Canada's Original Think Tank

February 24, 2016—Legalization of Marijuana

February 24, 2016—Legalization of Marijuana

On February 24th, we invited you to join us in a discussion on the legalization of marijuana. In its speech from the throne, the government reaffirmed its commitment to legalize marijuana during its mandate. Recent polls suggest that the majority of Canadians support such a move. As Canada moves toward legalization, it is crucial that it is done right. How should marijuana be sold? What steps can be taken to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of minors? What tools are available to police for those driving under the influence?

To answer these and other questions, we invited a panel of experts and policy makers to address these and other issues.

Our panel included:

  • Bill Blair, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice
  • Clive Weighill, President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP)
  • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA)
    • Amy Porath-Waller, Ph.D., Director, Research and Policy
    • Rebecca Jesseman, Senior Policy Advisor
  • Benedikt Fischer, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Eugene Oscapella, Lawyer and lecturer on drug policy, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

 

This meeting took place:

Wednesday, February 24th
9:30am – 11:30am
Room 160-S, Centre Block

 

Our discussions are not only open to all parliamentarians, but also to the public, who are welcome to attend in person or follow along and contribute via social media at @LibSenate on Twitter.

 


UPDATE:

We have read your concerns and recognize there is some misunderstanding about the role of our Open Caucus meetings. We would like to address this below:

  1. The Senate Liberals are no longer affiliated with the governing Liberals in the House of Commons. What this means is we can only affect government policy insofar as we can vote on and study legislation as individual Senators. This is not a government sanctioned panel.
  2. Blair is appearing as a witness in his role as a member of the Government. If you look to our meeting on February 3rd, you will note we also hosted Mr. Holland, Parliamentary Secretary on Democratic Reform as a member of our panel on Election Reform. We cannot always secure a government representative, but when we do we welcome them in order to hear the government’s perspective.
  3. This is not a meeting to discuss whether or not the government should legalize marijuana, but rather how to legalize it. The government re-committed to its election promise to legalize marijuana in its speech from the throne, which we take to mean legalization is coming in one form or another. As legislators who will be voting on this legislation in the near future, we are looking to inform ourselves and others on how to go about this in a responsible way that works and can last. We recognize that we cannot touch on all aspects of legalization during a two hour meeting.
  4. This meeting is separate from official government consultations and parliamentary Committee proceedings as the marijuana legislation is crafted.
  5. Please note we have added Eugene Oscapella to the witness list, an Ottawa area lawyer and co-founder of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy.

To listen to the audio of this meeting please choose one of the options below:

Floor feed (English and French)

English only

French only

57 Comments

  1. Neville 3 months ago

    This is great! The panel is Great! I look forward to hearing the reasonable discussion, instead of the empty rhetoric that we’ve been force fed ( by lawmakers and politicians alike) for so long. Please continue to be brave and think outside of the past box of history, moving forward presently into a brighter future. This means nothing to many, and a tremendous amount to others. Too many people unnecessarily criminalized…

    But why such short notice for this panel meeting? A little more advanced notice in the future please. Allow folks to adjust schedules in order to attend.

  2. Dana Larsen 3 months ago

    Two police officers, two doctors and a policy analyst. This is your panel of “experts.”

    How about inviting an actual cannabis user?

    How about inviting someone who has been through the justice system for a cannabis charge, and can explain how that works from the inside?

    How about inviting a police officer from LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition?

    How about inviting the parents of a child who has epilepsy and uses cannabis as their life-saving medicine?

    How about anyone at all from the actual Canadian cannabis community of activists, growers and cannabis users?

    If Canadian legalization is going to be solely informed by police officers and policy analysts, then it’s going to be a crappy kind of legalization that won’t solve any of the problems associated with prohibition.

    • Tony beare 3 months ago

      I agree they need some real people with real situations they have had with this in Canada to fix the out standing issues

    • eric soulliage 3 months ago

      i’m sure a vast majority of the community would love to see YOU representing US , not those who where and still are beating on us , and how about Hugo St-Onge , founder and leader of bloc-Pot political party here in quebec ? no this is not to represent us , is to represent the fascists that have lived off and still live off the prohibition , i’d rather have a solitary worm .

    • Lesley Corriveau 3 months ago

      I am a retired nurse and I totally agree with you Mr. Larsen. I can’t understand why it is illegal in the first place it is a plant and God put it there for a reason, and that reason I believe is saving lives and helping people with their medical conditions. Alcohol is more of a threat than cannabis. It doesn’t have any medical use as far as I know.

