Warm Up

  • What is marijuana?
  • Is it legal or illegal in your country?
  • How does its use in your country compare to its use in other countries?
  • Where is marijuana legal? Do you think that’s a good idea?


  • intensify
  • repeal
  • recreational use
  • regulates
  • ban
  • reignited
  • reform
  • followed suit
  • ensuring
  • profit


Political debate over marijuana legalization heats up

Mark Kennedy


The political debate over marijuana legalization in Canada could soon intensify, following a New York Times editorial that calls for the U.S. federal government to repeal its 44-year ban on pot.

The influential newspaper, which says the question of legalization should be left up to individual U.S. states, is running a six-day series on the issue, and has reignited a hot debate among Americans.

It concluded that the ban has inflicted “great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.”

The editorial comes as some U.S. states reform pot laws. Marijuana for recreational use went on sale in Colorado Jan. 1, and Washington followed suit this month. Oregon and Alaska will vote on the matter in November.

Here in Canada, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau favours a system of legalization that regulates the sale of pot and keeps it out of the hands of minors.

The Liberals argue it’s a “smarter” way to dealing with the issue because it would take away the pot market from organized crime and gangs, while also ensuring a better system of addressing the effects of marijuana use on individual health and communities.

Deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale said in an interview Monday that he welcomes the New York Times editorial.

“All of the profit is ending up in the hands of gangs and society is no healthier and no safer. So surely there is room for intelligent discussion about how to do it better.”


  • What did the New York Times editorial say? What is this expected to do in Canada?
  • Justin Trudeau and his party support legalizing marijuana. Why?


  • What do you think?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?

Your teacher will put you into two groups. One will read an argument for marijuana, and one will read an argument against.

After you read, talk to your group and try to summarize the arguments. We will then share the ideas.