Cannabis Act

An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Sponsor

Status

Report stage (House), as of Nov. 9, 2017

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.

The Act

(a) establishes criminal prohibitions such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis;

(b) enables the Minister to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis, as well as to suspend, amend or revoke those authorizations when warranted;

(c) authorizes persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis if they are authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains certain legislative measures;

(d) prohibits any promotion, packaging and labelling of cannabis that could be appealing to young persons or encourage its consumption, while allowing consumers to have access to information with which they can make informed decisions about the consumption of cannabis;

(e) provides for inspection powers, the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties and the ability to commence proceedings for certain offences by means of a ticket;

(f) includes mechanisms to deal with seized cannabis and other property;

(g) authorizes the Minister to make orders in relation to matters such as product recalls, the provision of information, the conduct of tests or studies, and the taking of measures to prevent non-compliance with the Act;

(h) permits the establishment of a cannabis tracking system for the purposes of the enforcement and administration of the Act;

(i) authorizes the Minister to fix, by order, fees related to the administration of the Act; and

(j) authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting such matters as quality, testing, composition, packaging and labelling of cannabis, security clearances and the collection and disclosure of information in respect of cannabis as well as to make regulations exempting certain persons or classes of cannabis from the application of the Act.

This enactment also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things, increase the maximum penalties for certain offences and to authorize the Minister to engage persons having technical or specialized knowledge to provide advice. It repeals item 1 of Schedule II and makes consequential amendments to that Act as the result of that repeal.

In addition, it repeals Part XII.‍1 of the Criminal Code, which deals with instruments and literature for illicit drug use, and makes consequential amendments to that Act.

It amends the Non-smokers’ Health Act to prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in federally regulated places and conveyances.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
June 8, 2017 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (reasoned amendment)
June 6, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / noon
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have grandchildren. Like the member across the way, I do not want my grandchildren to go in a direction that is unhealthy for them. That is one of the reasons why I think this is good legislation. I do not want some 22-year-old individual trying to sell my grandchild marijuana. If he sells him that little bag of marijuana, he will make money that will go into criminal activities. Millions of dollars go into criminal activities, and that happens today. It is out of concern for my grandchildren and other children that we need this legislation passed.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / noon
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to congratulate the member for Winnipeg North on being nominated for hardest-working MP. Well done, dear colleague.

I have tremendous respect for my colleague, but I would add the caveat that just because a person is hard-working does not mean everything they do is right.

I also want to take this opportunity to remind members that November 5 was municipal elections day in Quebec. The 28 municipalities in the beautiful riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier voted in a mix of new officials and re-elected incumbents. The day after the elections, I wasted no time in congratulating the mayors and councillors. However, a warning was in order as well. In eight months' time, these municipal councillors and mayors will have a problem to deal with. These elected officials will be responsible for making sure life goes on in their municipalities after July 1, 2018. They will have decisions to make. They will have to keep an eye on their parks. What will be happening around schools?

My colleague said earlier that 12-year-olds could be walking around with drugs in their pockets. We must not forget that children are more impressionable than adults. I am deeply troubled.

Municipal elected officials will also have to look at what this means for highway safety codes. Those are under provincial jurisdiction, but municipalities do have local responsibilities. Recently, the Government of Quebec enacted legislation giving municipalities additional responsibilities, including speed limits in residential areas. Municipalities handle that. What a gift for our newly elected officials.

I take no pleasure in rising in the House today to speak to a Liberal bill that will destroy our youth, theact respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts.

I was talking about municipalities. We also have to talk about the other level of government, the provincial government, which will have to deal with all these problems in return for a portion of the federal government's revenues from legalizing this product.

Many studies have made it abundantly clear that using marijuana affects people's health, especially the health of our young people. We must not forget that health is under provincial jurisdiction.

We also have to talk about road safety. We have no idea how our hard-working police officers are going to enforce that. There has been talk of training and investment, even of sending people to the United States for training. Nobody is ready for this. We should be taking our time.

As for personnel management, the Quebec minister of labour does not know what to do about the problem. People will be going to work after using drugs. It is a lot harder to verify people's state after they use drugs than after they drink. This is just one more thing being downloaded onto the provinces.

A university president from the Quebec City area asked how they are supposed to deal with this and manage it on campus. A myriad questions remain unanswered, and yet the government is fixated on one thing: July 1, 2018. Why is there such a rush to get this bill into law?

