The office of Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose released the following statement today (June 24) in response to the City of Vancouver passing a council motion that provides for the regulation of stores selling medicinal marijuana.
As Health Minister, I am deeply disappointed by the City of Vancouver’s decision to 'regulate' illegal marijuana storefronts across the city.
Marijuana is neither an approved drug nor medicine in Canada and Health Canada does not endorse its use. While Canadian courts have required the Government to allow access to marijuana when authorized by a physician, the law is clear that this must be done in a controlled fashion to protect public health and safety.
The evidence is clear that when youth smoke marijuana they have increased risks of mental health issues including psychosis and schizophrenia. The City’s own medical officials predict that dispensaries will make marijuana cookies and candies more accessible to youth.
Marijuana storefronts form part of Justin Trudeau’s plan to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity and make it available in stores across Canada just like alcohol and cigarettes. This Conservative Government wants to stop kids from smoking marijuana and we do not support making access to illegal drugs easier.
According to the Canadian Drug Use Monitoring Survey, marijuana use by youth has dropped by almost 45% since 2004 thanks to our efforts to educate families. This same survey reported that while 20% of youth smoked marijuana in 2012, 70% drank alcohol. Regulating marijuana in the same manner could mean as much as tripling its use by youth.
These stores have absolutely no regard for the rule of law and have been caught selling marijuana to kids – they represent Justin Trudeau's vision for Canadian neighbourhoods from coast to coast to coast.
Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal and under this Conservative Government will remain illegal.
We expect the police to enforce the law.
Hon. Rona Ambrose PC MP
Minister of Health