Cannabis Act

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

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

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 18, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to 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 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

Carbon PricingOral Questions

June 20th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In a moment I will be asking for unanimous consent to present a motion.

Last night, the Senate passed Bill C-45, important legislation that will positively change 100 years of legal, social, and economic attitudes towards cannabis. It will legalize an activity that the vast majority of Canadians regard as acceptable.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of the House, given the passage of Bill C-45 and the imminent legalization of cannabis for personal recreational use, and recognizing that many Canadians are facing criminal charges, experiencing criminal sanctions, or bearing criminal records for cannabis offences that are soon to be legal, the government should take all necessary steps to immediately provide pardons for those burdened by criminal records for cannabis offences that will soon be legal.

Cannabis ActStatements By Members

June 20th, 2018 / 2:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the passing of Bill C-45 in the Senate and to recognize the substantial work undertaken by all parliamentarians. I sincerely thank senior officials and our incredible support staff who have contributed to legislation that will legalize and strictly regulate the production, distribution, and consumption of cannabis in Canada. The evidence that nearly a century of prohibition has failed us is overwhelming, and it has compelled us to do a better job of protecting our kids and keeping our communities safe.

I want to acknowledge the excellent work of our task force and the thousands of Canadians who have contributed to the national discussion on this important issue. We are indebted to our provincial and territorial counterparts, indigenous leaders, and municipalities for their hard work and partnership. We will continue to work with all levels of government, indigenous communities, and law enforcement to transition to a responsible legal framework that works for all Canadians.

As the process of implementation unfolds, I would remind everyone that until the current criminal prohibition is repealed and replaced, the law remains in effect and should be obeyed.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 19th, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, once again, protecting the health and safety of Canadians is our number one priority. The current approach to cannabis is not working. It lets criminals profit and does not protect our young people.

We thank senators for all the work they have done over the past few months, and we have agreed to the vast majority of amendments brought forward. We are convinced that Bill C-45 will give us the opportunity to achieve our objectives and ensure a responsible transition towards a legal market.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 19th, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, once again, protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for our government. The existing approach to cannabis does not work. It allows criminals to profit from cannabis and it is also a failure because it does not protect our children.

We thank the Senate for all its work and we agreed to the vast majority of the proposed amendments. We firmly believe that Bill C-45 will help us reach our objectives and ensure a responsible transition towards a legal cannabis market.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 19th, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of all Canadians is a top priority for our government.

The approach taken by Mr. Harper's Conservatives did not work. It allowed criminals to profit from cannabis and did not manage to keep cannabis out of the hands of children.

We thank the Senate for its work and we agree on the vast majority of the proposed amendments. We believe that Bill C-45 will help us meet our objectives and allow for a responsible transition towards a legal market.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 19th, 2018 / 2:20 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, protecting the health of Canadians is an absolute priority for our government. The Harper Conservatives' approach did not work. It allowed criminals to profit and did not manage to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth. We thank the Senate for its work, and we agree with the majority of the amendments presented by Conservative and independent senators. We are convinced that Bill C-45 will allow us to reach our objectives and ensure a responsible transition to a legal cannabis market.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 11:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, that has nothing to do with the bill we are discussing. The hon. member and friend from Winnipeg Centre should look at the legislation carefully to see if this is something that would really address the situation he is talking about, gang violence in his own constituency, which is a significant problem. I realize that and acknowledge that this is a serious issue in his riding.

I will affirm very clearly, from my understanding of this legislation and from what I have read, that this will not help you at all, because it is not law-abiding gun owners you have a problem with. It is gangs, illegal guns, and the drug trade, which will only get worse once Bill C-45 is passed later this week by the Senate. You will have nobody else to thank for that but yourself—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It being 3:08 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to Senate amendments to Bill C-45.

The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 18th, 2018 / 2:45 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, protecting Canadians' health and safety is a top priority for our government. The Harper Conservatives' approach did not work. It allowed criminals to benefit and did not manage to keep cannabis out of the hands of our children. We thank the Senate for its work, and we agree with the majority of the amendments they proposed. We believe that Bill C-45 will give us the opportunity to achieve our respective objectives and to transition towards a legal market.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to once again speak on an issue that I and many Canadians are deeply concerned about. I rise to speak against Bill C-45. This bill would legalize marijuana in Canada, a dangerous drug that is nothing less than damaging and addictive. I have been very clear that I am against this piece of legislation. I have taken the time to listen to experts from all backgrounds, and the findings continue to be the same: Marijuana is dangerous and Canada needs to think twice before going through with this bill. The Liberals really do not seem to get it.