    • Til 3 months ago

      I’ve offered my years of experience and findings for the meeting and refused due to RSVP being full.

    • Jons242 3 months ago

      Yeah! Bring in the potheads!

    • Erin Goodwin 3 months ago

      Chris Goodwin and I would really like to be there representing Good Weeds Lounge.

    • Ken S. 3 months ago

      Very well said. Very concerning to me that a Cannabis reform panel of experts contains not one Cannabis expert with background and experience in studying the positive Cannabis possibilities, not limited to physically consumed cannabinoids, but biomass fuel, clothing, and other industries that rescheduleing the plant could open up.

  3. Kim Cooper 3 months ago

    I have just been informed of this very important discussion on Cannabis Legalization.
    I have to ask, why is no one on the agenda or included in the guest list from the Current Cannabis Legalization Community? The legalization process has been moved forward by a core group of people & organizations in Canada. Those in the movement have the only available first hand knowledge of the harms of Prohibition on our community members and Family’s. It seems to me, that any discussion, meeting, summit, or any other name term used to assemble people to talk about this matter, should INCLUDE those who have worked in the movement for the past several decades.

  4. Dave Dowling 3 months ago

    It’s prohibitionists that are invited, while the consumers and those that fought for freedoms are left out in the cold. . . It should be the other way around, with the prohibitionists, police and dare people outside while the consumers and those that fought for people freedoms work out the laws with the senators. . . .

  5. Dave Dowling 3 months ago

    What kind of panel is that? police chiefs, substance abuse and addiction people? Where are the medical users on that panel, the growers for those medical people on that panel? Or even just one of the people running a cannabis cafe on that panel? Why are these people not represented on the panel? Why?

  6. Jordan Eurchuk 3 months ago

    I would love to recieve a transcript of the event since I’m all the way down in Edmonton? Is there any possible way I can? I’m also on Facebook if that’s of any assistance. I applaud you for having the courage to do the right thing and end prohibition of marijuana. It will be of a great benefit to Canada

  7. Mark Conlin 3 months ago

    This discussion demonstrates the fundamental flaw being played out by our various levels of government. The only panel members are those from organizations that have helped to perpetuate prohibition. With respect, that policy has been a complete failure. Why, then, are these the “experts” from which we are supposed to accept potential regulatory advice?

    The following is a recent letter, printed in our local newspaper, that states my perspective on this issue.

    “Dear Editor,

    As a retired Canadian voter, I am, quickly, growing exasperated with how our various levels of government are dealing with the inevitable legalization of cannabis use in our country. No…it’s not the only issue that needs addressing, however, it is one that has the consensus of the majority of Canadians. That should make it easier to proceed, yet, the arrests continue. Especially, in Western Canada, where our resource industries are struggling, the economic benefits, potential job creation and tax revenues of cannabis legalization remain unrealized while our politicians seem to be oblivious as to how to proceed.

    So, who are the politicians – often, prohibitionists themselves – seeking guidance from, in coming up with a workable system? To this point, it seems that they’re asking “public safety and health” representatives. Those would be police and medical associations. Hmmm? The same ones that have championed prohibition for the past 90 years? Because their record, on this matter, has been so successful, I’m guessing.

    Our politicians are, also, being lobbied by those large medical marijuana companies – owned by millionaires (often, former politicians) – that sell by mail order. These are those legal corporations set up under the Harper government. These free-enterprising individuals want the police to step up their raids on medical dispensaries and compassion clubs that have always been, and remain, the overwhelming favourite method for patients to access their cannabis. Use the police to knock off the competition? Sure seems so.

    What really gets me, though, is how the whole matter is being dealt with by both the politicians and media. They seem to be portraying themselves as, grudgingly, cutting marijuana users a favour, rather than responding to the clear majority will of Canadian citizens. That, in itself, should have sent a strong enough message as to implement a moratorium on dispensary raids and personal possession arrests. The argument that “the law is still the law”, in this instance, is just bureaucratic nonsense.

    Here’s the reality check. There is no successful version of regulated marijuana legalization that does not include dispensaries/compassion clubs. There is no successful version of regulated marijuana legalization that does not include recognition of patient and/or recreational users needs. You see, we don’t need a new system. Threats of penalty, clearly, won’t work. Close the dispensaries and the black market will just grow. If this is to work, those charged with making these decisions better stop ignoring us. Without our buy-in, this process is dead in the water.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Conlin
    West Kelowna, BC”

  8. Nathan 3 months ago

    Why is there no speaker from the cannabis community. Shouldn’t talks about legalizing cannabis , include experts on cannabis? Like activists, growers ( we have legal ones in Canada, lawyers, compassion club owners, or even reguler users. If you’re wanting to do this right, you should be including more people. Don’t be Harper and the conservatives now. We are counting on you

  9. Larry 3 months ago

    We need people at this conference that truley understand how to legalize in the best possible way , Dana Larsen would be one of our top picks to talk infront of any committee .

