Article by Lift News
Legalizing recreational cannabis was a key campaign pledge for the federal government. With the Liberals doggedly sticking to an ambitious implementation date (now just 286 days away), Ottawa needs legislative progress this Fall session for C45 and in provincial capitals across Canada.
As a first step, they scheduled a marathon review of C45 before the Standing Committee on Health (HESA). The condensed but intense study included five full days of testimony from over 100 witnesses.
The testimony is available on ParlVu. Strap in for an invigorating 40 hours.
On Tuesday MOJAG Judy Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Gooddale, and new Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor will provide the last Session of witness testimony to C45 before it heads to clause-by-clause review.
Committee Review can be monotonous. But it’s an important last bit of public consultation before MPs rewrite the Bill in clause-by-clause review. This week’s review highlight two issues that must be addressed, two contentious issues that should be watched closely, and hints about what other legislative and policy issues you should be watching for next.
Must be addressed:
Edibles / value added products (VAPs)
Testimony from a wide variety of stakeholders was decisive. Smoking is bad for your health, regardless of what you’re smoking. Legalizing a product that is predominantly consumed by smoking—but not regulating the healthier modes of consumption—is bad policy. Experts from public health, justice and jurisdictions with experience in legalizing cannabis (like Colorado and Washington) told the Committee that with a growing market share, edible and value added products would be purchased from the black market if they were not available in the legal recreational market.
“This has been a very prevalent concern raised by witnesses—that edibles should be part of C45—primarily for public health and because the black market will provide them.” -John Oliver (Liberal-Oakville) to Health Canada ADM
At the end of hearings, the Liberals—who ignored a key recommendation of the Task Force Report to include edibles/VAPs for these very reasons when they wrote C45—had a change of heart. And they promptly pointed the finger at Health Canada for not being prepared.