Let me remind us all of the facts. According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 severely impacts brain development. This means that this drug should not be made available to young people. In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, there have been cases of elementary school students consuming brownies containing marijuana and showing up high at school, as a result of how accessible the drug is in their homes. We are now beginning to see that happen in Canada. People have a misconception that marijuana is already legal.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. In Oshawa last month, on two different occasions, marijuana snacks were brought into schools in the form of gummy bears and cookies. The government refuses to think of our children. This is wrong. Unfortunately, the Liberals continue to put their political agenda above the safety of Canadians and are failing to consider the consequences. Worst of all, our police force is underfunded, unequipped, and not properly trained to react to an influx of drugs into our communities.

When it comes to health and safety, Canadians deserve the best. If we look at the example of Colorado again, Colorado is already regretting its decision to legalize marijuana. Just last month, we heard the Colorado governor say that he would not rule out banning marijuana once again. We should not make the same mistake as Colorado.

Many Canadians are deeply worried. The constituents in Markham—Unionville have told me countless times how concerned they are about the consequences of allowing marijuana to flow freely into our communities.

I will remain on the right side of this issue. The legalization of marijuana is a serious matter. I do not understand why the government refuses to look at all the facts. It has an arbitrary deadline in mind and is continuing full steam ahead. The Liberal government's plan to legalize marijuana would make Canada the first developed country in the world to do so. That fact alone should make us pause.

Why are we signing up to be the largest social experiment of the 21st century, when all the experts are telling us to slow down? I would have hoped that instead of politicizing the issue, the Prime Minister would take into consideration the many concerns presented by health experts, first responders, community leaders, and residents. Instead, the Prime Minister has opted to use everything at his disposal to rush Bill C-45 into law.

The evidence is clear. Marijuana contains over 400 chemicals. Many of these are the same harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke and cause serious harm to youth brain development. There is no doubt about it: Marijuana is not safe. The misguided idea pushed by the Liberals that recreational use of this drug is harmless and should be legalized reinforces a misconception that marijuana is harmless. It would result in the normalization of marijuana use, for which our young people will pay dearly.

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 bill.

I have heard loud and clear from my riding that people are concerned about the negative consequences that legalizing marijuana would have on our community and our youth. They are worried about what it would do to the value of their homes. However, the Liberals just keep going.

This is a piece of legislation that pertains to an issue very close to me. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. With all the pro-marijuana publicity lately, it can be hard for many Canadians to remember that marijuana is indeed damaging and addictive.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. Elected representatives can and should provide guidance on this drug to reflect the views of all Canadians. Let us all remember that we are talking about the health and safety of Canadians, and they deserve better. Let us not rush through the legislation. We need to do what is right for all Canadians. The provinces, municipalities, and police forces are not ready to implement this legislation.

I have said many times before that I oppose the legislation entirely. I choose to listen to the concerns raised by scientists, doctors, and law enforcement officials. I want to advocate for the voices that are not heard in the legislation and for those who say that the government's plan is being rushed through without proper planning or consideration of the negative consequences of such complicated legislation. The passing of Bill C-45 would lead to negative repercussions at the global level.

The government claims that the legislation will control the drug, but in reality it would allow the drug to get out of control, especially when we look at the issue of home grow. I really just cannot believe it. If marijuana is in the home, youth will have access to it. We have already seen this happen. Why will the government not look at the bill for what it really is, a big mistake? We cannot normalize this drug. We should not legalize it. Our children will pay the price.

I was speaking to the police chief of York region. He is definitely against this. He asked me to ask the member of Parliament for Scarborough Southwest what side he was on for the 40 years he was in law enforcement, compared to now.

There is no money. For York region alone, it will cost $54 million over three years. The previous Liberal provincial government had promised up to 60%, and 40% will be taken by the local residents of York region. Is that fair?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, not everybody follows Facebook; not everyone follows Twitter. What does the member think this government should have done back in December, as it was proposing this bill to come forward this year?

