Pubdate: Tue, 12 Sep 2017
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Mark Bonokoski
Page: 20


Only now bothering to consider health impact of legalized marijuana

If the Trudeau Liberals were Boy Scouts, they'd be miserable failures
in living up to the troop's famous motto of "Be Prepared."

Anyone who still thinks the Liberals have all the pieces in place in
their rush to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by Canada Day
2018 has being smoking the drapes. Health concerns? Hmmm, perhaps it
would have been best to have gotten onto this long before now, seeing
as how sucking in THC-laced smoke into the lungs just might have some
health repercussions for the burgeoning toker crowd.

But that is not the case.

While Ottawa's parliamentarians were enjoying their last week of
summer recess before returning to the partisan fray, an all-party
Commons health committee began meeting only this Monday to question
medical and legal professionals on the looming legislation.

Pot producers were scheduled to be there, as well, over the five days
of proposed uninterrupted meetings. And coppers, too. "We have a lot
to learn, and a lot to listen to," said committee chair Bill Casey, a
Liberal MP from Nova Scotia. No kidding. In a rather obvious attempt
to deflect attention away from two corruption trials - one in Sudbury
involving alleged byelection fiddling, and a criminal trial that
commenced Monday in Toronto regarding the alleged erasing of damaging
e-mails in the premier's office - the Wynne Liberals of Ontario last
week dropped their plan on how they would handle wacky tobaccy's
availability in the country's most-populated province.

Come on, sing along with country star Toby Keith, and the hit single
off his new album, The Bus Songs, complete with a video of pot
aficionado Willie Nelson firing up a supportive spliff.

"That old Wacky Tobaccy/When you feel it creeping up on you/That old
Wacky Tobaccy/Kick back and let it do what it do."

Trials? What trials? Let's talk and sing about pot

Ontario, after all, is planning on ramping up the sale of pot by
having 150 stand-alone unionized stores in place by 2020, and making
19 the legal age for cannabis use among its citizenry.

It's as if the feds have everything in place, which is far from the
truth when health concerns are only now being addressed.

If there is a boondoggle lying in wait, this is it.

NDP MP Don Davies, vice-chair of the fed's health committee, is one of
many concerned about the Liberals' push to legalize pot, accusing them
via the CBC of "cramming" in witnesses in order to displace proper
parliamentary debate and public engagement.

"I'm concerned," he said "(that) they're trying to rip the bandage off
and move to the next stage without getting really varied and diverse
input from Canadians."

The Canadian Medical Association, for example, has been like a loop
tape in repeating its concern about the health risks of cannabis,
particularly when smoked rather than ingested as edibles.

It has also been urging the Trudeau Liberals to set the legal age for
cannabis consumption at 21, which the Ontario Liberals obviously chose
to ignore last week when they threw their pot doors open.

The Liberal chair of the health committee, however, has concerns he
evidently finds more serious than the hauling in lungs full of
THC-laden smoke from a combusting weed.

As far as Bill Casey is concerned, his committee's key policy issues
should centre on preventing the contamination of pot-growing
facilities, the four-plant allowance for personal use, and setting the
minimum age of access at 18.

Other than that, everyone needs to chill.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt