive approaches to marijuana in general in the past, it's a good sign that Mississauga will easily acclimate to legal pot.

So what do you think, Mississauga? Are we ready for legal marijuana for all and not just those suffering from illnesses?

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