Pubdate: Fri, 18 Aug 2017
Source: Oakville Beaver (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Oakville Beaver
Author: John Oliver (John Oliver is the MP for Oakville.)
Page: 6


It may shock many Canadians to learn that 28 per cent of Canadian
youths use marijuana - the highest rate among developed countries
surveyed in a 2013 UNICEF report.

This means that if you know four youths between the ages of 11 and 15,
one of them is using marijuana.

All Canadians should be concerned about this trend, because the
younger someone is when they start using marijuana and the more often
they use it, the greater the overall risks to their health.

Canada's current system of controlling marijuana fails our youths and
does not adequately protect the health and safety of young Canadians.
It's time to change our approach.

The federal government has drafted Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, to
keep marijuana (cannabis) out of the hands of young Canadians and the
profits out of the hands of criminals.

This proposed law would establish serious criminal penalties for those
who sell or provide cannabis to youths, and enact new offences and
penalties for those who use youths to distribute or sell cannabis.

Like the Tobacco Act, Bill C-45 would also prohibit products and
packaging that make cannabis appealing to young people.

As such, this bill would reduce the chance of our youths obtaining
cannabis while regulating and controlling adult access to cannabis.

It is important that we view marijuana use as a public health issue,
and not simply as a legal issue. At present, many of our youths do not
understand the health implications of smoking cannabis. Bill C-45 aims
to enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with
cannabis. Health organizations such as the Canadian Medical
Association and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have
identified education as a key strategy for reducing cannabis use.

Some people feel that our young people will continue to seek out
illegal sources of cannabis, regardless of any attempts to legalize
cannabis for adults. There are some interesting statistics that cast
doubt on that belief. Returning to the UNICEF study, consider that
Canadian youths use legal substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, at
a much lower rate (4% and 16%, respectively) than they use marijuana

This trend is due to the fact that it is easier for youths to obtain
illegal drugs than it is to acquire legal substances. Regulating the
production and distribution of cannabis will take business away from
organized criminals who currently have no qualms about selling
marijuana to young people.

Like many of you, I am deeply concerned by the rate of illegal drug
use by our young people, and I am determined to do something about it.
Reducing marijuana use is a good place to start, and this is why I
support Bill C-45. Keeping marijuana out of the hands of our youths
and educating them on the health risks of cannabis are important goals
of the Cannabis Act.

The proposed Cannabis Act is very comprehensive and will impact many
aspects of society, in addition to helping our youths. Bill C-45 is
the product of extensive consultation with experts from numerous
fields and leverages the recommendations from a non-political
taskforce report.

To learn more, I encourage you to attend a Town Hall with the Federal
Minister of Health, Jane Philpott. I will be hosting this event on
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 at the Operating Engineers campus at 2245
Speers Road, starting at 5:30 p.m. Please register at or 905-338-2008.
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MAP posted-by: Matt