Mr. Speaker, I believe my colleague from Kitchener—Conestoga is sincerely concerned and I want to address some of those concerns so I might perhaps ease his mind.
My colleague has said, as did many of his colleagues earlier, that this legislation authorizes 12-year-olds to possess cannabis. That in fact is misleading, and it is really important for every member of the House to understand exactly how this law will be applied.
One of the harms that we are attempting to reduce in this legislation is the criminalization of kids. We do not believe the best way to protect our kids is to put them in jail, so under this legislation possession of over five grams will remain a criminal offence, but for amounts less than that, young persons aged 12 to the age of majority will be subject to an absolute prohibition on the possession, purchase, and consumption of this substance under provincial regulation.
We have worked with all of the provinces, and those who have already announced their regulatory regimes have made it very clear that they will enforce a prohibition. A young person between the ages of 12 and 18 or 19, depending on the provincial decision on what the age would be, would be subject to an absolute prohibition enforceable by a provincial offences ticket. The police could seize the drug. The police can charge the youth, not under the criminal law, but under a provincial statute. That is precisely how we deal with alcohol in each of our provinces and territories. This actually reduces a significant harm.
I hope this information might assist the member by addressing the concerns he has raised.