On April 13, the Liberal government tabled marijuana legislation, which MP Gerry Ritz says is “very concerning.”
“We’ve got the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers making this earth-shattering announcement with very few details and a lot of the work left up to lower levels of government,” says MP Ritz.
One of the areas of concern is the time frame according to MP Ritz.
“July 1, 2018, well you know dates are arbitrary, but I am concerned. From now on it will be know as Cannabis Day and not Canada Day, and not to make a joke out of it but certainly it is disconcerting.”
The legal minimum age set out by the Liberal government is currently 18, however the provinces are able to increase that if they wish. MP Ritz says 18 is too low.
“The medical profession in Canada has said that no one under the age of 25 should be a regular user of cannabis, of marijuana, because there is still brain developments going on. The Liberals have come out and said they’ll set the age at 18 and the province can adjust that just like the liquor availability now. It can be 18, it can be 21, it can 19 but 18 is still very concerning.”
MP Ritz adds that “we’ve got a lot of problems that this country needs to be addressing, long before we get to the legalization of marijuana.” One of those problems he says is the opioid crisis.
“We’ve got a fentanyl/opioid crisis in Canada, a lot of people are dying simply by taking this with poisonous substances that are mixed into it, overdoses and so on and we’re not really seeing any sort of concerted effort to get on top of that. Now we’re adding insult to injury by legalizing all of this.”
MP Ritz adds, “certainly it was a campaign promise but at the end of the day, it might have been better to take a step back and take a little longer to make sure they get this right.”