    Larry Capponi

    Kelowna B.C.

  10. Mike Dobson 3 months ago

    Your panel is like having the CEO’s from the big oil companies coming in to discuss climate change.

    Each organization has something to loose if legalization happens.

    Why don’t you talk to the compassion clubs and the Vancouver dispensaries that actually help people.

    This is not going to be a panel of facts it’s going to be a misleading and a scare people to death panel.

    Should at least bring in the Licensed Producers that Health Canada has licensed and ask them what would be the better way forward they have nothing to loose NOTHING!! If leagization doesn’t happen they still have the medical cannabis to fall back on.

    Please show us some better respect for the opinions that exist around the country. Not all of us Cannabis Activists are crazy as the media loves to show us. Just bringing in organizations that are going to lobby for no legalization is a move the Tories would’ve done.

    Thanks for the interest but you have to do better than that.

    Heck I would go back to Ottawa to testify if it would help to get true information to the Senate. Please listen to all of us not these highly inflated postures of ignorance from either side.. listen to the common person

    Thanks

  11. Richard Kudra 3 months ago

    As a Representative of voices seldom considered in this Cannabis Conversation I would like to address the blatant lack of
    Canadian Type compassion in the tone and choice of Panel.
    The police are not capable of compassionate Policy as this is counter to their Mandate of Control and Kettle the People.
    The words of the People are far more important and worthy of our ears.
    Till we have spoken fully the chair and it’s minion’s should just orderly listen to the People.
    Middle administrators paid for by a negative out-come Yellow-Science Trough Industry, Really?!
    You should know the Younger readers and watcher who seek truth far out number you on Panel and your Ilk.
    We will be keeping tabs on this.
    Where We are , and where We’re going to be….you’d be wise to legalize by repeal!
    It is the only option.
    Or shall I bring up the Stats about
    Teen aged drinking and alcohol addiction among that and other age groups?
    Or a whole other Plethora of real other Harms ?

  12. mark davison 3 months ago

    So you are holding this forum that a great idea but sadly you have set this up to fail and to fail in a big way! How can there be a honest debate or talk about the use of cannabis when you stack your panel with everyone except the sick Canadians that use the plant? You have invited the police and policy makers and sadly left out the people that will be effected by this policy! Wow I am kicking myself now for voting for your party!

  13. Lana Bramley 3 months ago

    What we need to ask is why there are no true representatives of the marijuana industry on this “panel of experts “??? Where are the people who actually live and breathe this industry??!!??

  14. Jer 3 months ago

    So, I see that the government has the prime groups that have been pushing prohibition of Cannabis covered for this meeting. But what about real Cannabis experts? I hope they show up and set everyone straight. Hurry up and repeal this garbage law already.

  15. David Chun 3 months ago

    Where are the representatives of the Patients. Where are the representatives of the dispensers.
    Where are the representatives of the MMAR

  16. Dan grose 3 months ago

    I think that there should be more of these across Canada in each province so every can be heard! I would deffinatly attend but I’m in regina Saskatchewan!

  17. Jerry Golick 3 months ago

    Why are there so many members from Addiction and Substance Abuse organizations? Most of the mythology of cannabis abuse have been thoroughly debunked by now. These people, by the very nature of their profession, have a skewed and biased view, and one that the current medical science DOES NOT SUPPORT!. If you are going to have a discussion at least make it balanced with respect to the participants.

    I am glad to see that a discussion is being held, but frankly I question the bias of the participants, and am fearful of the outcome. I support the notion of more public involvement and of the participation of health care practitioners, and social activists, and researchers who can provide a more balanced perspective.

  18. Kim Randrup 3 months ago

    Justin, very disappointed in your choice of “panel”. Where is the balance? Where is the “pro” side? Not what we had hoped for. As I said, disappointing to say the least! I think that there should be more of these across Canada in each province so every can be heard! I would definitely attend but I’m in BC.

