Mr. Claxton recently raised some arguments surrounding our country’s current drug enforcement laws. As he mentioned, it is indeed this government’s intention to legalize the recreational usage and regulated production of marijuana. With legislation to be tabled in the spring of next year, the question of why the Liberal government has not immediately decriminalized possession and small-scale production is fair. I would like however, to address reasons that make such an action undesirable before government and law enforcement have had time to adjust to a new regime of drug enforcement.
One of the primary reasons the Liberal government will legalize recreational marijuana use is to remove billions of dollars from organized crime, who currently dominate the illegal trafficking of marijuana and its profits. Without a federal framework to regulate and monitor the production and supply of cannabis, organized crime would only benefit from such a decision and fuel a continuation of the violence we have seen as a result of organized trafficking.
Another concern I have regarding the immediate decriminalization of cannabis is whose hands the drug eventually ends up in. As Mr. Claxton wrote, it is the government’s vision to heavily monitor, regulate and tax the production and supply of marijuana. Much like alcohol, this would create a system where it would be much easier to limit the illicit supply of marijuana to minors and children. As we judge it inappropriate for children to access marijuana just as we do with alcohol and cigarettes, it is currently nearly impossible to ensure that even small-scale growing operations don’t end up being consumed by minors. Without a framework to regulate the sale of cannabis, immediate decriminalization would fail to address this problem.
Lastly, issues of contamination within the product itself will not be addressed. Without regulating how cannabis is being produced, unmonitored production poses a significant risk to the public.
For these reasons, our government maintains that the sale of cannabis must remain illegal until a new framework to guide its safe and effective distribution is in place.
John Aldag, MP