I worry that it might be, and once again it's with the idea of maximizing the benefits of the step that we're taking here in Canada. I understand the cautionary approach, we're the first western nation to be moving towards this, but the evidence that we have out of the U.S., the evidence that we have out of other jurisdictions including Portugal that have decriminalized, evidence out of Holland that's had coffee shops for a long time, is that we keep considering this as an add-on to alcohol and tobacco and we're using a similar lens: should we regulate like alcohol and tobacco? I need to remind committee members that this is not either.
If we look at any of the research, not one side of the research versus another, any of the research that's looked at the public health impacts in terms of health care utility, public safety impacts, cannabis compared to alcohol or tobacco, let alone the illicit substances, shows it to be a much, much safer substance. That doesn't mean we should be championing its use. It does mean that we shouldn't be disadvantaging it when it comes to access compared to alcohol or tobacco.
We think that Ontario has taken some interesting first steps to start getting cannabis and be ready for July 2018, but we're talking about 60 shops perhaps at the onset. There are over 600 outlets in Ontario where you can purchase alcohol. I'm obviously not counting every restaurant and bar also, which would put it in the tens of thousands—