  19. Mark Pallen 3 months ago

    Pure semantics. Obviously stacking the panel by the very organizations that have lobbied against cannabis all these years.
    How stupid do you take the public to be? Why is there nobody on the panel to represent medical cannabis patients? Or even recreational users?
    This is nothing but a dog and pony show, attempting to show our government is concerned with the cannabis patients and their access to their medicine. You might be fooling some people but you sure as hell aren’t fooling the cannabis community.
    Remove those from the panel that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo, and then maybe we can get what is best for Canadians and not just what is best for their interests.
    Leave money out of the equation. Put the health of the people you are supposed to represent first, rather than the monetary implications on the industries represented in the panel.

  20. Sheila Jacobson 3 months ago

    I second Dana Larsen (and other activist) comments here and would like to add that not only should you be consulting the cannabis community as the real experts on cannabis and policies/regulations going forward, it is the cannabis community itself who should actually determine policies, implement legalization and develop patient support and education programs.

    The truth and fact is that the potential harm from cannabis is about equal to that of coffee and should be regulated as such. Although a majority of Canadians might have reservations about teen use, those fears, based upon the lies of prohibition, will undo themselves shortly following legalization when the reality becomes apparent.

    To exclude the cannabis community, who brought to light the medical benefits which will eventually help millions, is short sighted and arrogant and typifies bureaucratic “group think”. It exemplifies “we know best” paternalism. Well, guess what? You don’t know best. We do. Furthermore, to only allow for a corporate LP monopoly system to cultivate, distribute and sell cannabis, medical or otherwise, amounts to property theft of the cannabis communities’ intellectual commons.

    Finally, rejection of our systems already in place to distribute and care for patients is wasteful and inefficient and will result in an unacceptable delay in patient care and lives lost, not to mention untold suffering as a corporate/government monopoly control system tries to re-invent the wheel.

    The cannabis community has been rejected, punished and disdained for decades and has sacrificed, researched and implemented patient care against all odds and not only should we have the best available seat in the canni-bus going forward, we should be driving the bus. We are in the process of uniting and organizing and we have solutions. We deserve respect and inclusion in this process.

  21. Tamara Cartwright Poulits 3 months ago

    I must illiterate people that use cannabis as medicine need to be heard, as well as is isn’t easy taking something from that angle and making it recreational, I must also say the laws must be repealed from cannabis allowing people to grow their own, as well as own business’s that are cannabis related, it shouldn’t be left to a corporate monopoly. Many of us have been working for years to come to an adult conclusion to a simple problem. Cannabis is less harmful than many legal substances and should be treated like the herb that it is. I would hope that the science of the plant is brought to the table and the voices of the thousands of people that use it.

    thank you
    Tamara Cartwright

  22. Jeff Harris 3 months ago

    from looking at the panel, i would say this is a panel against and not for. if it were “for”, there would be people involved that want it legalized and not the people who fought against it.
    from looking at the comments, a lot of people feel the same way.
    this IS a representation of what is wrong with this scene. they are talking and dealing with people who have never used it or have a real interest. why not ask the people who want and need it IE: how about a talk or discussion about the MEDICAL side. should we not take care of our SICK before taking care of their wallets?? we are people after all!!
    if you open to the actual experts-people who use it- you might help end the stigma too

  23. Matt Elrod 3 months ago

    I agreed with Dana Larsen and most other commenters that the panel has a glaring lack of representatives from the cannabis consuming and cannabis law reform communities. Granted, the CAMH has called for legal regulation, but only as a means to improve public health, not to reduce stigma or achieve fairness and equality for cannabis consumers. For future panels, might I suggest:

    Craig Jones, Executive Director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
    Alan Young, Vice President, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
    Donald MacPherson, Executive Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.
    Eugene Oscapella, Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.
    Jamie Shaw, President, Canadian Association of Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries.
    Dana Larsen, Vice President, Canadian Association of Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries.

  24. Dave McKeen 3 months ago

    This is a policy being presented at this weekends policy Convention in Alberta. Lets see if we can get it presented by several ridings.
    MEDICAL CANNABIS POLICY
    WHEREAS Medical Cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001;
    AND WHEREAS Medical Cannabis extracts and infused foods etc became legal in 2015;
    AND WHEREAS Cannabis has been subjected to over 20,000 studies including several peer reviews, confirming cannabis has medical benefits and is nontoxic and nonlethal;
    AND WHEREAS current regulations do not allow medical practitioners to prescribe the correct amount to patients and do not allow some patients to grow their own;
    AND WHEREAS lack of classification as a prescription drug is causing undue financial burden to patients requiring Medical Cannabis;
    BE IT RESOLVED that Medical Cannabis be recognized as a prescription drug and granted a DIN number for insurance coverage purposes;
    AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that growing ones own supply is legal with a doctor’s prescription;
    AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED dosage parameters are solely and completely at the decision and discretion of the patient and their prescribing doctor.