I recognize that drug use exists and that we need to do something. However, just because the government cannot control an existing problem does not mean that we should trivialize and legalize it. We should be taking more responsible steps and taking the time to come up with better solutions. I do not think this is the right way to tackle the problem.

We need to work on prevention. We need to encourage our youth to play sports and get involved in the arts and in their community. Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier has 500 organizations. Their problem right now is that they cannot renew their membership lists or find new volunteers.

Why has the federal government not developed a program to encourage our youth to get involved in their community? When they are involved in sports, dancing, singing, or arts and crafts, whatever the activity, that is all they think about. They do not have time for mischief or smoking marijuana.

The government opposite outlined specific purposes in the legislation. They are:

a) protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis;

However, it will be sold everywhere. Furthermore, people will have easy access from home since they will be allowed to grow their own pot plants. I will continue:

b) protect young persons and others from inducements to use cannabis;

Once again, it will be available everywhere. Here is the the third purpose:

c) provide for the licit production of cannabis to reduce illicit activities in relation to cannabis;

In other words, the government is saying that it will kill organized crime, but the Canadian Police Association said that it was naive to believe that organized crime activity could be restrained, reduced, or influenced. That is the word the Canadian Police Association used to describe this government. Then, the bill goes on:

(d) deter illicit activities in relation to cannabis through appropriate sanctions and enforcement measures;

Young people from 12 to 17 will apparently be able to go around with 5 grams of marijuana, which is the equivalent of 10 to 15 joints depending on their size. I will keep reading:

(e) reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis;

Yes, we agree on decriminalization, but let us make the distinction between decriminalization and legalization. All 338 members of Parliament probably made some mistakes in their youth. It is certainly better to pay a fine, as we do for speeding, than it is to have a criminal record. The bill goes on:

(f) provide access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis; and

(g) enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use.

The government is saying that marijuana is not good for people's health, but it is going to legalize it. The government is saying that people should not use it, but it is going to put measures in place that will make it more accessible to our young people. I rise in the House today to protect our young people. That is important for any self-respecting society. It is naive to think that this is going to get rid of organized crime.

My goal is to protect young people under 25. All studies show that the brain development is complete by age 25. Why put young people between the ages of 18 and 25 at risk? The government is treating our young people like lab rats. We are the first G20 country that wants to legalize this drug. Why? We will become a testing ground and that is unacceptable. We are sacrificing a generation. That shows a lack of respect for our young people and makes it seem the government does not believe in the future of our country.

This government is here for the wrong reasons. It is spending money hand over fist and now has backed itself into a corner, so it is looking for a way to make some fast cash. First, that is an irresponsible way for a government to behave, because it has no vision. Second, it is using our young people to fill its coffers. The government has failed to mention what the cost of the consequences will be. We need to take the time to find a more respectful solution.

Even the tax is set out in budget 2017. We are wasting our time here today. The Liberals want this measure to take effect on July 1, 2018, and they did not agree to any of the amendments proposed by the NPD. They are looking forward to July 1, when they can raise some money for the friends of Pierre Elliott Trudeau's heir, our famous Prime Minister.

It does not take a genius to understand that this government is implementing measures that will take money out of the pockets of Canadians and harm our young people. That is unacceptable. This government needs to listen to reason. I am calling on the government to take more time before implementing this legislation, to be serious, and to show some respect for our young people. I am rising today on behalf of our youth.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to begin by simply advising the member that I spent most of my adult life fighting crime, and crime and violence can be reduced in our society, but not through tough talk, through smart action.

I also wanted to clarify something. The member opposite said that he supports decriminalization. I suggest to him that we have recognized the harm that can be visited on young people from being criminalized by getting a criminal record. That is why we have set limits. For example, if a young person under the age of 18 has more than five grams of marijuana, that would be a criminal offence. However, below that, we have worked with the provinces and territories so they could enact provincial legislation that would enforce an absolute prohibition on the possession, purchase, and consumption of cannabis. In every province, a provincial offence would prohibit a person under the age of majority in that province from possessing cannabis. It would give the police the authority to seize that cannabis and ticket for that offence. What it would not do is give that kid a criminal record.

