Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dirk Meissner
Page: A7


Federal government has no plans to include other illicit drugs in

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says regulating the sale of marijuana
will protect young people and take money away from criminal gangs, but
the government is drawing the line at pot when it comes to legalizing
illicit drugs.

The federal government's approach on marijuana has two goals, Trudeau
said Tuesday during a visit to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

"The first is to protect our kids. Right now we know that young people
have easier access to marijuana than just about any other illicit substance.

"It's easier to buy a joint for a teenager than it is to buy a bottle
of beer. That's not right," he said.

"Secondly, we know that criminal organizations and street gangs are
making billions of dollars off of the sale of marijuana. We feel that
regulating it, controlling it will bring that revenue out of the
pockets of criminals and put it into a system where we can both
monitor, tax it and ensure that we are supporting people who are
facing challenges related or unrelated to drug use."

But the government doesn't plan to go any further than legalizing
marijuana in legislation he hopes will be introduced by this summer.

"We are not planning on including any other illicit substances in the
move towards legalizing and controlling and regulating," he said.
Trudeau is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with
first-responders and healthcare workers on Friday in Vancouver on
British Columbia's opioid crisis, which killed 922 people last year. A
recent federal announcement giving $10 million to the provincial
government to help fight overdose deaths is aimed at improving the
response to the crisis, said Trudeau.

Although it is up to the province to decide how that money is spent,
he says people in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside told him in December
more money was needed to keep safe consumption sites open longer for
drug users in the inner-city neighbourhood.

"This is an issue that we are taking very seriously and we will
continue to engage in," he said.

Trudeau spent Thursday morning on the naval base, where he went on a
five-kilometre run with military personnel, met with sailors and
toured the facility.

He was also scheduled to meet Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps at city hall,
where protesters gathered outside carrying signs that chided the
government for dropping plans to reform the electoral system.
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MAP posted-by: Matt