    Let’s get this happening ASAP.

  25. Keith Fagin 3 months ago

    The serious concern is the panel does not include any drug policy reform organizations like NORML Canada, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition or Canadian Harm Reduction Network.

    National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada (NORML Canada) is a non-profit, public interest, volunteer operated, publicly funded organization, chartered at the federal level in Canada since 1978.

    NORML Canada seeks through government lobbying, public education, and member mobilization to end the criminal prohibition on cannabis use and cannabis growing. NORML Canada believes that the criminal prohibition on cannabis has been harmful, expensive, ineffective and unjust.

    http://norml.ca/
    http://drugpolicy.ca/
    http://canadianharmreduction.com/

  26. Curtis 3 months ago

    And no advocate(s) on the panel from the Cannabis community? This doesn’t seam biased at all…

  27. Christa Schadt 3 months ago

    I totally agree with all activist comments! I am now waiting for you – the Liberal government to reply to these comments and to change the face of your panel – Immediately!

  28. James Kerr 3 months ago

    As a user and grower of Cannabis I’m saddened by the panel that had been set up. The only way to reduce the black market is to open up to the public 6 plants/adult over 19. The producers already in place will still have a market, due to non-greenthumbs, apartment dwellers anyone without space to grow & those with enough income to purchase it that can’t be bothered to grow. Follow the Colorado model it’s working and they earning record amounts of tax revenues!
    Canada was once a leader in the underground Cannabis industry, the snail paced legalisation will only put us further behind this “new” legal global economy. Open your minds up to the possibilities and let Canada be Leaders once again!

  29. As Canada moves towards legalization, it is critical that educator’s play an important role to help keep our student’s safe and knowledgable, particularly surrounding such questions as, ‘what steps can be taken to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of minors?

    Educators for Sensible Drug Policy is an organization of educators devoted to facts about Canadian drug policy in our schools and communities. This is an important opportunity for school administrator’s and teachers to engage in a public conversation, to increase new partnerships and join existing partners to provide solid evidential science and facts around cannabis and all drugs for youth across Canada.

    Educators recognize the need for health and wellness for our student’s and we want to help set the stage for teachers and their students to create a much needed public discussion around drug programs in our public schools. In 1997 there were 25 gang related deaths in B.C. alone, this number increased to 43 in 2009! EFSDP’s research uncovered information about youth as young as 16 joining gangs after they had been expelled from school using cannabis. Cannabis related arrests in Canada have risen from approximately 39,000 in 1990 to 65,000 in 2009! The costs to law enforcement and judicial systems, as well as the cost of incarceration are a heavy and growing burden on educators and taxpayers.

    Educator’s are part of the solution.

    • The value of Educator’s represented at the Liberal Senate Forum will draw attention to the Liberal Senate’s question:
      “How do we keep cannabis out of the hands of minors?”

      Educators have always been on the front line regarding youth use. This panel, along with Mr Eugene Oscapella, comes precisely with the people school administrator’s and teacher’s preference;
      law enforcement and mental health providers. JustinTrudeau, as well as being our PM, is also Minister of Youth, Jane Philpott Minister of Health and Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science have all heard from EFSDP over the 13 years we have been an official Canadian NGO.
      Whether or not they are present at the forum is not necessarily relevant, but I do know a collaborative and cooperative approach is crucial at this time as we begin talks on what legalization will look like as it affects the youth (minors) of Canada.
      I thank the organizers creating this forum! We need a BIG voice! Canadian minor’ need to be represented because they attend our public schools, professional educator’s from the Canadian College of Teachers, Teacher’s Unions across Canada and Canadian Universities who train teachers in public education. All have the responsibility to get this right!
      Consider this:
      “Knowledge is from whose point of view?”
      Knowing this and offering alternatives when points of view are outdated requires highly motivated individuals to understand that legalization and evidence based drug education is critical to our needs. As our social systems begin to account for beauty, form, mystery, meaning, value and quality, our drug education programs will help provide a basic fundamental need, as fundamental as those for food, warmth and shelter.

      “BETTER” = Be Educators That Teach Evidence Research

  30. Laurel Brant 3 months ago

    haha . . . . . just like having a panel on racism with all white panel members . . . . or, a consensus conference on aspects of cesarean section without a panel member who has had ‘the cesarean experience’ . . . . . . so typical, sad, and frustrating . . . .

  31. Elliott 3 months ago

    When legalization happens there needs to be laws to allow people to grow, selling it is great but I hope not to see any contradictions in “Legalization”. If people can make alcohol themselves and grow their own food, the same should be allowed for Marijuana.

  32. Bob McKercher 3 months ago

    Looks like a very biased group. Weighill is an anti-pot extremist. His Saskatoon police force lead the country in pot busts last year. With him at the top, the Ass of Chiefs of Police have recommended against legalisation. Substance abuse and mental health people but where are the legalization advocates who have finally succeeded in bringing this baby to term? How about the pot grower industry? It’s starting to look like the fix is in.

  33. Marc-Boris St-Maurice 3 months ago

    Marc-Boris St-Maurice
    4135 St-Laurent blvd,
    Montreal, Quebec
    H2W1Y7

    Feb. 12, 2016
    The Honourable Bill Blair, MP
    Parliamentary secretary
    House of Commons Ottawa,
    Ontario Canada K1A 0A6

    Dear Sir,

    Having studied and confronted the issue of marijuana reform for over 25 years, I have acquired unique expertise in this field and now offer my help and support for the government’s plan to finally legalize and regulate marijuana.

    • From 1998 to 2004 I founded and led both the federal Marijuana Party and Québec Bloc Pot, an experience that not only enabled me to assemble the largest group of cannabis activists in the country’s history, and provide me with an invaluable education on the political process.
    • For a brief period, I was Editor-in-chief of ‘Heads’ Magazine, a national, alternative publication devoted exclusively to cannabis-related issues.
    • On occasion I have been called upon as an ‘expert witness’ to give court testimony, particularly on potential yields of specified production sites.
    • For the past 20 years I have been frequently called upon by both French and English news media for comment and analysis of marijuana-related issues.
    • Above all, I have served as Director of the Montreal Compassion Center for the past 15 years which has provided me with a unique insight into the social, legal and commercial challenges which legalized marijuana will entail.

    The transition from current market forces to a new regulated industry will require building bridges and closing gaps that might otherwise encourage the black market to continue and flourish. Done correctly, I believe legalization will lead to decreased rates of social usage, all the while making it more difficult for young people to access. Through strict quality control, it will help reduce any harms associated with marijuana use, while reducing law enforcement and judicial costs and bringing revenues currently lost to the black market back into the legitimate economy.

    It is my fervent belief that this challenge can only be met with these objectives in the forefront. With that in mind, I offer my services in an advisory capacity. Fluent in both French and English, I have developed a strong network of key stakeholders in the marijuana industry from every province. Canada stands at a historical crossroads; poised to become an exemplary model for the rest of the world on how to successfully and responsibly legalize marijuana.

    To that end, I am available to meet at a time and place of your convenience so that we may establish how I can best be of service in this great endeavour.

    Respectfully yours,

    Marc-Boris St-Maurice
    Director,
    Centre compassion de Montréal

    cc. Right Honourable Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada

  34. Douglas Green 3 months ago

    This new plan that the Liberal Government has came up with seems to only support corporations and their share holders. Their plan so far seems to be to take over an industry that was created by hard working individuals who have risked their freedom and lives to bring much needed medicine to the sick who desperately need it every day. Yes some of that medicine has been used recreationally as well. Their needs to be allowance for the community of individuals who have created this industry to continue to create and provide jobs and medicine that is and will be needed. For this to be taken over solely by large corporations is wrong. I propose that the Liberal Government also do as President Obama had done and allow ( Native Americans) First Nations to enter into the business of Production on their lands as there seems to be a lack of jobs in most of their communities. This could provide them with jobs and a means to self sufficiency. As well First Nations are the most unhealthy Nationality in Canada and could benefit in many ways.

  35. Wayne Jory 3 months ago

    It’s a harmless plant with all kinds of medical benefits. It’s not complicated, if you want us to act like responsible adults, stop treating us like children. Admit that prohibition was a huge mistake, times have changed, we’re no longer mindless sheep believing everything our leaders tell us. Marijuana is a harmless plant. Legalize it’s use, with no restrictions, like any other harmless herbal remedy. This band of mobsters they call a panel are only trying to figure out a way they can fill their pockets with our tax dollars by controlling access to one of nature’s greatest gifts.
    Go ahead, sit on your thrones figuring out new and malicious ways to make sick people pay for your excessive salaries. Who are the real mobsters in this story of prohibition and greed?

  36. Andrew Jay 3 months ago

    Can members of the public suggest questions for Senators to put to the panel?

