Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2017
Source: Markham Economist & Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Printing
Author: Simone Joseph


To tackle organized crime and those who lure young people into
marijuana use, we need to legalize marijuana.

This was one of the messages MP Bill Blair had at a town hall
discussion at Cornell Community Centre Sunday.

Markham-Stouffville MP Jane Philpott and Markham-Thornhill MP Mary Ng
hosted the meeting on the legalization and regulation of cannabis with
Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and attorney
general of Canada.

In April 2017, the federal government introduced legislation to
legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in Canada by July 2018. If
passed, the proposed Cannabis Act would create rules for producing,
using and selling cannabis across Canada.

Blair pointed out police used to do lots of work in combating illegal
gaming. Then, gambling was made legal and today, there is no police
service with a full-time gambling unit, he said. To control the
industry, you need to regulate it - this was his message.

To show the potential impact of regulation, he related the time he had
to visit a grow op as part of his police work. "It was dangerous,
mould-infested. The cops had to go in HAZMAT (hazardous material)
suits. When we went to a regulated one, for all intents and purposes,
we were in a medical lab," Blair said.

Bill Larkin, a Markham resident and retired teacher, pointed out the
importance of education surrounding cannabis use.

"We've got to get the facts out. Myths overwhelm reality," he

A man who only identified himself as Kevin said legalization of
marijuana means marijuana will be everywhere whereupon a man in the
front row said "marijuana IS everywhere".

A Markham father named Charles Jiang asked a simple question: "Why the

Earlier in the talk, Blair pointed out "our current system leaves
distribution up to criminals". He also said that people have been
killed over the distribution of marijuana: "Cocaine kills. Trafficking
marijuana kills".

MP Philpott pointed out the government is taking a public health
approach to the legalization of marijuana and said that
"criminalization is not working".
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MAP posted-by: Matt