Does the member not think it should have reached out to the Canadian School Boards Association? Does the member not think it should have reached out to all school divisions in this country, with some literature, with some pamphlets, with some education on it, or maybe even a video or two?

That would seem to be the wise thing to do. We just heard from the hon. member that the government has done none of this. It is relying on Facebook and Twitter. Is that not disgusting, that the government has never once gone into the schools in this country to tell people about the effects of this cannabis bill, Bill C-45?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

What does the member mean by “Come on”, Madam Speaker? In our schools in Saskatoon that has happened already. That is how much members know about this. They have no idea what goes on in our communities, that we are trying to give our students in elementary school and secondary school better lives. Instead, the government is just pushing Bill C-45 ahead without any consultation with the people who it affects most of all, which is our young people.

Shame on the government. It has not done the consultation it said it was going to do. It has not reached out to the Canadian School Boards Association. I know this because I have talked to the Saskatchewan school boards. The government has done nothing. Shame on it for pushing Bill C-45 without talking to the people who it affects the most, which is our kids. They are our future.

I cannot support this bill without the consultation that the government said it was starting months ago. The government has done nothing and it should be ashamed. There is no way those on this side are going to support Bill C-45.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to the amendments to Bill C-45, respecting the legalization of cannabis. I will be sharing my time with the member for Markham—Unionville.

There is no question that the current Liberal government is intent on pushing this bill through, despite numerous concerns voiced by experts, by law enforcement, and by Canadians across this country, including school boards, from coast to coast to coast. This is not a bill that should be forced through Parliament on a whim. As Parliament has spent many months studying the implications of this bill, many concerns and problems with the bill have been brought forward, as we have heard continuously in the last hour or so in the House. It is critically important for all Canadians that the current Liberal government work to resolve these problems, and that it listen to these concerns rather than try to push this bill through at all costs.

The Senate, as we know, has returned Bill C-45 to the House with 45 amendments, but the government has agreed to only 29 of them. The government has no plans to resolve any of the problems, which are still left unaddressed given its rejection of other crucial amendments. However, notably, the Liberals are refusing to allow provinces to determine on their own whether to ban cultivation of marijuana in individual homes. This is a big issue. Provinces such as Manitoba and Quebec have already signalled their deep concern with the negative social impacts that would occur as a result of allowing households to grow up to four marijuana plants. These provinces have concerns and they want to have the power to ban homegrown marijuana cultivation, but the current Liberal government has blatantly ignored these concerns and has said, “absolutely not”.

Most of the medical groups and the police services that have appeared before the House committees studying this bill have said they are against the provision in Bill C-45 to allow homegrown marijuana. Even if these households contain small children, even if this provision would allow organized crime to exploit homegrown marijuana production, and even if the police have said they will have serious difficulty monitoring whether people are growing no more than four plants in their homes, the government has said no to those provisions. The Liberals have shown that they care more about pushing through this bill as soon as possible than they care about public safety or about fixing the significant flaws in the bill. This action is totally unacceptable, and it also demonstrates clearly that the Liberals have their priorities backwards.

I spoke to many real estate people in my province of Saskatchewan, and actually on lobby day many of them came through our offices here, representing the Canadian real estate boards. They are also concerned. There are no landlord-tenant regulations for growing four plants in a home that maybe somebody is renting. This is something that needs to be discussed with the Canadian real estate board, and it has yet to do so.

In March of this year, I spent eight days touring various communities in Nunavut. I visited eight or nine schools on our trip, and that was really enjoyable. While I was meeting with the people of these communities, I heard many serious concerns with this bill, and how it would negatively impact the well-being of these northern communities. We should say right off the bat that there are no health centres in Nunavut for people struggling with addictions. I heard time and again there is not one facility in Nunavut that handles addictions, so when people have a problem they will be flown either to Winnipeg or all the way to Montreal. These people want to stay in their communities, yet they have no addiction facilities. Perhaps we should start there with at least one addiction facility in Nunavut and work out from there, but no, this bill will pass and we will see the horrific incidents that will happen time and again in Nunavut because of this. While the Liberals are taking no steps to mitigate the negative consequences that this bill would have in these communities in Nunavut, many of the elders are really concerned with this cannabis bill and they have not been consulted.

I found that first-hand when I toured each village up in Nunavut. Many of the elders are really concerned with this cannabis bill, and they have not been consulted. The government claims it consults indigenous peoples, and yet seven or eight of the Inuit communities I saw had not been consulted on this bill as of March.

