Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all of our witnesses for appearing today.
I'm going to start with some statistics that Mr. Culbert and Ms. Grant shared: 12% of Canadians and 30% of youth are consuming cannabis. We've heard a lot about what cannabis consumers want and need, but I think, in the interest of balance for this bill, we have to look at this another way, and that is that 88% of Canadians, i.e., the majority, are not consuming. How do we protect their rights to not be exposed to increased harm, such as second-hand smoke, drug-impaired drivers, and schizophrenic and psychotic youth? Similarly, 70% of young people are not consuming cannabis. How do we protect them so they don't start consuming?
We heard some suggestions in previous panels, so I want to talk about those two suggestions and then get input from each of you on whether you think those ideas would be good.
The first is in terms of public education. We heard from Washington State, where they have about seven million people. They're spending $7.5 million a year on public education and have seen that as a great deterrent. For us in Canada with 30 million people, I would suggest that the $9 million that the Liberal government has come forward with will not be adequate or timely in order to address that. I think we need more public education, and we need it sooner.
The second suggestion is that in order to give the right message to children about how much cannabis is good for them, the legislation should say that people under the age of 18 should possess zero, but that any amount that is possessed would then be a ticketable offence instead of the language that is in here.
I'm interested to hear from all of you on whether you think either of those two suggestions are good, as well as your comments. We'll start at the left and go to the right.