Many Canadians are very concerned about the federal government’s decision to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes (medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, and will not be impacted by this Bill). Bill C-45 has been passed by the House of Commons and is now in the Senate for consideration. It is not too late to make your voice heard!  What we need is a very loud and clear public outcry against this legislation.

TAKING ACTION

Canadians who are concerned that the legalization of marijuana will make things worse and not better should act immediately by taking as many of the following actions as possible:

  1. Share this information as broadly and as widely as possible. Raise awareness amongst your family, friends and social media networks that Bill C-45 will make things worse, not better. Visit www.BettyUnger.ca for more resources and background information.
  2. Make your voice heard in every way possible: Write a letter to the editor, comment on Facebook, reach out to your municipal councillor or mayor, connect with those in positions of leadership and influence.
  3. Tell your Member of Parliament about your concerns and that you oppose this legislation. Although the Bill is currently in the Senate, any amendments to the Bill will cause it to be returned to the House of Commons for another vote. Your MP must be aware of your concerns! Find your Member of Parliament here.
  4. Contact at least two Senators from your region and express your concerns about this legislation. Ask them if they intend to support or oppose the Bill. Encourage them to vote against it because the legislation will not accomplish what Prime Minister Trudeau says it will. A list of senators can be found here.

The message is simple: There is wide-spread concern that the government is going too fast with Bill C-45 and that the legislation will not accomplish what it is supposed to. We need to stop and make sure we get it right. Tell the government they are going too fast.

SOMETHING CAN BE DONE

It is foolish to implement such a radical shift in public policy so quickly and on such a massive scale, when so many expert voices are advising against it. Canada will be the first developed country in the world to legalize marijuana and already has the second-highest rate of youth usage in the world. It is imperative that the government proceed with caution and in an incremental fashion.

What the government should do:

  1. Decriminalize: Decriminalize, don’t legalize, the recreational use of marijuana.
  2. Penalize: Impose and enforce serious criminal penalties for those trafficking marijuana.
  3. EducateLaunch a large-scale educational campaign informing Canadians about the harms of marijuana use by youth, young adults and pregnant mothers.

BACKGROUND

The government says Bill C-45 will help prevent young people from accessing marijuana, protect public health and safety, deter criminal activity, and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system. But legalizing marijuana will make these things worse, not better!

  1. Legalization will NOT reduce youth usage
    Legalization creates normalization which gives the impression that the product is harmless. This decrease in the perception of risk always results in increased usage. This has been the experience in states which have legalized marijuana in the US, and it will be our experience in Canada if we go the same direction.
  2. Legalization will NOT protect public health and safety
    The experience of other jurisdictions has demonstrated that legalization does not protect public health and safety, but diminishes it. From increased exposure to youth, children and pregnant mothers, to an increase in drug-impaired driving, legalizing this drug will have a huge human toll. The public health and safety costs will be significant.
  3. Legalization will NOT deter criminal activity
    Criminals are not going to suddenly become law-abiding citizens because the government legalizes marijuana. They will continue to sell illicit marijuana to our youth and move into other illicit substances as necessary. The criminal element will merely pop back up in a different location rather than be deterred.
  4. Legalization will NOT reduce the burden on the criminal justice system
    If the government wants to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system, it should decriminalize not legalize. The District Attorney of Denver noted that the legalization of marijuana in Colorado caused their crime rate to go up, not down. Instead of freeing up law enforcement resources, the Denver police department is now busier than ever enforcing marijuana laws and investigating crimes directly related to marijuana.

For more information and research sources, go here: https://bettyunger.ca/marijuana-legislation-will-not-achieve-its-objectives-and-should-be-defeated/ 

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to call or contact us by email at betty.unger@sen.parl.gc.ca.