Mr. Speaker, the minister will know that I am unique on this side of the House in being a long-time advocate of marijuana legalization, a position I have held since the beginning of my political career some 17 years ago. I am, however, finding it difficult to reconcile some of the arguments made in favour of the government's legalization plan.
The government argues that legalizing marijuana would have the effect of taking the sales of marijuana out of the hands of organized crime, something that would happen if the price of legally available marijuana were below that of marijuana that is being sold illegally. If the price is too high, then, as with cigarettes in Ontario and Quebec, the illegal market will continue. Therefore, we lower the price.
I fail to see how lowering the price is going to lower the amount of marijuana being consumed, which is the second argument I am making. The two simply do not go together.
While it may make sense to create a legal market and to lower the price, making the argument that if the government does that it will somehow keep marijuana out of the hands of Canadians in general and young Canadians in particular is not merely unproved, but it goes against the laws of economics in which, when the price goes down, the amount consumed tends to go up, all things considered. Could the minister explain how she is contradicting the rules of economics here?