Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris issued the following statement in response to the just-released report of the federal Cannabis Task Force:
“This is a comprehensive report, and the framework it outlines for legalizing cannabis in Canada will have many ramifications for B.C. We will take time to thoroughly review it and the 80 recommendations within it. First and foremost, we will approach our review with a public health and safety lens. Our foremost concerns are about keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, curbing drug-impaired driving and addressing any implications that legalization may have for our continued efforts to end gun and gang violence on our streets, which is largely driven by the illicit drug trade.
“It’s clear, and encouraging, that the task force considered B.C.’s concerns as it developed a foundation for a new system of regulatory safeguards. The illegal market for cannabis that exists today has abetted criminal organizations while also saddling many young Canadians with the stigma and ramifications of a criminal record for possession. This report suggests that an opportunity is at hand to address these historical downsides while advancing public health and safety.
“That said, the report acknowledges that the road to sound public policy and a responsible regulatory framework will be long and is best approached with caution. We believe this is a realistic and responsible perspective. Canada has an unprecedented opportunity to pioneer national cannabis legalization while better protecting people under 18, road users, those who consume cannabis for medical and other reasons, and other people from the potential implications of that broadened access.
“The report touches on all of these important aspects and stakeholders, as well as the revenue implications for different levels of government. We look forward to engaging with our federal, provincial and territorial partners on the additional research and policy development that will flow from the task force’s recommendations as the federal government finalizes its regulations.”