Federal pot plan pushes legalization too far, too fast

To the Editor:

Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau tabled Bill C-46, his new legislation to legalize marijuana and repeated the claim that he wants to keep pot out of the hands of kids. Let’s be clear, Prime Minister Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana is a promise to pot smokers, not parents.
Bill C-46 doesn’t contain any solutions to address the harms of marijuana use and only raises more questions. For example: How will Prime Minister Trudeau make it safe for kids, for motorists, for workplaces?
What are the costs of legalization? And does the Prime Minister have any plan to work with municipalities and provinces or will he just download all the responsibility for implementation and enforcement to them?
If the age of possession is set at 18, and the medical community says it’s not safe for people under the age of 25, how are our kids protected from the adverse effects?
How will the issue of roadside testing be addressed and what direction is being given to police forces across the country to deal with marijuana possession and driving?
Is legalization really going to take the criminal element out of pot sales?
The Liberals also claim that legalization is necessary is because Canada’s youth are smoking more pot than ever. This isn’t even true.
The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse says that for youth ages 15-24 marijuana use has dropped from 33 per cent to 24 per cent because programs to encourage kids to stop using marijuana have been working.
It is also alarming that the Liberals are pushing legalization through with no consideration of the serious health risks of marijuana including psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, and respiratory effects.
These health issues will not only have a detrimental impact the individual user but also their spouses, children and the health care system.
I support the Conservative Party’s responsible approach to make minor marijuana possession a ticketable offence. This is a position that has been adopted by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Arnold Viersen, MP
Peace River – Westlock

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