Pubdate: Fri, 29 Sep 2017
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Coast Reporter
Author: Judith Renaud



Re: Bill Good's "Emery pot bust makes no sense," Sept. 22.

Instead of continuing to waste money on the failed War on Drugs, we
should end drug prohibition and spend the money we save on making all
schools safe places to learn.

I have recently returned from Ottawa after being invited to testify as
an expert witness to the Standing Committee on Health regarding
Cannabis Act C-45 in the House of Commons on Sept. 13. The topic of
the panel was Legal Age for Possession and Cannabis Youth Use.

Earlier in the year I was also asked to participate in the
Legalization Task Force with Anne McClellan and her team of expert
advisors. It was agreed that 18 was an appropriate age for legal
possession. This could change from province to province.

While Bill C-45 has some good intentions, it will not prevent youth
from using cannabis and most importantly should not subject them to
further harms from the law itself. For small quantities of cannabis of
up to five grams, C-45 exempts young persons from criminal prosecution
for possessing or sharing. Above that, youth will be subject to the
Youth Criminal Justice Act, which emphasizes community-based
responses, rehabilitation and reintegration. Why? For very small
amounts of cannabis, there is a better way to deal with youth than
subjecting them to the lifelong consequences of a criminal record.

Unlike alcohol and tobacco, two substances almost exclusively limited
in purpose to recreational use, cannabis can be used both
recreationally and medically, although the line between the two is

More and more, for a variety of reasons, it has become society's role
to educate, to provide support for parents and children. Educators
have a responsibility to offer evidence-based, unbiased and holistic
information for their students. If we are to reflect the government's
objective "to keep kids safe" and "keep money out of the hands of
criminals," we must provide a quality of schooling that reflects a
place where what is learned is lived based on solid scientific
evidence and where truth matters.

Judith Renaud B.A. M.A., Executive Director, Educators for Sensible
Drug Policy, Gibsons
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt