Cannabis Act

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

Sponsor

Status

Considering amendments (House), as of June 13, 2018

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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

Nov. 27, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 27, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (recommittal to a committee)
Nov. 21, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 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
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 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, once again, we have been committed to working closely with the provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders. As indicated, we have a committee that meets every three weeks with the provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders to make sure we are properly prepared for when this bill receives royal assent and we can move forward.

We are absolutely committed to working with our indigenous communities and, once again, we are working closely with them. We continue to have dedicated discussions to share information and understand the unique indigenous perspectives when it comes to this bill. Again, we have been working closely with them for the past two years, and we will continue to do so to ensure we can have timely passage of this bill.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the question posed by my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni. The minister says she is talking with indigenous leaders and ministers of health and justice from across the country repeatedly. However, they are still very unhappy, as are police chiefs, about the lack of time to implement this extremely complicated move to legalize marijuana. This is a huge download on the provinces and territories.

How can the Minister of Health say she is consulting when she is still refusing to give provinces and territories more time and has shut down debate in this House? It is undemocratic and unfair.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I can absolutely confirm that we are consulting with provinces and territories and indigenous leaders. Just last month, I had my first provincial and territorial meetings that were held in Alberta, and also our indigenous leaders were there. We had a wholesome discussion with respect to the issue of this bill. With respect to the consultation approach, we are absolutely full out and doing that.

We have to recognize that the current approach to cannabis is not working, and that is why there is urgency in moving forward. We recognize that Canadian youth right now have access to cannabis, and we want to legalize, strictly regulate, and control access to ensure that our children will not have access to cannabis. That is exactly why we are moving forward with respect to this process.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

I am pleased to rise today to once again speak to an issue that I, and many Canadians, care deeply about. I am thankful to be given the privilege to speak to Bill C-45 at third reading. This is a piece of legislation that addresses an issue very close to me. Today I am going to speak to why I oppose Bill C-45.

First and foremost, marijuana is a dangerous drug. The Liberal government should not push through this legislation. This is not what is right for Canadians. In theory, the purpose of this bill is to protect public health and public safety. In practice, Bill C-45 will not achieve this goal. One of the main concerns regarding this legislation is accessibility to drugs. Bill C-45 does not keep marijuana out of the hands of children. It allows it to be grown in households. If marijuana is in people's homes, what message is that sending to our kids? This legislation does not keep our children healthy and/or safe. I hear from concerned constituents almost every day who are confused about this legislation and are worried about what it means for their families. The Liberal government cannot recklessly continue to push through this legislation.

We know that marijuana is a dangerous drug. We know that it is damaging to the human body and addictive. We know it causes harmful effects on youth brain development and greater incidents of psychosis and schizophrenia. However, despite all of these side effects, the Liberal government is set to ensure that marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018.

I oppose this legislation entirely. I choose to listen to the concerns raised by the scientists, doctors, and law enforcement officials. I want to advocate for the voices that are not being heard with respect to this legislation, those who say it is being rushed through without proper planning or consideration for the negative consequences of such complicated legislation.

The passing of Bill C-45 would lead to negative repercussions at the global level. I have spoken before to this concern, but it is an important one. If this legislation passes, Canada will be in violation of three international treaties. Therefore, how can Canada hold other countries to account on their treaty obligations when Canada does not honour its own?

There are various issues regarding this legislation, which has led me to conclude that it is thoughtless, irresponsible, and rushed. The only goal it has is to reach the arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2018. The Liberal government is not listening to the medical professionals. It is not listening to our police forces. It is not even listening to the concerned Canadians, who believe that this bill is fundamentally flawed and is being rushed through Parliament in order to meet this arbitrary and irresponsible deadline. For these reasons, and many more, I am entirely opposed to this legislation. The science is clear that marijuana is dangerous.

I want to touch further on the issues with respect to our children and families. The last thing we want is youth consumption to increase. We do not want our children to have increased risks of mental health disorders. We should be setting up our children to succeed. When it comes to youth, I know we all want to ensure they are safe, able to have a better life, and have more opportunities than we did. Bill C-45 will not help us achieve this goal for our children. Allowing easier access to drugs will not leave our children better off.

Currently, the bill recommends the age of 18 as the federal minimum. However, the provinces are being given the power to set a higher age. This is problematic. If we talk to our southern neighbours, the United States, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana and set 21 as the minimum age. Ontario presently says it will set the minimum age at 19 and Alberta at 21. We know this is not safe. Countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25. According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana under the age of 25.

The government cannot go through with this. Is this what we want for our children? I have said it before and will say it again. This is most certainly not what I want for my children. This is not what I want for my constituents and this is not what I want for Canadians.

For these reasons, the Canadian Medical Association and various other medical professionals recommended increasing the age a person can consume marijuana to 21 at the very least. As it stands, the government will fail our children if it goes through with this legislation. The government claims that this legislation will control the drug, but in reality it will allow its use to become out of control.

The vast majority of witnesses at the health committee spoke strongly against home grown marijuana in their testimony, including most medical groups and the police forces that appeared. Allowing home grown marijuana will most certainly not help us to regulate the industry. Further, police have said at the health committee that because they cannot see inside homes, they will be unable to enforce a plant per household quota. Even more concerning is that a large network of legal home grows could easily become an organized crime network, and this could happen next door to anyone.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. We are parliamentarians. We are representatives of our constituents and we need to ensure that all voices are heard. People are concerned about this drug. We as elected officials can and should provide guidance on this drug to reflect the views of all Canadians. When it comes to health and safety, Canadians deserve the best. This legislation is not what is best for Canadians.

There are only 218 days to go until the arbitrary date of July 1, 2018. Let me be clear: let us not rush through this legislation. We need to do what is right for Canadians. The provinces, the municipalities, and police forces are not ready to implement this legislation. I cannot support Bill C-45.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, when the Conservatives stand up, they consistently talk about there being a problem if the bill passes, but they fail to recognize that the problem is there today. We have a serious problem with cannabis consumption by our youth. Their usage is recognized as among the highest in the world.

In my constituency and all constituencies there are criminal elements that go into our schools to sell marijuana to our children, to 12-, 14-, and 15-year olds. We finally have a government that has taken a proactive approach to deal with the issue. We have a government that made a commitment in the last election to do exactly what it is doing today. It is a part of the election platform. We are stepping forward and trying to resolve some very complicated issues.

Would the member across the way not recognize that the status quo just does not work? The numbers and what is happening to our young people in our schools today—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, there is a huge problem, but we are going to make it worse. This is the main concern of police officers and the Canadian Medical Association. Everyone spoke against it. For example, if marijuana plants are allowed to grow in homes and on every street corner, marijuana will be available. People could go to Shopper's Drug Mart and it would be available. This is making the overall situation worse. Yes, there is a problem, but the Liberals are making it worse down the road.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, earlier this week, I had representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities sit down and have a chat with me. One of their major concerns is the pace of the legalization of marijuana and how communities themselves have a lot of work to do to prepare. I wonder if the member could share with the House whether he shares those concerns and how the government needs to support communities in this process.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, indeed, there is a problem. There are many problems. I was speaking to our local police chief. He was wondering when we are going to train our police officers. It costs $10,000 to train one police officer. Where is the money going to come from? What happens when kids go to school stoned, having eaten the wrong brownies from the kitchen? All those questions and concerns are not being addressed. The whole process has not been well thought through by the Liberals.

There is no rush. I would ask them to please take their time. The arbitrary date of July 1, 2018, is simply unacceptable to us, and it is unacceptable to Canadians.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Madam Speaker, we have heard a lot of reasons why not to legalize marijuana. What is the rush? When I was door knocking back in 2015, we hit about 25,000 doors. I can count on two hands the number of times I talked to people who said they were going to vote Liberal because they would legalize marijuana.

We have heard that doctors are against it. Police are against it. Firefighters are against it. Insurance people, etc., are against it. Does he have any idea why the Liberals would do this, when no one wanted it? What is the rush?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, we did a round table in my riding, and 98% disagreed with the government. Ninety-eight per cent said that we are going to make the situation worse.

The one thing that crossed my mind is that the Liberal government is so broke that it is looking for a couple of bucks, another half-billion or billion dollars.

The Liberals are forgetting that there is a cost attached to this issue. More money will be needed for health care, policing, schooling, and everywhere else. There is a cost involved. Most of the provinces and municipalities are doing all the work. Meanwhile, the Liberal government is looking for more cash, because it is broke.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for splitting his time with me.

The third reading stage is our last chance to thoroughly review the imminent tragedy that will forever stand as the legacy of the Liberal Party of Canada under the current Prime Minister. I am speaking, of course, of the legalization, or should I say normalization, of drug use in Canada.

This is all so sad. Not only will marijuana be normalized, but families will be rent apart, bonds will be broken, children will be cast into an abyss of darkness and misery, and parents, faced with this sad, new reality, will be left with nowhere to turn. That is what is going to happen in Canada, and it will forever be this Prime Minister's legacy.

At the end of my speech, I will cite facts to demonstrate that the picture I have just painted is not the product of an overactive imagination, but an actual fact that is being observed in other parts of the world at this very moment, and not far from here.

We are almost at the final step. Regrettably, marijuana could be become legal in roughly six months. Municipalities and provinces are grappling with the implementation of this policy and the raft of problems that come with it.

How much progress has my home province of Quebec made so far? Police officers are not ready. According to a recent article, the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec is concerned about the shortage of evaluation officers in Quebec's municipal police forces. The president of the federation, Robin Côté, put it this way:

Obviously, what we need is more properly trained evaluation officers. At this moment in time, it does not look like the ratio of evaluation officers will be high enough on July 1.

What does that mean? It means major problems for police officers and major problems for drivers.

From the outset, the Government of Quebec has consistently maintained that it makes no sense to rush this. That is why the provincial government and the National Assembly are taking no chances and recently introduced a bill.

Is this a provincial matter? Having worked in provincial politics for seven years, I am often tempted to comment on provincial matters. Although I generally refrain from doing so, I do want to highlight one aspect of the bill that the provincial government introduced in the National Assembly of Quebec: thankfully, growing marijuana at home will be forbidden.

I am trying to remain polite, but if some people are irresponsible enough as to allow marijuana production in homes across Canada, thank goodness, at least there are some in Quebec who stood up and said that that is ridiculous and will be prohibiting it in Quebec.

I hope the Liberal government will not oppose that initiative taken by the National Assembly.

Quebec's minister responsible for rehabilitation, youth protection, public health, and healthy living, Lucie Charlebois, spoke last week about the motion that was passed unanimously in the National Assembly calling on the Liberal government to postpone the legalization of marijuana by at least one year. She said:

We will be voting in favour of the motion because we have said from the beginning that we thought the deadline was too short....As for the whole issue of enforcing the act, if we had one more year, we would definitely be able to do a better job.

Who else is saying the same thing? The new mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante. I actually had the pleasure of meeting her yesterday, along with the leader of the official opposition, the leader of the Conservative Party, and future prime minister of Canada.

What did Mrs. Plante say? The mayor-elect of Montreal, Valérie Plante, feels that Montreal is not ready for cannabis legalization and would welcome more time.

Ultimately the municipalities will experience the positive effects, but also the negative effects. We have to think of zoning, school zones and parks.

While the Liberal government is in the process of normalizing marijuana use, the provinces and municipalities have to deal with the real problems stemming from this very bad policy.

This bill also illustrates how utterly hypocritical this government can be in some cases, especially this one. The government keeps saying that there is nothing more important than the first nations, that we must work together with them, that they have been mistreated for centuries and it is time to work together. We do not disagree with those statements. I will read from the mandate letter that the Prime Minister gave to every minister:

No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

“Respect”, “co-operation” and “partnership” are the words that the Prime Minister uses when he talks about first nations, but do the government's actions reflect those things? Is the government acting in a spirit of respect, co-operation, and partnership? Not at all, and I know what I am talking about because, for the past two years, I have had the great privilege of representing the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent, which is home to the Huron-Wendat community of Wendake. I am very proud to represent those people here in the House of Commons, as I did for seven years in the Quebec National Assembly. Wendake wants nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana. As Grand Chief Konrad Sioui said:

We have a zero-tolerance policy and we want our own economic development to reflect that....

We are extremely concerned because this is a real problem for first nations. It is important to acknowledge that.

This is a real problem for first nations. It is not a Conservative or a Liberal saying this, it is the grand chief of a community. He is saying that drugs are a real problem for first nations. The government, however, is seeking to normalize drug use, a move that is strongly opposed by the first nations, particularly the Wendake community, which I represent.

I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to Grand Chief Konrad Sioui. He is a great man who is not afraid of taking responsibility and who stood firm against the financial lure of the Liberal plan. On September 18, the newspaper Le Soleil reported, and I quote:

The Grand Chief of Wendake says he turned down an offer to partner with an Ontario medical marijuana company called DelShen, whose shareholders include Capital Media Group CEO Martin Cauchon [a former liberal justice minister], even though, as he says, “the money was tempting.”

Grand Chief Sioui stood to make millions of dollars for his community with the legalization of marijuana, but he said no because he felt it was not a good thing. That is the hallmark of a real leader: someone who is able to resist the deplorable commercialism that the government is trying to impose on Canadians.

Wendake is not the only holdout. A QMI article from November 24 quotes David Kistabish, chief of the Abitibiwinni nation, as saying, “We do not even allow alcohol to be sold in convenience stores, so we definitely will not be allowing this.”

Lac-Simon Chief Adrienne Jérôme also wants to keep marijuana out of her community, which is grappling with serious addiction issues. She said, “Even when pot is legal in Quebec, it will not be allowed in our community. We already have enough problems with substance abuse.”

What happened to all of the nice things the Prime Minister said about working in partnership with first nations, respecting them, collaborating with them? First nations do not want this, and we can all understand why.

The last thing I want to mention is that a recent article published in the United States commemorates, so to speak, the fifth anniversary of marijuana legalization in Colorado. What is the situation there now? Colorado has the highest level of homelessness, twice as many accidents involving drivers under the influence of marijuana, and a 71% increase in illegal consumption in schools. It now has the highest rates of marijuana consumption in the United States. That is what the Liberals want to do to Canada, and that is why we refuse to vote in favour of this bad bill.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I remind my colleague, all members in the House, and all of Canada that our party decided a year and a half ago to decriminalize marijuana, but not to legalize marijuana. This is where we stand. We will see how bad things will be in Canada in two years from now.

I can assure all Canadians that we will offer a real true solution to the problems created, hand by hand, by the Liberal government.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, who gave an excellent speech. I agree with him completely.

Now I would like to hear what he thinks of this rush to implement Bill C-45, which is supposed to protect our young people and eliminate organized crime. If you read every single clause of the bill, there is nothing to guarantee that those objectives can be achieved.

Is there another goal here? His colleague asked him a question about the 2019 election. What are the Liberals' personal interests in this and are they willing to sacrifice our young people to win the election in 2019?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier who is doing an excellent job here in the House of Commons and in his riding, which includes 50 municipalities and 100,000 people, who are very well represented.

It is sad, but yes, this raises some serious questions about the government's ambitions and its true objectives. This is not to mention the fact that a former justice minister and former leadership candidate is a shareholder in a company that will make money off the legalization of marijuana. The problem is that legalizing marijuana is going to normalize its use.

I would remind the House that kids as young as 12 will be allowed to walk around with joints in their pockets and that will be legal. Unfortunately, this normalizing process will mean that the dirty business of using the drug for the first time will be fully and completely sanctioned by the Liberal government and the current Prime Minister. Those poor kids will then get hooked on the drug and soon move on to much harder drugs, which is what has happened in Colorado in the past five years.