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If your objectives are to protect public health and safety, keep marijuana out of the hands of minors and cut illegal profits flowing to organized crime—then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure.
Law enforcement agencies in Canada spend an estimated $2-3 billion a year trying to fight pot, yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world. And criminals walk away with $7-8 billion every year in illicit proceeds. We have to do better.
From the very beginning, health and safety objectives have been in the forefront of our approach to cannabis. The new legislation we introduced last week reflects that—to do a better job of protecting our kids and fighting crime.
We have benefited from the thorough, balanced and thoughtful advice of an Expert Task Force which gathered the best available data, medical and legal input, the experiences of other jurisdictions around the world and the views of a vast array of Canadians. Our proposals are in line with their recommendations.
The new law would create a strong framework for legalizing, strictly regulating and restricting the use of cannabis:
In tandem with Canada's new legal framework for cannabis, the government is also renovating the law dealing with impaired driving of all kinds.
Beyond a vigorous effort to raise public awareness about the deadliness of such reckless conduct, we are providing law enforcement agencies with clearer laws, better technologies (including new roadside oral testing devices), stronger and more expeditious procedures (including better access to blood tests), more training and other resources, and tougher penalties to deal appropriately with offenders—and to keep Canada's roadways and communities safe.
Our entire legislative package is now before the House of Commons. For more detailed information about all our proposed measures with respect to cannabis, as well as impaired driving, please go to: www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/justice/legalization-regulation-marijuana.html.
To date, I am pleased to see encouraging reactions from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the Canadian Automobile Association, professional organizations representing nurses and pharmacists, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), many prominent academic authorities and others.
We believe our proposals represent the best approach to promote health and safety, protect our kids and combat crime. But they also represent very big change.
Something this large and transformational needs to be managed with care. We are anxious to continue working with provincial, territorial, municipal and private sector partners to achieve a successful and orderly transition to the new regime. Our target is July of next year.
In the meantime, the existing law (as deficient as it has been) needs to be respected. This is not a free-for-all.
Minister of Public Safety
Post date: 2017-04-25 00:06:03
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