moved for leave to introduce Bill C-359, An Act to amend the Contraventions Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (marihuana).
Mr. Speaker, the war on drugs has been a complete failure. It has not reduced the crime rate, it has not reduced drug use, nor has it saved lives or money. The status quo only benefits organized crime gangs and the insurgents in faraway Afghanistan. These are the parasites that benefit from the status quo.
This bill would decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams and the possession of two or fewer plants. It would sever the ties between the casual user and organized crime gangs. It would eliminate demand for their product and significantly undermine the financial underpinnings of organized crime gangs in Canada.
Possession would still be illegal but people would receive fines rather than going through the expensive judicial system. The money saved could be used to apply to the headstart program to prevent children from using drugs and to fund initiatives such as the NAOMI project, the North American opiate medication initiative.
Study after study has shown that decriminalizing marijuana is the right thing to do. Churches, police groups and others have supported it, including many studies from this House. As a physician, I have seen the ravages of drug use. The status quo only increases harm and drug use.
What I hope happens through this bill is that we can move toward a rational and mature debate on substance abuse so that people who have substance abuse problems are treated as a medical problem and organized crime gangs are treated as a judicial problem.
In medicine, we have a saying, “Do no harm”. Let us do no harm and pass this bill forthwith.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)