I have spoken to people on both sides of this House, and we all care about our kids. We care about their health, their safety, and their outcomes. One of the greatest impediments to their outcomes is that criminal record. This government has listened to that, and have done exactly what the member wants us to do. We have removed the threat of a criminal sanction from those kids, but we have enforced the prohibition through smart provincial regulation, exactly as we do for alcohol, by the way.

If we look at those provincial regulations coming forward, we see that we would be getting exactly what the member thinks is the right thing to do. Does it ease the member's concern knowing that is happening? Does it ease his concern with respect to young people having prohibited access to this drug?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I am aware of my colleague’s past, and I am surprised and disappointed with his position.

He is saying that, because the penalties imposed on young people in the past had no effect, we should give up. That means that we are unable to curb the distribution and sale of drugs.

Mr. Speaker, correct me if I should not be saying this, but that is a cowardly approach. It is unacceptable, because it means shirking our responsibilities. Instead of dealing with the problem, we are legalizing marijuana because we are unable to take control of the situation. That means that, if there are other problems in society, we will simply say that, because we are unable to take control, because we cannot find a solution, we will give up and open the door wide. It is irresponsible.

Unfortunately, I did not really understand the question, because it was too long, but I hope I answered it to my colleague’s satisfaction.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will return to what my colleague has just said about criminalization. All the studies show that criminalization and the longer minimum sentences implemented by the Conservatives for cannabis-related offences have not worked. They have not reduced drug use in young people, and they have not reduced the involvement of organized crime in the sale of cannabis.

On the contrary, according to the statistics on drug-related offences reported by the police in 2014, one year after the Conservatives’ repressive laws were passed, cases of methamphetamine possession rose by 38% and trafficking by 17%, while cases of heroine possession rose by 34% and trafficking by 12%. The minimum sentences did not work, the war on drugs was unsuccessful. Why do the Conservatives not want us to adopt and implement a new strategy, an approach based on public health? Right now, the number one drug, the most commonly used drug in Canada and throughout the world, is cannabis. The people who use cannabis the most are young people between the ages of 12 and 25. We need a new strategy to continue to work with young people and improve prevention. Obviously, there are shortcomings in the bill we are debating, but we can work on these shortcomings and make improvements.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague had really listened to what I said, she would see that I agree that there is a problem and we need to find solutions. Decriminalization is not a magic wand to solve all our drug-related problems, but it is a step in the right direction. Now, let us take the time to determine the best way to proceed.

What I said earlier is that we need to protect young people aged 25 and under and set up a prevention program. In fact, I might not have said it because I was short of time, but I included it in my speech. We need to establish a prevention program, a program to encourage young people to become involved in sports, the arts and volunteering, and put in place the means to eliminate the distribution of drugs to young people.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to engage in this debate. Bill C-45 is, of course, the bill that would legalize marijuana in Canada.

When we talk about legalization, we have to understand what this legislation would do. It would normalize the use of marijuana in everyday life across Canada. Like cigarettes, which were normalized many years ago, and the same with booze, marijuana would now become an accepted part of Canadian life. The message we send to our children would be a terrible one. It is one that says we give up, we surrender, because we are no longer going take action to eliminate the use of marijuana and other drugs in our society. We are simply going to go, as my colleague said, the coward's way: acquiesce and legalize it.

I am absolutely confident that Bill C-45, which represents the normalization of the use of marijuana in Canada, would become a massive public policy failure for the Liberal government, just like its tax reforms, where it attacks small businesses, diabetics, those who are getting employee discounts, and the mentally ill. That has become a massive policy failure, and Bill C-45 would also become a massive policy failure for the reasons I will articulate.

The bill would effectively legalize the sale, use, and cultivation of marijuana. As I said, it would normalize its use. We have worked so hard as a society to discourage cigarette smoking, and yet here we are opening the door to what is arguably an even more dangerous substance. The irony is that the current government, while it would pass the bill to legalize the use of marijuana, would then engage in a public relations and communications strategy telling young people who would be purchasing marijuana that they should not buy it because it is very dangerous and they should not use it, but it would be legalized and normalized. I mean, the hypocrisy of that is jaw-dropping.

