Senator suggests marijuana could be legalized within the year

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Senator Percy Downe addresses Holland College journalism students on Jan. 25. Among the topics he discussed were legalizing marijuana, reforming the Senate and eliminating fees from Confederation Bridge. Jason Ginter photo.

By Jason Ginter

Jan. 29, 2016

P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe says marijuana might be legalized by the end of the year.

Downe was addressing a group of Holland College journalism students when he was asked his opinion on the legalization of marijuana.

“I anticipate that if he (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) can appoint the 22 new people (to the Senate) that will be done within the year.”

The Senate called for the legalization of marijuana more than 10 years earlier.

They got involved because of the impact marijuana was having on criminal records.

“People were not being able to travel to the states…for what we considered minor offenses,” Downe said.

The Senate published a study in September 2002 titled Cannabis: Our Position For A Canadian Public Policy.

It included several suggestions and proposed changes to various acts related to marijuana.

The report was not taken well, said Downe.

“When the Senate did the report on marijuana, it was very contentious, very unpopular, and considered irresponsible.”

Tracey Gallagher Campbell, accommodations manager at Holland College, has a daughter graduating high school this year.

She does not think it’s irresponsible to legalize marijuana.

“I’m sort of indifferent about it,” said Campbell.

As a parent, Campbell does not believe banning a substance is an effective method.

“I think that if you’re going to, you’re going to.”

She said the legalization of marijuana would have no effect on her work environment, as smoking is prohibited in all forms.

As the accommodations manager, Campbell ensures that no smoking is done on campus, which includes marijuana and tobacco.

Campbell doesn’t see marijuana as a hardcore drug, rather, just as another form of smoking.

“Smoking is smoking. Alcohol scares me a lot more.”