Canada has among the highest use of cannabis in the world especially amongst youth.
1 in 5 Canadians between the ages of 15-19 have used cannabis in the previous 12 months (at the time of the study). That increases to almost 1 in 3 between the ages of 20 and 24.
There is a 7 billion dollar black market operating in Canada.
This week Health Canada is meeting with a wide range of professionals to ask them questions and have them present their particular viewpoint on bill the C45 which will legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in Canada.
The objective of the bill is summarized in Clause 7 – this measures are to protect the youth from have access to cannabis and allows the government to reduce the size of the black market (of course with edibles still illegal, 35% of that market can’t be eliminated). It will give Canadians the opportunity to have access to quality controlled cannabis in a regulated marketplace.
This mantra was stressed over and over.
MP John Oliver kicked off the questioning on day one asking Justice Canada reps how this law will protect Canadian youth and the answer of how to deal with youth in possession of 5 grams would be kicked back to the provinces to determine. While an unprecedented 14 years in jail for selling to a minor or using a minor to commit and cannabis related offence.
Justice Canada representative Morency answered that the 5 grams limit is there to protect youth and not impact their lives and mobility across the border.
Oliver, in talking to members of his community has heard that they don’t believe that this will get rid of the black market and the answer back touched on a topic close to our heart and that is the availability of quality and safe product. Supply and variety will be key to lessening the hold of a 100 year old black market. You only have to point to Humboldt county and the amount of black market producers that still dwarf the legal, regulated growers.
There are some particularly partisan viewpoints on display – like from the Pharmaceutical Industry who were there to clearly lobby for the right to distribute cannabis in Canada.