I was an elected official in the City of Abbotsford for many years. I was very pleased to serve there as a city councillor. I can tell members that, as a council, one of the biggest challenges we had was the growing of marijuana plants at home. Many of these were illegal grow ops. Eventually, medicinal marijuana was approved for use in Canada, and homes are now growing this under the auspices of providing some kind of medicinal relief. What has happened is that we have communities and neighbourhoods within Abbotsford that are wonderful neighbourhoods, but they have houses in which marijuana is grown. Historically, they would cover the windows with foil, and the stench emanating from those properties was overwhelming. There was a constant stream of neighbourhood members who would come to us council members and complain about it.

This bill would authorize the growing of marijuana plants at home. I can assure members that many Canadians, unfortunately, will take that opportunity to grow more than the four plants that would be allowed under the proposed legislation. This would result in continued challenges with our neighbourhoods across Canada.

There was a stated objective of the government that it wanted to protect youth, and that the regulation and legalization of marijuana would achieve that end. The Liberals stated that they also wanted to eliminate organized crime, but we know that children under the age of 18 are not supposed to be buying marijuana. Anyone over the age of 18, under the proposed legislation, would be able to legally purchase and consume marijuana, but those under the age of 18 would not. Ironically, those between the ages of 12 and 17 would be allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana. Where would they acquire that marijuana? They cannot buy it legally. Who are they going to go to? Well, organized crime would supply that drug.

There is a bigger problem. All of the medical and and scientific research says that marijuana use among young people has a very negative impact on their developing young brains.

Why would the Liberal government want to legalize a drug that we know will be used by our youth in increasing numbers, because it will be that much more available to them? Why would we allow this to happen when it is very clear from the medical literature that the use of marijuana amongst young people invariably leads to significant mental health issues? In fact, I am predicting that if this legislation passes, in 5, 10, 15 years from now, Canada will face a mental health crisis. All of these youth who have had greater access to marijuana will be suffering from significant mental health challenges. What a terrible legacy for us to leave for our children.

I want to address the issue of the timing of this legislation. As we know, the Prime Minister has said he is going to ram this thing through and implement the legislation by July 1, 2018. However, we have heard from police chiefs across Canada that it is impossible for them to get ready and implement this legislation with all the challenges this bill represents. We have heard from communities across the country, including from my own city of Abbotsford, which communicated with the federal government, made a submission to the committee that studied this bill, and said, “Please, you cannot do this by July 1”. The provinces and territories are saying to the Prime Minister that July 1 is way too ambitious a date to implement this plan by, that they will not be ready for it. Their police services will not be ready, their educational system will not be ready, and Canadians will not be ready for it.

Generally speaking, it is going to result in a fiasco. However, that is what we have to expect from the Liberal government. Whatever file it touches, it it ends up being a huge mess. That includes ethical failures like those of the finance minister and the Prime Minister and his fundraiser having offshore accounts. No one trusts the government anymore. There has been a fundamental breach of trust.

Let us look at some of the other challenges. I want to be very clear that we support ticketing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. We are supportive of decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana. We do not want to leave young children with a criminal record.

However, this bill goes far beyond decriminalization. It is clear-cut legalization of the use of marijuana and the normalization that will follow. We run a huge risk as we normalize the use of marijuana in Canada, where people will be entitled by law to possess small amounts of marijuana. Many Canadians will be travelling. They will have used marijuana regularly. They will have some of it in their glove compartments. When they get to the U.S. border, suddenly the border agents will be asking, “Hey, what do you have in your car? Do you have any guns or drugs?” People will say, “No, we do not.” The agents will rifle through the car and find marijuana in the glove compartment. Those people will probably be apprehended on the American side of the border. They will have a criminal record on that side of the border. They will have to go through the legal process there. That is one of the many small consequences the bill will generate.

Finally, it is very clear that the government has run out of money. That is why it is taxing Canadians to death. It has gone after small businesses, diabetics, employee discounts, the mentally ill, and now it is going after marijuana. The government is going to tax marijuana. More and more, it is because the government is running short of money. Can members imagine that being the reason for passing a bill like this that will have enormous consequences for Canadians?

I say to my Liberal friends across the way in closing that they should give their heads a shake and reconsider what they are doing here. This is bad policy that will hurt future generations of Canadians. They should not do it.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments by the member for Abbotsford. We get along great at the environment committee and had a great discussion this morning.

Regrettably, I see some challenges with what he has presented here today. In particular, he talked about normalizing the use of cannabis. Is he aware of the fact that 21% of our youth have used marijuana? Is he aware of the fact that 30% of young adults use marijuana? What more is required for him to realize it is already a problem?

