B.C. Senator Larry Campbell says prime minister-delegate Justin Trudeau should give it a year to 18 months before legalizing marijuana — to make sure it is done right.  

Trudeau promised to legalize marijuana across Canada 'right away', but hasn't committed to a timeline for legalization. 

Campbell — the former mayor of Vancouver — said there needs to be communication across all three levels of government for the proper roll-out of pot legalization. 

"I don't think it is going to be made in isolation, unlike the previous government there will be a lots of meetings between everybody," said Campbell, who firmly believes in legalization and not decriminalization. 

"Decriminalization sends all the wrong messages, says to our young people that this is a minor traffic ticket" he said. 

Colorado leads the way 

Campbell believes Canada should look to Colorado as an example, which started with years of the regulation of medical marijuana

"They had it well regulated and when change-over came it was virtually seamless," he said. 

He also believes governments should only play a regulatory role.


"Make sure that government enforces the laws around marijuana but lets the private industry handle the growing and marketing of it," he said. 

Canada's current laws are unnecessary and costly, Campbell said.

"The way we are doing business, sending people to jail and giving them criminal records is simply unnecessary and extremely costly and the human toll is enormous," he said. 

"Go to jail for six months for six plants and I don't know anyone who thinks that is reasonable," he said.

While Campbell notes, there are challenges ahead, it is not something Canada should shy away from. 

"We shouldn't be afraid of this," he said, "It's a given that there will be some flaws in the system, nothing is perfect."


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Senator Larry Campbell hopeful pot laws will change soon with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.