The government wants to make sure at all costs that provincial and territorial governments will not be able to ban the homegrown marijuana plants within their own jurisdictions. This is not at all helpful, and it does nothing to address the many concerns I heard during my visits to these communities in late February and March. These people are being ignored by this Liberal government, because the Liberals' priority is to push this bill through at any cost.

The role of Parliament, of course, is to ensure that bills passed are for the betterment of all Canadians and do not cause harm to people across the country. Actually, the way in which Bill C-45 is being handled by the current government suggests in no way, shape, or form that the best interests of Canadians are being attended to.

We have talked to many people in this country about the bill. The number one consideration is the education aspect of it. In December, the government began its advertising about cannabis legislation. Where should it have started? I would think it should have contacted the Canadian school boards for a start. Does the government not think we should be in every classroom in this country talking about the good and the bad about cannabis? The government has not done anything at the school board level in this country.

I know this because I have a daughter in the city of Saskatoon who is a teacher. She is teaching grades 7 and 8. They have not even discussed this bill, and it is coming forth right away. I also have a son in Alberta who teaches at a junior college in Lethbridge. They have not even talked about this. These are kids in grade 9, 10, and 11, yet these schools have not talked about this bill and how it will be worked out in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

When the minister brought this bill forward, we were told that a vast education program would come with it. We have seen one or two ads on television, but let us get to the grassroots and to the kids who are in grade 6, 7, 8, and beyond. Why would we not talk about this bill in schools? Why would we not give each school in this country some literature so they can talk about the harmful effects of cannabis? The government has done none of it.

I was a school board trustee for nine and a half years. I asked the government questions time and time again about the education of this bill. Representatives told me it had hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on education. It has done next to nothing.

Schools are petrified that come September, they are the ones that will have to deal with this. They will have to deal with seven-year-olds coming to school with cannabis in their pocket, and yet none of the education has been done.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak this afternoon on Bill C-45, an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts. Bill C-45 was first introduced in this place on April 13, 2017, just over a year ago. It is remarkable that the Liberal government, in just a little over a year, is desperately trying to force this proposal through. Although there has been a great deal of work done around the bill, it is abundantly clear that this has happened far too quickly. The Liberals are rushing through this legislation to meet their political deadline, not a well-thought-through plan, but a deadline that is self-imposed. This is despite very serious concerns that were raised by scientists, doctors, and law enforcement officials.

I want to note from the outset that I do not support the legalization of marijuana. The Conservative Party has adopted a much more measured and responsible approach to keeping minor marijuana possession illegal, but to make it a ticketable offence. This is the position that has long been adopted by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Unfortunately, Liberal backbenchers appear willing to support the Prime Minister's dangerous proposal. I believe we have a moral responsibility to soberly consider the consequences of legalizing marijuana in so many areas of Canadian life.

The fact that the Liberals are continuing down this reckless road without having a fully fleshed-out legal framework in place for the significant supplementary conditions is irresponsible. The only appropriate way to move forward with a bill of this scope, if that is truly what the Liberals wish to do, is to move cautiously and carefully. Anything less represents a profound failure to ensuring that these changes do not increase risks to Canadian children and families.

It is the primary duty of any government to keep its citizens safe. The specific goals of Bill C-45 are outlined in clause 7, and they include protecting youth, regulating the industry, and eliminating the black market. The problem is that Bill C-45 will accomplish none of these goals. I will focus for the most part on my concerns around protecting our youth.

Mr. Marco Vasquez, a former police chief in the town of Erie, Colorado, had this to say to the Standing Committee on Health:

When you increase availability, decrease perception of risk, and increase the public acceptance of any commodity, you will see increased use. Once we see that increased use, it's very difficult to keep marijuana out of the hands of our youth. We know from validated studies that marijuana use for youth under 30 years old, especially chronic use, can have an adverse effect on brain development. We also know that one in six youth become addicted to marijuana.

We've certainly seen an increased use of marijuana in Colorado, and I believe that the increased use will ultimately increase disorder and risk factors for our youth. We're already seeing signs of increased disorder within our communities.

Dr. Laurent Marcoux, president of the Canadian Medical Association also noted:

Children and youth are especially at risk of harm, given their brain's development. And they are among the highest users of cannabis in Canada.

