November 9, 2017
Len Webber (Calgary Confederation): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to contribute to the debate on Bill C-45, which proposes to legalize recreational marijuana use here in Canada. The medicinal use of marijuana in Canada is, of course, already permitted when prescribed by a doctor, and I support that measure. However, what we are considering here today is the recreational use of marijuana, using drugs for fun.
The health committee, on which I serve, heard in September from more than 100 witnesses from across Canada and from all parts of the world. They presented their thoughts and their concerns on a number of issues related to the legalization of marijuana. We heard from many who literally called marijuana a miracle drug, a miracle antidote for relieving and in some cases eliminating conditions such as epileptic seizures, migraine headaches, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, arthritis, and I can go on. The testimony from these individuals was heartening.
|Existing evidence on marijuana points to the importance of protecting the brain during its development. Since that development is only finalized by about 25 years of age, this would be an ideal minimum age based on currently accepted scientific evidence…|
Last month at the World Psychiatric Association’s world congress in Berlin, the community was presented with further evidence that marijuana use by youth can facilitate the onset of schizophrenia and other psychosis conditions in certain people. Complications may include cognitive impairment, social isolation, and even suicide.
Even the former Liberal cabinet minister and head of the task force on cannabis, the Honourable Anne McLellan, said at committee:
|I think the most important part of prevention, which we have learned from tobacco, alcohol, and probably some other things—I might include gambling—is public education. That’s the lesson you hear over and over again in states like Colorado and Washington. You have to have robust public education, and you need it out of the box early.|
|I really would love to emphasize that the consequences actually are quite severe in the sense that it’s not just our reputation. It’s not just Canada’s standing on the global international scene. If we violate international law we are actually undermining the best mechanism we have to get countries to work together and solve some of the biggest challenges we face in the world. One only needs to think about examples like serious use of chemical weapons, or North Korea testing nuclear weapons, or even closer to home, the United States imposing illegal trade barriers against softwood lumber. Canada wants to be in a position that we are able to rely on our fellow countries, our partners around the world, to follow these rules that make Canadians safer, that make Canadian businesses prosper, yet it’s very difficult for Canada to be taking moral stances on international laws if Canada is also violating them.|