A Canadian Senator with roots in the Peace Country is deeply concerned with the Liberal government’s intention to legalize marijuana.
“We are clearly headed in the wrong direction and our young people will be the most victimized due to the damage that marijuana causes to a young person’s brain development,” Senator Betty Unger states in a news release dated Dec. 14.
She responded to the final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, a process led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the government did not allow the Task Force to investigate whether marijuana should be legalized,” says Unger, who was born and educated in Sexsmith.
She notes that Canadian youth are already the top users of marijuana in the world and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will send a powerful message to Canadian youth that the risks are minimal.
“The prime minister has repeatedly stated his belief that by legalizing marijuana we can effectively keep it out of the hands of our youth; he is wrong,” Unger says.
“The evidence overwhelmingly tells us that legalizing marijuana will result in increased usage – even amongst young people.”
Unger points to the experience in the United States which has shown that marijuana use by adolescents had grown steadily as more states enact decriminalization laws.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more America teenagers now smoke marijuana than cigarettes.
“The health impacts of marijuana are worse than tobacco and yet the Minister of Health, (Jane Philpott), whose department is responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health, is leading the charge on this dreadful policy,”
“I’m appalled that our nation is moving in this direction.”