The chaos in Toronto regarding the enforcement of pot laws isn’t Mayor John Tory’s fault, or city council’s fault, or Police Chief Mark Saunders’ fault.
It’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s fault.
He ran on legalizing pot in last year’s federal election.
Health Minister Jane Philpott told the United Nations on April 20 — International “Weed Day” — that the feds will introduce a law to legalize pot in the spring of 2017.
That’s what’s caused an explosion of illegal pot dispensaries in Toronto as they anticipate the legalization of marijuana and want to get a head start on their competitors.
Just as complicated as the legalization of pot — and the feds will have to change three international treaties to do it — is the issue of who’s going to be allowed to grow and sell it.
That’s going to be a multi-billion-dollar business.
Naturally, everyone from mom-and-pop sellers and growers, to government-approved medical marijuana growers, to the LCBO, to drug store chains, to organized crime, wants in on the action.
Indeed, a federal discussion paper warns organized crime may try to infiltrate the legal pot market.
That’s in addition to selling pot illegally at cheaper prices, as has happened with cigarettes, a legal product sold on the black market created by high government taxes.
Until pot’s legalized, Trudeau wants existing laws enforced.
Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, Trudeau’s point man on pot legalization, told police complaining about the difficulty of enforcing a law about to be discarded: “Quite frankly, until those laws are repealed by Parliament through the appropriate processes, they should be upheld, they should be obeyed.”
So that’s what Saunders did in last week’s Operation Claudia, where police raided 43 marijuana dispensaries, arrested 90 people, laid almost 200 charges and seized 269 kilos of dried cannabis.
Don’t blame Saunders for doing his job, particularly after Tory urged city officials to work with police to find ways to deal with illegal dispensaries in a May 12 letter.
The root problem here is that Trudeau has created a feeding frenzy of interest in legalized pot, without legalizing pot.
And as the old saying goes, you can’t be half pregnant.
Nor can you suck and blow at the same time.