Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is the latest official to call on the Trudeau government to immediately decriminalize pot possession in Canada.
In her newly released report, Toronto’s medical chief said, “given that cannabis possession will soon be lawful in Canada, it is recommended that the Board of Health urge the federal government to immediately decriminalize the possession of non-medical cannabis for personal use.”
The report outlines how the criminalization of cannabis use can negatively affect an individual’s health, mainly from a social perspective. The doctor brings attention to the long-term consequences that can happen with a possession arrest, including limiting someone’s access to employment and housing if they have a criminal record.
Based on estimates stated in the report, there will be approximately 59,000 charges laid and 22,000 convictions for possession before cannabis is legalized in Canada.
Although the suggestion of decriminalization is a seemingly liberal move, other recommendations put forth in the report are on the conservative side. Those points include setting the minimum age for purchase at 19 years instead of 18 years as recommended by the feds, plain packaging and labeling, and heavy regulations on the marketing of cannabis products, to name a few.
De Villa also said that pot sales should be separate from government-controlled liquor stores and smoking or vaping weed in public should be prohibited.
While yet another government agency calls out the Prime Minister for not decriminalizing, an article in the National Post said that more than 15,000 people have been charged with possession since Trudeau took office. Of those thousands of people who now face penalties, 2,000 have been convicted.
“The fact remains that we still have people receiving criminal convictions for a substance that the government intends to legalize,” said the New Democrats (NDP) justice critic Alistair MacGregor.
The call to end pot possession charges will more than likely fall on deaf ears. Despite vocal protests from all sides, Trudeau has remained steadfast in his belief that legalization and nothing else is the correct path for Canada.