Who would have thought that Americans would be more progressive than Canadians about marijuana use?
Well, it seems that in some states, at least, they are.
According to USA Today, on November 6, voters in Washington, Oregon and Colorado will vote on a proposal to change state laws "to permit possession and regulate the sale marijuana."
While pot would still be illegal under U.S. federal law, experts suggest that an affirmative vote in any of those states would put pressure on the feds to weaken the rules.
A positive vote could also have consequences for Canada.
[ Related: Elderly couple busted with 1,000 marijuana plants ]
Last Fall, prime minister Stephen Harper told a consortium of ethnic media in Vancouver that his government was against the legalization of marijuana citing "trouble at the [U.S.] border" as one of his main reasons.
"I don't want to say they would seal the border. But I think it would inhibit our trade generally because they're certainly not going to make that move in the United States," Harper said, according to the Filipino Post.
"I think as a cross-border phenomenon this would cause Canada a lot of difficulty."
Harper might not be able to use that line of reasoning anymore.
Former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant says that without the border "excuse", Canadian politicos will feel the pressure too.
"For a long time, one of the excuses that's been used for why we shouldn't do anything to change the law in Canada is that we can't get too far ahead of the Americans on this issue. If we were to legalize — so the argument goes — we would antagonize our relationship with law enforcement on the other side of the border," Geoff Plant told the Globe and Mail earlier this week.
"If Initiative 502 passes [in Washington State]… then we're increasingly reaching a point where, in fact, the U.S. law is ahead of Canadian law on this issue. And there's one less reason why Canadian policy makers should insist on the status quo."
Of course, the politicos in Washington DC could theoretically nix a state marijuana law. And in Canada, you have to believe the Harper government will come up with other reasons to resist ending prohibition.
But an affirmative vote in Washington, Oregon or Colarado could be the first step towards legal bud on both sides of the border.
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