Madam Speaker, I want to shout out to one of my fans watching from our riding, a young girl named Madison. I just want to say hi and thanks for watching tonight.
I want to talk about a couple of issues I have with cannabis. We have heard from the government side that legalization is supposed to reduce all harm to kids and make all the problems go away. There is a reason cannabis is illegal. It is because it is not good for people. I have a couple of articles on my iPad right now about the negative health effects on our lungs.
I want to dispute two supposed facts that are being put on the table tonight by the government. First, the government says it wants to protect our youth. Second, it says it wants to promote public health with the legalization of cannabis.
I am going to talk about youth. Part of problem with the bill is that the government members say they want to keep marijuana out of the hands of kids. I would dispute that, based on what the bill proposes. It does say that they want to prohibit it for anyone under the age of 18, but we know that kids are going to get hold of it. Kids are defined as anyone under 18. Guess what the penalty is if kids deal five grams or less to other kids? It is zero.
I will read from the distribution clause for everyone out there watching tonight, and for Madison, who is listening too. It states:
Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited...for a young person (i) to distribute cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which is equivalent, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, to more than 5 g of dried cannabis.
What that says, in a kind of sneaky way, is that it is prohibited above five grams, but it is completely okay to distribute five grams or less. We have heard other members of my party tonight say that five grams can be as many as 15 joints of marijuana. I have a vision of kids selling marijuana to other kids.
The government members are saying that they are trying to protect our kids, when the bill says the opposite. They say that they are absolutely not going to do anything about kids selling marijuana to other kids. To me, the health of our kids is not being considered in what they are saying here. If they really cared about our kids, they would toughen up the regulations and laws they are putting forward on kids' possession and distribution of marijuana. This is not just about having one joint, even though that is still going to be harmful, potentially. We are talking about 15 joints they are going to be allowed to distribute among themselves, legally, with no threat of any kind of prosecution, ticket, offence, or anything.
I have four kids of my own. One concern I have is that as soon as this is legalized, it will make it sound as if the government is giving its blessing that it is okay to do.
I want to talk a little more about the second fallacy, the government saying it wants to protect the health of Canadians. I have an article by a pretty reputable association, the American Lung Association. This was one of the many reasons, when we were in government, we did not want to legalize cannabis. This is what it says about marijuana:
The American Lung Association is concerned about the health impacts of marijuana use, especially on lung health. We caution the public against smoking marijuana because of the risks it poses to lung health. Scientists are researching marijuana, and the American Lung Association encourages continued research into the health effects of marijuana use, especially on lung health.
Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
On the one hand, we have great programs in this country where we have seen tobacco use reduced. We have these great efforts by Health Canada to make sure we do our best to not market cigarettes to kids, or for that matter to adults. We have packages that are negatively marketed to adults, with pictures of bad teeth and bad lungs. However, on the other hand, today, in 2017, we are saying it is really bad to smoke cigarettes, but it is okay to smoke marijuana because someone is an adult. To me, that is absolutely ridiculous.