  37. Matt Elrod 3 months ago

    Thanks for the clarification and bravo for adding Eugene Oscapella.

    • Herb Couch 3 months ago

      Yes, I’m glad to see that Eugene Oscapella was added to the witness list.

  38. ernie yacub 3 months ago

    Your addendum states: “As legislators who will be voting on this legislation in the near future, we are looking to inform ourselves and others on how to go about this in a responsible way that works and can last. We recognize that we cannot touch on all aspects of legalization during a two hour meeting.”

    In a 2 hour meeting you’re going to do what? Hopefully it’s just the beginning of a much longer and more thorough examination of the issues but the makeup of the committee does not inspire confidence. Just in case members of the committee sincerely want to “inform themselves and others”, i offer the following short intro and urge senators to do their own research…

    “At the time of updating (February 2015), a PubMed search for scientific journal articles published in the last 20 years containing the word “cannabis” revealed 8,637 results. Add the word “cannabinoid,” and the results increase to 20,991 articles. That’s an average of more than two scientific publications per day over the last 20 years!” Dr. Martin Sulak

    “The endogenous cannabinoid system [ecs] named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” Dr. Martin Sulak

    It turns out that the endocannabinoid system (ecs) is responsible for homeostasis (balance, equilibrium, stability) and plant cannabinoids (thc, cbd, cbc, cbg) help the ecs when it can’t produce enough endocannabinoids to deal with the stress of illness, injuries, and the myriad other stressors of daily life (better than a martini or 3).

    Dr. Ethan Russo has posited a “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” syndrome to account for the cannabis plant’s therapeutic effects.
    http://www.i-gap.org/app/dokumente/Endocarbinoid%20Defeciency.pdf

    There is growing evidence that cannabinoids induce autophagy (self-destruction) in cancer cells, cut off their blood supply, and shrink tumours. http://www.worldhealth.net/news/thc_initiates_brain_cancer_cells_to_dest/

    There is so much more that can be said about cannabis and the ecs, but the most important is our inalienable right to manage our own health unmediated by the medical industrial complex and the pharmaceutical industry.

    Whole plant medicine is the beginning and end of the discussion…
    “There are more than 480 natural components found within the cannabis plant, of which 66 have been classified as “cannabinoids….evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation: That is the “entourage effect.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN reporter.

    And given that cannabidiol (cbd) isn’t psychoactive, how can any government classify cannabis as a harmful drug? Unlike prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that kill over 10,000 patients in hospital settings in Canada every year, cannabis, even in very large doses, does not kill.

    The biggest “health care” expenditure by citizens and governments is pharmaceutical drugs. Cannabis can replace most pharmaceutical drugs (imo). Therein lies the prohibition problem.

    Forget legalization (ie tax and regulate so we can’t grow it or afford to buy it), simply remove it from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and leave us alone. It would certainly save everybody a lot of time, money, and aggravation.

    ernie yacub
    wet coast of turtle island

  39. Dez 3 months ago

    Shouldn’t there be someone on this panel with an affiliation and knowledge about marijuana instead of just the people who are used to arresting and chastising marijuana users?

  40. Rajiv 3 months ago

    Marijuana will not be legalized under Justin Trudeau. I can guarantee this.

    Keep dreaming, fools.

  41. Patrick 3 months ago

    Get it done already, the benefits outweigh the risks, it will make our government a lot of money that we can reinvest in education and infrastructure. Also, it will stop poor regular people from over flowing our prison systems for their god damned chump weed charges, wasting our tax payer money and ruining lives.

  42. Michelle 3 months ago

    Looking forward to meaningful discussion tomorrow. I have seen the benefits of Cannabis when a family member was terminally ill. I trust the Trudeau government will legalize quickly to give better access to those who need it, and in a responsible way for adults to enjoy it.

    Having said that, I’m also a mom of teens and would like to see strict regulations, such as the ones that exist for alcohol, and at least if kids did get their hands on it, we’d know what is in it… and their illegal supplier wouldn’t be trying to ‘sell-up’ to harder drugs.

    I agree with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Prohibition doesn’t work!

  43. Grace Genevieve 3 months ago

    No Canadian actually wants radiation in their medicinal cannabis or recreational cannabis…truth is truth, RADIATION and INORGANICS are killers.

  44. Sam Vekemans 3 months ago

    Good morning,

    As the initiator of the e-petition e-18 (Cannabis) to Repeal Cannabis prohibition, (created with the collaborative effort from many in the Cannabis Community) I would like to thank the Liberal Senate forum for hosting this event. (shameless plug https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-18)

    Thank you for making the audio recording available for the public.

