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Legalizing pot not a priority for the feds: political scientist

Last Updated Mar 2, 2016 at 7:44 am MDT

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Just how high of a priority should legalizing pot be for the federal government?

While a Globe and Mail poll Monday showed the majority of Canadians would support the move, other polls have shown they are more concerned about other issues.

Nelson Wiseman, a political scientist from the University of Toronto, says while he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will act, he doesn’t think it will happen for at least two to three years.

“There are questions of distribution, regulation, the medical profession is going to weigh in. We don’t have much precedence for legalizing.” he said. “Before there was prohibition, and before they did away with prohibition, alcohol had been legal. People had been drinking it. We haven’t had a situation in Canada where marijuana has been legal.”

Wiseman says Canada already has a liberal attitude towards pot. In many cities, police are very relaxed and often look the other way.

“You basically have to shove it in their nose, or be openly trafficking for them to act,” he said.

While the majority have accepted a more liberal policy towards marijuana, he doesn’t think people have put too much thought into it.

“We also have polls asking people, what are the most important issues facing the Canadian government? Legalizing marijuana doesn’t show up on the list,” Wiseman said. “People talk about healthcare, they talk about jobs, some talk about the deficit, some talk about taxes, some talk about the cost of education — legalizing marijuana doesn’t register. It barely registers.”