Bill Blair backs legalization of marijuana, defends carding as he seeks Liberal seat

WATCH: Bill Blair discusses the legalization of marijuana and the controversial practice of carding on Global’s The Morning Show.

TORONTO – Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair says he supports the legalization of marijuana in Canada as long as there is a strong regulatory component to it.

“In the regulation of marijuana, then you can control who it is sold to, where it is sold and when it is sold. You can control the price. You can tax the thing,” Blair said during an interview on Global’s The Morning Show Thursday morning.

“You can make sure the decision to not sell it to a 14-year-old is left to a responsible adult, not some gangster in a stairwell.”

READ MORE: Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair wants to run for federal Liberals

Blair, who is currently seeking the federal Liberal nomination in the riding of Scarborough Southwest, said using the criminal model to prohibit the use and trafficking of marijuana isn’t working.

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“If you only use the criminal model, quite frankly you can fail,” Blair explained. “If the only tool you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Frankly, we can do better than that.”

As Toronto’s top cop, Blair said he advocated for changes in the way laws were enforced such as making marijuana possession and use a ticketing offence.

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“The courts and the law enforcement across the country have been reluctant to use that criminal sanction for the possession of marijuana and as a result we haven’t been doing a very good job at our goals,” said Blair.

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“We regulate alcohol in this country. It’s another intoxicant. We control who it is sold to, when it’s sold, and how it is used. And organized crime doesn’t have the opportunity to profit from it.”

READ MORE: Teens decry carding by Toronto police

On the controversial issue of carding, Blair also said he supports its function as a vital policing tool, which used in the proper way, is an effective crime fighting tool.

“It’s the strongest document in support of the Canadian Charter of Rights and the Human Rights Code, people’s privacy interest of any policing policy anywhere in the country, and most people complaining about it haven’t read it,” said Blair.

“It’s a legitimate, legal, necessary appropriate action, but only if it’s done right.”

READ MORE: Chief Saunders vows to remove ‘random’ from profiling, carding practices

Blair said officers are trained not to stop the public based on racial profiling or forms of discrimination.

“If their decision on who to stop is based on bias, racist, if it’s racial profiling, that’s wrong. It’s unlawful,” he said.

“The critics inflate the two notions that policing can potentially lead to racism, and therefore stop policing. We can’t stop policing. We need to police the right way and that’s a bias-free way.”

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VIDEO: Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair comments on why he decided to run for the Liberal nomination for the next federal election.

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