A tale of two approaches to legalization

First, in Canada…

Marc Emery was right; Julian Fantino was wrong

In September 2011, Conservative MP and former OPP commissioner Julian Fantino stood in the House of Commons to urge MPs to vote for the Conservatives’ Safe Streets and Communities Act, which, among other things, increased mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offences, including six months for possessing six plants. […]

Emery, who finished his sentence in 2014 and returned to Canada, is not able to enter the legal marijuana business because of his criminal convictions. On Monday, he and his wife, Jodie Emery, will appear in a Toronto courtroom where they will plead guilty to marijuana charges laid after the police busted marijuana stores they were running in Ontario and British Columbia. They will have to pay large fines. […]

I believe Emery was right about marijuana and Fantino was wrong, and it seems that Fantino now has had a change of heart, because last month he announced that he plans to sell medical marijuana in a business he founded with former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Soccer.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, where Shaleen Title is an active force for coming up with approaches that are fairer.

Mass. Recreational Pot Industry Won’t Just Line Pockets Of Big Businesses, Regulators Say

But regulators say they are looking out for the interests of people who, in the past, may have been in legal trouble for activities involving marijuana that the new law no longer criminalizes. […]

Certain entities would have their application fees waived if they’re determined to be an equity applicant coming from one of those disproportionately affected communities. Criteria include residency, past nonviolent drug convictions for themselves or for someone in their family.

“If you come from a community where marijuana enforcement has been unfair, and there are disparities, you now are given a way to enter this industry in a way that’s fair, so that you just have some help starting your business and getting to be involved in the wealth that is being built,” said Shaleen Title, who is a member of the Cannabis Control Commission.

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