Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to the ministers for being with us today. I'd like to offer my congratulations to the Minister of Health on her appointment, and I look forward to working with her as well.
My first question will be to the Minister of Health. The task force on cannabis legalization recommended that your government legalize and regulate edibles and concentrates. Here's what the Honourable Anne McLellan said last week when I asked her why the task force made that recommendation:
...it's a growth area in the cannabis marketplace. Obviously, if you're concerned about public health, you want to move people away from smoking.... If it's for medicinal purposes, there are therapies in non-smoking forms...as mentioned in the task force report, the edible market is growing.
If you want to move from the illicit market into a regulated legal market, then you have to offer the quality and choice that the illicit market can provide. It's fair to say that we heard that over and over again from a wide variety of people we talked to. There are public health reasons and public safety reasons why you would want to authorize or allow edibles in various forms.
Minister, given that two of the most important purposes of this bill are to reduce illicit activities and to provide access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis, which are right in section 7, why did your government ignore this recommendation? In other words, if prohibition doesn't work, as you said, why are you prohibiting edibles?