He then talked about access to cannabis, particularly the access of young children to cannabis, and how it will somehow give rise to the criminal activity behind production and distribution. How many of these young people are getting alcohol brewed at home, or tobacco that has been grown and dried at home and rolled into cigarettes? It simply will not work like that.

The reality of the situation is that when we have legalized it and regulated its production, and when we can start to properly inform and educate children about the challenges involved, as we have done with cigarettes, we will be so much more successful. I am not creating a brand new scenario here. This has already been the case. We have already seen this happen with alcohol and tobacco. We have had a much higher success rate at keeping those out of the hands of children.

Would the member like to respond to the fact that so many youth are already experimenting with cannabis?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did want to reiterate what my colleague said. We do work very well at committee and get a lot of things done, which indicates there is a lot of goodwill around the environment committee table.

He has suggested that a significant percentage of Canadian youth already use drugs to some degree. He is right. Therefore, the member asked if this was not already a problem. Yes, it is.

This bill would make that problem much worse for the reasons I articulated. Just because there are youth who have been using it illegally, like our Prime Minister did, it does not mean it is good for them or that we should normalize its use. It means we should find new and creative ways of discouraging the use of marijuana.

The irony is that with this bill, the government's legalization of the use of marijuana will increase marijuana use amongst our youth at the same time the government is establishing a policy to communicate with youth telling them not to use marijuana. The hypocrisy is jaw dropping.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. However, I often have difficulty understanding the Conservatives’ logic when it comes to finding solutions to problems. Often, their first reaction is to say that all the answers are in the Criminal Code. They want to criminalize everything, as though that would solve the problem.

My other colleague even drew a parallel with cigarettes by talking about the awareness campaigns, which, statistics have shown, enabled us, over time, to reduce tobacco use without having to criminalize the toxic substance.

I therefore wonder why we should not use the same approach with cannabis that we used with cigarettes; in other words, legalize it and launch awareness campaigns to reduce its use.

Since it worked for cigarettes, why would it not work for cannabis?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will say this. The member suggested that we in the Conservative Party want to make the use of marijuana criminal. Here is a news flash: the use and selling of marijuana in Canada is illegal right now. We want to preserve the state of the law as it is. The best thing we can do, something that has been resisted by the NDP and the Liberals for time immemorial, is to come up with targeted mandatory minimum prison sentences for those who produce and sell marijuana, especially those who sell marijuana to our youth. I articulated in my speech the terrible impact that marijuana use has on the young developing brain. Therefore, we should be going after the predators who produce the stuff and sell it to our kids, rather than simply saying that we should give up and normalize it. That is a backward solution.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour and privilege to represent my beautiful community of Langley—Aldergrove. I want to thank the member for Abbotsford for his hard work over the many years, representing his community well. He brought up many good and important points. I hope the government is listening.

I want to congratulate the parliamentary secretary for being recognized for having spoken more words in Parliament than anyone else. What a great record. He sure talks.

The parliamentary secretary asked where the facts were coming from. If the government does not know where the facts come from, we have a problem. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Canadians are concerned with the government and why they are losing trust in it. The decisions the Liberals make are not logical.

The member for Abbotsford addressed the national issue of too many young people using marijuana. It is a problem when 21% of children use it.

I took a one-week bike training course with the RCMP. I wanted to be with RCMP members as they travelled into parks. I wanted to see how they dealt with the issue of drugs. It was being confiscated from youths because it was bad for them. The officers also took their names. Yes, it is illegal. Yes, 21% of youth using it. It is a problem. I was very proud of how they handled the situation.

I agree with the member for Abbotsford that it should be decriminalized and that it should be a ticketable offence rather than a criminal offence. However, right now it is illegal and we have a problem.

The government is talks about the 21% of children and 30% of young adults. Young adults are on my youth advisory board. These are bright young people who, hopefully, will be our leaders in the years to come. I did not ask what percentage of them were using cannabis. I asked them what they thought of the government's goal to have it legalized by July 1, and they all smiled. I asked if they thought the Liberals were on the right track. Almost all their hands went up and they all wanted to have input. Overwhelmingly they criticized the government.

Young people from all political persuasions sit on the youth advisory board. I did not want just Conservatives, I wanted a full spectrum representing our community of Langley—Aldergrove. They said that the government should not be moving so fast, that it should be listening to the different police forces across Canada, and that It should be listening to health authorities across Canada, all saying that Canada was not ready for this.

