Health Minister Rona Ambrose responds to Vancouver city council regulating marijuana dispensaries

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      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




      Jun 24, 2015 at 1:49pm

      Then your conservative government has got to go Ambrose. This is a democracy and the people have spoken. This is not the land of your backwards ignorance.


      Jun 24, 2015 at 2:09pm

      "Regulating marijuana in the same manner [as alcohol] could mean as much as tripling its use by youth."

      Not according to the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, whose report , "Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy," should be required reading for every MP and health and safety bureaucrat.

      "Without criminal prohibition, we were told, cannabis consumption might well explode out of control. The underlying hypothesis, rarely stated explicitly, that criminalizing drugs contributes effectively to reducing their use, has never been demonstrated, however. Quite the contrary, as this chapter will show, available data tend to demonstrate that prohibitionist policies have little impact on levels of use or availability of drugs."

      Paul Allard

      Jun 24, 2015 at 2:39pm

      Provinces have decided to move forward, get with the program, Canadians will have their say in October

      Barry William Teske

      Jun 24, 2015 at 2:54pm

      Oh look Rona Ambrose like every other conservative these last 8 years is responding to the party base.
      I see Vancouver Coastal Health is too...can anyone say 'chocolate flavoured' Ex-Lax?
      So what is up with the myth that these officials are there for everybody?
      Elected or representative are they of who exactly?
      They obviously do not represent the whole of Canadians nor Vancouverites, only those that side with their dogma otherwise known as the riche$t of the $tatus quo.
      So remember to consider carefully where your tax dollars go Canada!
      Your standing in life and who you stand with depends upon it.


      Jun 24, 2015 at 3:04pm

      the evidence about marijuana and schizophrenia is absolutely NOT clear, i have no idea what she is talking about it.

      Tired of Rona and Steve Harper

      Jun 24, 2015 at 3:51pm

      "The evidence is clear that when youth smoke marijuana they have increased risks of mental health issues including psychosis and schizophrenia. "

      If the evidence is clear, why is this reefer madness crowd unable to present this so called clear evidence, apart from a silly fear mongering TV documentary by corporate sellout David Suzuki.


      Jun 24, 2015 at 4:18pm

      The people of BC have spoken. It'. Not yoir choice it's theirs


      Jun 24, 2015 at 4:30pm

      Oh rona ya ditchpig!!..This gov.sells tobacco and Booze.....Biggest sending on Hellth care .Then lives lost ,famlies ruined by Booze,I see kids 14yrs old smoking CIGS and they ask me to get em...NOPE..I'd give em bud be the CIGS ....she is no rocket scientist.....sumone told her she waz smart....fart smeller she STFU and sit down...


      Jun 24, 2015 at 4:35pm

      Why does Rona Ambrose keep making it about youth? What about the millions of adults who want to use it responsibly? If we are so concerned about the youth why do we give all of them equal access to education, by making the equivalent of a bachelors degree tuition free?


      Jun 24, 2015 at 4:38pm

      It's funny how people don't blink when they mention cigarettes and booze. But add pot into a sentence and the world is ending. Booze and smokes cause more deaths then smoking or ingesting pot ever did.
      My mother had cancer and the only thing that gave her any appetite or energy was when we gave her THC pills. As a society we need to take a good look at what we deem " proper and right" if it helps people cope then let them have it.
      People who say pot is a "gateway" drug are nuts. The only people who go on to do other heavier drugs do so on thier own. Not because the pot told them to do it!
      Good on Vancouver for making a choice and being open minded. Not like all the one stuck in the stigma.