I think it is an incorrect perception and I think the empirical evidence, particularly what I think Professor Boyd shared with the committee, demonstrates that about 95% of people involved in the cannabis trade are not involved in organized crime as that term is commonly understood by Canadians. Undoubtedly, there's too much gang violence. There's too much fighting over the street corners, but by and large, that's not about cannabis. It's about other substances.
The problem, of course, is that we continue to take a prohibition-based paradigm to the use of substances or certain substances by Canadians. The real solution to gang violence is to end drug prohibition entirely and to take a more focused public health approach to drugs generally. I do want to say a little about public health though.
Public health isn't just about the health consequences or benefits of using a particular substance. Public health also includes considerations of undue and unnecessary criminalization of people, use of the courts, use of the legal regime, misuse of police resources, distrust between the police and the police, and all of those things are amplified by taking some sort of restrictive approach to people accessing relatively safe products like cannabis. I know we can say over and over again there's not a lot of research. It's the most heavily researched illicit substance in the history of humanity. People have been using it for millennia. There are not a lot of significant negative health outcomes associated with the use of cannabis. People have been smoking hash for thousands of years, which is high-potency cannabis.
I think we need to be a little cautious about making claims about perceived, possible future harms. The history of humanity demonstrates otherwise.