The Prime Minister may have smoked some joints or been in the room where joints were being smoked while he was the leader of the opposition, which is inappropriate. However, because we can do something does not mean we should do something. The youth advisory board overwhelmingly said that the government should slow down the process. It is a problem, so it needs to educate youth on the risks associated with it. That is how we dealt with the tobacco problem, and it has been quite successful.

Past governments maybe should have done more to address this through education. Maybe there should have been research on what the medical benefits were from marijuana, because it is a problem. The logic of the government is that we have a problem, so let us legalize it and that will solve it.

In criminology, one can determine what somebody is likely to do by past behaviour. It is the same in psychology. It is common sense; it is logic. Therefore, why not look at what has happened in other jurisdictions that have legalizing marijuana? Did it make things better or worse? Actually, it made things way worse. The criminal connection to the distribution of pot has increased in Colorado. These are the facts and the research that has been done.

In the years since it was legalized in Colorado, the state has seen an increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths, in poison control calls for aid, and in emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. Numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.

Dr. Harry Bull, superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, said, “We were promised funds from marijuana taxes that would benefit our communities, particularly schools.” This superintendent is in charge of one of the largest school districts in the United States. He went on to say, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”

I have been with the police bike unit and also in police cars. I have seen how officers professionally protect our communities, how they try to keep our communities safe in practical, realistic ways, and how they confiscate.

The government is proposing that if somebody is driving a car with some buddies in it and there is an open bottle of alcohol in that vehicle, if the care is stopped by the police, the police can confiscate that open bottle of alcohol. However, if police officers stop a car that has four people in it and marijuana is found, every one of in the car can legally have 30 grams of marijuana, or 60 joints. That is 240 joints in total.

It is illogical to say that this is the way we will fight the problem or this how we will fight organized crime. The parliamentary secretary said that too many criminals wanted young people to use pot but the government did not. Therefore, the Liberal government is going to compete with the criminal element. The Liberals will ensure that the quality of the pot is good and people can have lots of it. The Liberals are saying that anybody aged 18 and older can have 60 joints. If it were a child, the Liberals would confiscate it. Under this legislation, children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be able to have five grams, which is 10 joints. What the government is saying is illogical.

We should learn from others who have made mistakes. The government has proposed that we go way beyond what Colorado did. Our roads will be less safe and there will be more deaths, yet the Liberals are rushing the legislation through before there is any technology to determine drug-impaired driving.

We just dealt with Bill C-46. How will the government get tough when somebody gets killed by a drunk driver? There will be a fine of at least $1,000 for driving drunk and killing somebody. The second offence will result in at least 10 days in jail, a 30-day sentence for killing the second time. What the government has proposed is bizarre. Our communities will be less safe. This is wrong.

I would remind the government that just because a government can do something does not mean that it should.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the unfortunate attempts of my colleague across the aisle to show that there is a problem by trying to explain why we need to decriminalize cannabis.

In other words, he is telling parents and Canadians in his riding and mine, among others, that there is no problem, we will leave the profits to organized crime. We will just give offenders a small fine and reduce the penalty.

By what lack of logic can they promote the status quo? They have done nothing for 10 years, and they admit that it is a problem. By what twisted logic can they explain to parents in our ridings that we prefer to keep organized crime in charge rather than taking control as we are doing?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite wrong to insult police chiefs and health professionals and say that is bombast. There is a problem. The solution the government is proposing and stubbornly moving ahead with is wrong. Canadians and professionals are telling the government that it is wrong, asking it to please reconsider what it is doing.

As the official opposition, we will work with the government, if it listens to Canadians, the police chiefs, and the health care professionals and does the right thing. We would support that. However, what it is doing now is foolish and wrong.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must address what was just said, because my colleague is offering no solution. In fact, he thinks that the status quo will do the job. In his opinion, allowing marijuana to remain illegal, as it has been for decades, works. How can he offer the status quo as a solution?

Can my colleague at least acknowledge that what his government did for 10 years did nothing to improve the situation? In fact, the situation got worse, since cannabis use increased over the 10-year period in which his government was in power.

How can he stand up today and say he wants to reduce cannabis use, while the strategy his government used for 10 years did absolutely nothing? In fact, it made things worse. How does he explain this?