The Timeline for Cannabis Legalization is Prudent and Achievable
The argument to legalize cannabis has been clearly articulated over the years, and public opinion polls from coast to coast have consistently shown that Canadians of all age groups and genders support the move.
NICHE believes it is not in the best interest of Canada to unnecessarily delay the passage of Bill C-45 and Bill C-46. The current regime is failing our youth, criminalizing thousands of Canadians and allowing gangs to thrive off black market production, distribution and retail.
Legalization is a multifaceted shift, and Senators have a constitutional responsibility to thoughtfully review and debate the legislation. It is very important to get it right. But, it’s also important that this work takes place in a timely fashion, without undue delay.
The Cannabis Act will enact new measures to keep cannabis out of the hands of our children and youth, by restricting access and putting in safeguards to prevent people from encouraging young people to buy or use it. Unlike the current framework, there will be serious penalties for those who break these new criminal offences. Delaying legalization will postpone these important health and safety enhancements.
It is Canada’s network of criminal gangs that will benefit the most if legalization is put on hold. Our country needs a safe, legal and tightly regulated supply chain to remove the billions of dollars of profits from the hands of criminal organizations.
The federal government, its agencies and public servants have been working on a roadmap for legalization for close to two years. As well, provincial and territorial governments have been busy laying the necessary groundwork, including adopting legislation and regulations, signing legal contracts, preparing education campaigns and training employees.
The private sector is signing leases, hiring staff and ramping up production. To delay the bill would be costly and put all this planning and financial investment in jeopardy.
Governments and businesses across the country are moving forward in a pragmatic and efficient manner, and we believe it is in the best interest of Canadians that Senators take the same approach.
The time has come to end the criminalization of cannabis users. The time has come for Canada to implement measures to protect our youth and thwart criminal activity. And, the time to act is now.
NICHE strongly urges the Senate of Canada to pass Bill C-45 and Bill C-46 with no unnecessary delay.