    I would like to THANK YOU for allowing Jody Emery to speak at this forum. (our collective complaints must have helped) (She has promoted and supports the e-18 petition, which contributed to make to the top 4 e-petitions)
    and THANK YOU for allowing Judith Renaud, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy to speak.

    I would like to encourage everyone to write to all of the MPs and to the Senators, especially to Bill Blair telling him that Canadians want (to have the specifics outlined in the petition).

    Respecting First Nations as a Nation-to-nation relationship, should mean that the federal government SHOULD NOT dictate how Cannabis should be regulated!!! Quebec, as a special federal relationship SHOULD have their own rules. (It does NOT matter if the others don’t agree with it!!! Provinces have their own Alcohol rules, and KNOWONE DIES FROM CANNABIS!!! (IT’S SAFER THAN GLUE and WHITEOUT (standard school supplies) … remove it from the CDSA, criminal code & repair the damage done and then back-off, it’s as simple as that!

    I have taken the liberty of going ahead and drafting my own independent Bill C-420 / S-420 (for Senators), that i’m sending to MPs and Senators and sent a public letter, along with a hard copy of C-420 to Bill Blair https://www.facebook.com/notes/bill-s-420-the-cannabis-freedom-act/re-repeal-cannabis-prohibition-adopt-draft-bill-c-420-public-letter/1246145585401872 (created directly along side with the e-petition(s) text)

    SUMMARY
    This enactment repeals the prohibition of cannabis to;
    Repeal the prohibition on possession and personal cultivation of cannabis;
    Permit patients or their designated grower to provide medical cannabis as recommended by a physician; and
    End police raids against community medical cannabis dispensaries, and enable their municipal regulation, as per the position of the Union of BC Municipalities;
    and with one year:
    Allow farmers to harvest and sell the cannabinoid-rich resin from their plants, as per the recent resolution of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance;
    For those convicted for a cannabis offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, on a case-by-case basis: Grant a full pardon and amnesty for past offences, expunge criminal records and release all prisoners currently serving time;
    Permit Provinces, Territories and First Nations to decide how they want to tax, regulate and distribute cannabis as needed; and
    Implement zero tax status on medical cannabis.

    The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes that ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice’. By removing cannabis from the drug schedule, we recognize this right. (Section 7 of the Charter). Therefore;
    Completely end the prohibition of cannabis, by removing it entirely from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act;
    Repeal the consequential regulations made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; and
    Repeal Section 462.2 of the Criminal Code, which bans literature and harm reduction devices like waterpipes and vaporizers.
    ****

    We (collectively) can tell the government that this is how we can legalize cannabis.

    Thank you,
    Sam Vekemans
    Victoria, BC

  45. linda 2 months ago

    First one has to look at the legal framework of cigarettes and alcohol, which by definition are legal mood altering drugs in canada. Legalizing marijuana is all about the money. In my view akin to buying food and medicine. Right now we have medical marijuana in canada. But here is the thing, once big pharma makes its synthetic version, it’s no longer medical. Now it’s poison.

    Dispensaries are needed to stock supplies of good quality medical marijuana. What I do not wish to see is regulations like alcohol. Okay to buy and drink but not okay to make your own. In the case of alcohol, no problems, it’s not medicinal when ingested. But marijuana regulations should allow a person to grow their own as well as smoke it, eat it or use it as suppositories.

    This group needs to think outside the box. We now have a framework of companies who grow medical marijuana, safely and with knowledge of the content. Several are on the stock market and I for one, plan on buying into canopy growth corporation. Shares are under 3.00 right now. That’s big money in the future and these companies know it. Pioneers.

    The price of an ounce of marijuana needs to be reduced. Right now we all pay black market prices because it’s illegal. 150 to 225 an ounce with no guarantee of quality or purity. The trick is to keep big pharma from patenting a drug formula that changes that and then charging more. Remember, big pharma paid for the campaign to outlaw it in the first place in the 1930s.

    Legalize the natural substance and keep it out of the hands of big pharma and drug dealers-doctors and street vendors.

    To legalize it now, there are a lot of hands In the pockets of the decisions these people make on how to legalize it and who gets the Lions share of the money.

    This committee needs to be checked for each persons conflict interest. Specifically the fact that they do not favour legalizing it… to specifically state they are not for it but merely tasked with the job of legalizing it means they are Insidee a box and can’t see the forest for the trees. They don’t recognize the benefit to the people with the regulations they plan on putting forth.

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