Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister has promised to legalize marijuana.
With the Liberal Party’s electoral victory on Oct. 19, many are anticipating a campaign promise made by party leader Justin Trudeau. His pledge to legalize marijuana has many Canadians excited — and others nervous — about the future of Canada’s pot laws.
Here’s a look at five things Canada’s newly elected leader has said in the past about legalizing marijuana.
1. I’ve smoked pot
Like a number of high-profile politicians before him — including current U.S. President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton — Justin Trudeau admitted to using marijuana in the past.
Early on in his campaign, Trudeau even admitted to smoking weed while serving as a Minister of Parliament.
Nevertheless, in a 2013 interview, Trudeau characterized himself as a rare user of marijuana, saying that he had only smoked weed “5 or 6 times” in his life.
2. It’s less addictive than…
Though many politicians have cited addiction as a reason for keeping marijuana illegal, Justin Trudeau accurately argued against this during his campaign.
While on the campaign trail, Trudeau spoke on the topic of teen drug use and noted that marijuana is “less addictive than many others.”
In fact, Trudeau’s argument is firmly grounded in science. Studies have shown that only 9% of marijuana users get addicted, while addiction rates rise to 15% for alcohol users and 32% for tobacco users.
3. The current approach doesn’t work
Perhaps the strongest argument for legalizing marijuana is that keeping it illegal has ultimately proven to be a failure.
As Justin Trudeau explained during his campaign, the current approach to marijuana “makes it easier for young people to access marijuana than it is for them to access beer or even cigarettes and… is actually funding criminal organizations, street gangs and gun runners.”
Likewise, Trudeau argued that legalizing marijuana would cut down on organized crime and help keep it out of the hands of kids.
4. Marijuana sales need to be regulated
Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister has promised to end the country’s failed approach to marijuana by making a dramatic change.
“We will legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana,” pledged Trudeau’s party in its official campaign.
Just how the Liberal Party plans to regulate marijuana has yet to be announced. However, Trudeau has mentioned that he doesn’t see pot being sold in convenience stores.
Under Trudeau’s groundbreaking promise of legalizing marijuana, Canada would become one of the first countries in the developed world to allow the sale of marijuana as a recreational drug.
The only other country that has legalized marijuana so far is Uruguay, which passed its law in 2013.
5. It’s going to take time
Despite promising to get started “right away” if elected, Trudeau made it clear that legalizing marijuana wasn’t going to happen overnight.
According to Trudeau, establishing a legal marijuana system would involve studying how marijuana is regulated in other parts of the world as well as discussions with provincial governments.
During a campaign interview in September, Trudeau noted that “we don’t yet know exactly what rate we’re going to be taxing it, how we’re going to control it, or whether it will happen in the first months, within the first year, or whether it’s going to take a year or two to kick in.”