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Op-Ed: Liberals Roll the Dice on Our Kids By Legalizing Marijuana

On October 17, Bill C-45, the Liberal’s reckless marijuana legislation will come into effect in Canada. In a rush to meet his self-imposed political deadline, Justin Trudeau has failed to adequately address the many concerns of municipalities, law enforcement, employers, scientists and doctors about his cannabis legalization legislation. As a result, many Canadians will be at risk, none more so than Canada’s youth.

All along, Justin Trudeau has claimed he was legalizing marijuana to protect children. However under Trudeau’s new legislation, children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be allowed to possess up to 5 grams of marijuana and may distribute it to others in this age group. How does anyone rationalize permitting youth to possess marijuana as protecting them from it? Conservatives, on the other hand, are firm in our conviction that zero grams is the only safe amount for our children.

Medical professionals testified that a person’s brain develops until the age of 25, and that marijuana use before this point increases one’s likelihood of developing a mental disorder by 30%. Dr. Laurent Marcoux of the Canadian Medical Association told Members of Parliament that the minimum age should be much higher: “We still want to set the age at 21, and maybe 25, because the damage done to the brain will be permanent.”

But the Liberals know recreational marijuana use among children is harmful and the research continues to show it. Last month, a new study from the University of Montreal followed 3800 Canadian 7th to 10th graders over four years. The study revealed that marijuana use has lasting effects on the cognitive development of teenagers. Students who used marijuana were found to perform worse on cognitive tests and marijuana use was linked to impaired inhibitory control up to a year later.

Most importantly, the legislation did not include funding or plans for education and awareness. As a result, the Liberals are rushing through this reckless legislation, without ensuring that those most at risk have been educated about marijuana addiction and its negative mental and physical impact.

There are also huge concerns about impaired driving. The Liberals have severely undermined road safety by legalizing marijuana when our law enforcement has not been given the tools to enforce driving laws. This week, the Liberals even admitted they know there is no conclusive way to determine if someone is driving high. This has left our law enforcement officials in limbo, with several police forces across the country refusing to use government-approved testers.

As a society, we prohibit actions that cause harm, like street racing and prostitution. Our goal is to increase safety and protect those most at risk. Our laws play an important role in communicating what is good and beneficial and what is harmful and dangerous. By legalizing recreational marijuana, the Liberals have removed the most basic form of deterrence we have. In other words, the Liberals are sucking and blowing, telling kids its fine to possess and use marijuana in one breath and telling them it’s dangerous and they need to be protected from it in another.

Finally, many Canadians don’t realize that the Liberals have downloaded enforcement to the municipal level. This adds an extra burden to small towns and rural communities. Be sure to contact your municipality for more details on local regulations and use.

From the beginning, Conservatives opposed legalizing recreational marijuana and instead advocated for decriminalization and making possession a ticketing offence. This was also the position of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

As the Official Opposition, we will closely monitor the implementation of legal marijuana and will not hesitate to propose solutions to the inevitable problems that will result from Liberal failure.