To better protect this part of the population, we are recommending that the age of legalization be set at 21 years. The quantities and the potency of cannabis should also be more restricted to those under age 25.

Despite these increased risks, however, evidence shows that youth today do not believe cannabis has serious health effects. A comprehensive public health strategy for cannabis must therefore include education, similar to what has been done with tobacco.

Educational strategies should be implemented before, and no later than the enactment of any legislation in order to increase awareness of the harms and to conduct further research on its impact.

These are just a couple of the comments on the matter of youth consumption of cannabis. Currently, Bill C-45 recommends the age of 18 as a federal minimum, but medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25. Increased use before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30%, compared to those who have not used marijuana under the age of 25. This is why the CMA and the other medical professionals recommended raising the age at which a person can consume marijuana to at least age 21.

Another challenge with the bill is that children ages 12 to 17 are able to possess up to five grams of marijuana. As the points I have just raised will underscore, this is ridiculous in light of the medical evidence of the harm it can cause to youth. Bill C-45 offers no provision to prevent them from selling or distributing cannabis to other 12- to 17-year-olds.

I turn now to the home grow provisions included in this bill. Bill C-45 would allow four plants per dwelling, with no height restriction on the plants. If grown in optimal conditions, this could yield as much as 600 grams of marijuana. What we heard from plenty of testimony at the health committee is that there is a great deal of apprehension around home grow. These concerns were raised by most medical groups and police forces who appeared.

For one thing, this proposal absolutely would not keep marijuana out of the hands of youth. If it is in the home, youth will have access to it. Furthermore, there is no requirement to lock up the marijuana if the home has people under the age of 18 living in it, or even just frequenting it. What we have seen in other jurisdictions is that by legalizing homegrown marijuana, that area has been hugely penetrated by organized crime. This is why the State of Washington, for example, does not allow home grow, except for medically fragile persons who cannot get to a dispensary. It has been able to reduce organized crime to less than 20% of the market.

Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told the health committee:

We are deluding ourselves if we think that major drug trafficking organizations will not exploit every chance they get to have a way to be legitimized through the legal market. We're seeing this in other states. We're also deluding ourselves to think that they will go away and not try to undercut the government price of cannabis. The economies rule the day here in terms of price. The lower the drug price, the more likely someone is to use, and the illegal market can easily undercut the legal market.

I want to speak for a moment about my province of Manitoba as well. The Government of Manitoba made a responsible decision to prohibit home grow in the province. This decision will cut out more of the black market and better protect children. Unfortunately, the Liberals appear poised to reject an amendment that would confirm the ability of provinces to make these sorts of localized decisions within their own territories. Quebec and Nunavut have also expressed a desire to take similar steps in their respective legislatures.

The Liberal government has thrown a lot at the provinces and territories with Bill C-45, and to reject an amendment that would help provinces better manage this transition to legal marijuana would indicate a significant lack of judgment. I hope that the Liberals will make the right choice and help provinces make the best decisions possible for their residents.

My wife is a very good cook and baker, and when she bakes a batch of cookies or cakes or brownies, not cannabis brownies, but real brownies made with cocoa, she does not put them on the counter thinking that they are not available to children. With the legislation before us, we are going to see home grow marijuana readily available to youth in kitchens, living rooms, family rooms, and dens. The ill-conceived and poorly thought-out plan of legalizing home grow operations makes one of the Liberals' priorities, which is protecting youth, completely unattainable, because it is going to be easily accessible.

When I get a prescription for pain medication after surgery, I do not take that prescription and leave it lying on the counter where it is easily accessible to children, for example, in the sunlight where it can grow. I put that prescription in the cabinet where it is inaccessible to children.

We tell children not to play with matches. We do not keep matches within the reach of children, yet we are going to have homegrown marijuana within the reach of our youth and children. We are absolutely going to be inviting them to play with this dangerous chemical.

It is irresponsible for the government to think it is reaching this objective of protecting our youth by allowing home grow operations to be legitimate and forcing the provinces to agree. It talks about provinces having the ability to set their own regulations, and indeed some of them have. I compliment my Manitoba government for establishing stricter regulations as far as the age by which possession and use will be accepted. However, not allowing the provinces to establish restrictions on home grow is irresponsible.