Perspectives – January 30 – February 1, 2018

Senate begins the review of Bill C-45 (legalization of marijuana) and Bill C-46 (impaired driving). The Official Opposition in the Senate wishes to be mindful of the wide-reaching implications of the legalization of marijuana on: youth, mental health, the US border, workplace safety, transportation, law enforcement and the burden of enforcement responsibilities for provinces, territories and municipalities.

This week, Senator Victor Oh hosted a panel on the health implications of the use of cannabis. The Senator stressed the importance of examinations, in particular on the significant impact on the health of children and youth in Canada. He stressed the need to take serious caution, rather than an impulsive approach to avoid unintended consequences.

Doctors Michael Reider and Christina Grant appeared as witnesses on the panel to raise their concerns with the legislation. Dr. Reider commented on the legal age of consumption from a scientist’s perspective, arguing that it should be 25 years.

Dr. Grant argued that because young people’s brains continue to develop into their mid-20s, legislators should be cautioned of the long-lasting life effects of early use of cannabis.

Dr. Reider raised concern with the provisions related to personal plant cultivation at home, in particular for parents with young children. On this matter, we should note that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police strongly recommends against in-home production and that any provisions related to personal cultivation be removed.

As Parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to protect Canada’s youth.

Thank you to Senator Oh for hosting this panel.