There are three reasons Canadians came around to support legalization. Number one is that we shouldn't criminalize our fellow Canadians who are otherwise law-abiding. They should not be banned from travelling to the United States, lose their job for failing a drug test, or have their kids taken away by the Children's Aid Society. None of that criminalization or harm should happen to peaceful, non-violent Canadians.
Number two, this industry already exists. It's worth billions of dollars. The Fraser Institute and many others have analyzed it and said that cannabis should be legal because it already exists. It's already being grown, sold, shared, and consumed. It's in every movie and TV show. It's everywhere. It's normalized, except with the government. We should allow the existing industry to come out of the shadows and into the light.
The third reason to legalize is that law enforcement has spent billions of our tax dollars on going after people for pot. I'd much prefer that money go toward health care, education, social housing, anything, or allowing our law enforcement to focus on serious crimes that have victims.
Bill C-45, as presented, will not offer amnesty or pardons to people who have been convicted. It will not allow people like my husband and me to be free from a criminal record. It will not allow the existing industry to transition into legality. In fact, it introduces tougher new penalties and prohibits those who have been victimized by prohibition from being allowed to transition. We're being locked out from participating and locked up for being unable to participate.
Although the third reason for marijuana legalization is law enforcement spending, on Friday we saw an announcement of a quarter of a billion dollars of additional tax money going toward marijuana law enforcement. Legalization is supposed to mean you no longer have to enforce a law against it. We know that marijuana law enforcement is extremely costly, and many police offers don't even want to enforce the law, which is why they often don't charge some people but do charge others.
As Mr. Bill Blair, who is not with us right now, has admitted, marijuana prohibition and law enforcement target people of colour, indigenous groups, the poor, and the marginalized. This bill will not legalize anything we've been fighting for.