Pubdate: Fri, 16 Dec 2016
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 The London Free Press
Page: 7


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned to legalize pot in the 2015
election campaign. This federal task force report on the subject,
released this week, offered no quick fix to the complex issues
surrounding legalization, and the sensible recommendation that the
Liberals proceed slowly.

The 106-page report made more than 80 recommendations, including
restricting pot sales to those 18 and older, banning sales near
schools, banning pot advertising and branding (similar to tobacco
products) and a new, proposed Cannabis Control Act to police illegal
production and trafficking.

Marijuana consumption is an estimated $7 billion-a-year underground
business in Canada, and that market could grow to $10 billion to $20
billion with legalization.

Legalization is also broadly supported by the Canadian

Meanwhile, the case for criminalization is increasingly difficult to

Canada needs to reconcile the agreements it made through international
treaties to criminalize and prosecute drug possession and production
with legalization in this country.

But our decades-old "war on drugs" has failed miserably to deter drug
use or abuse. Few possession cases are prosecuted, policing cannabis
costs taxpayers at least $300 million a year and the illegal pot trade
has funnelled billions of dollars into the hands of organized crime,
fuelling violence and criminal activity ranging from prostitution to
gun running.

However, our prime minister's plan to legalize pot, in addition to
putting billions into the hands of government, also has the potential
to cause significant harm.

Teenagers in Canada already use cannabis more than in any other
developed country - according to the World Health Organization - with
28 per cent of all 15-year-olds in this country saying they've tried

Medical experts warn the brain continues to develop until age 25, and
young people can be both harmed and become more susceptible to
addiction following significant, early drug use.

So 19, and perhaps even 21, may be a more appropriate

Most importantly, task force recommendations that money from legal
marijuana sales should go to education, research and enforcement must
be taken seriously and form part of the government`s legislation,
expected in 2017.

Getting it all right will be no easy task.

- - Postmedia Network
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt