Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith wants the government’s drug policy to go further than its campaign promise to legalize pot.
In an opinion piece posted on Vice News today, the Liberal MP — known for challenging his party’s policies — writes that drug abuse should be treated “as a health issue, and not as a crime… In a step towards regulation, we should decriminalize all drug use and possession.”
Erskine-Smith bases his argument on the government’s “sensible and evidence-based approach to drug policy,” noting the intention to legalize recreational marijuana and support supervised injection clinics and efforts towards implementing a modern drug policy.
“But that commitment to evidence demands that we go further,” writes Erskine-Smith. “If we follow a public health and harm reduction approach to its logical conclusion, we could save even more lives by regulating all drugs according to their respective harms. Pharmaceutical quality control, for example, could ensure Canadians do not unsuspectingly use drugs laced with deadly fentanyl.”
Prohibition and the current “war on drugs” isn’t working, he said, and “shifts resources that should be going to public health to law enforcement, instead… [Decriminalization] may not be an easy sell, but it’s the right answer.”