OTTAWA – Dr. Eileen de Villa, Public Health Chief of Toronto, convinces the Ottawa’s federal government to decriminalize recreational marijuana possession until its legalization’s proper implementation in July 2018.
In one of her interviews, Dr. De Villa said that since the possession of recreational cannabis will soon be legalized in Canada, they recommend to, with the lead of the Board of Health, persuade the federal government to decriminalize the plant’s possession for personal use immediately.
Her report of cannabis that approaches on “how it is used for health protection with minimal harm” gives emphasis that the plant’s criminalization, or illegalization, of possession and use affects the determinants of health in social terms.
She also stated the strong possibilities of the long-term aftermath to those individuals who were convicted and arrested for pot possession, which includes their abilities to access to housing and employment, their future economic status and social stigmatization.
It is also foreseen that young Canadians will be significantly affected during the last few months before the pot possession legalization unless the federal government will make actions.
Based on the current statistics, approximately 22,000 convictions and 59,000 charges will be recorded due to simple possession during the intervention of cannabis legalization in Canada.
In the report, the immediate pot possession decriminalization is just one of the few recommendations to be discussed at the meeting of the Board of Health next Monday.
Other of the recommendations also seeks the federal government of the following:
- Alignment of the minimum age of cannabis purchase to the minimum age of legal alcohol and set it at 19 years old as well. It was, in fact, set by Ottawa’s federal government at 18 as the minimum age, but granted the local territories and provinces the authority to set it on a higher, but not lower.
- Establish rules for the labeling and an absolute standard of plain packaging for all pot products. As also currently proposed to the federal government.
- Create law enforcement measures for cannabis possession and use.
- Enhance the implementation of the rules and policies on cannabis promotion and marketing with more broad prohibitions to address the advertisements in video games, movies, social media and other channels that youths can easily and more often access.
The public health chief also believes that provinces should have agencies that are controlled, and independent from LCBO, to regulate the selling and distribution of cannabis for recreational use and establish a program that promotes and educates the users their social responsibility.
She also suggests the prohibition of vaping and smoking of cannabis in any of Queen’s Park public spots, as well as its usage in motor vehicles.
Upon the implementation of the proposed law, the production of cannabis will be handled and regulated by the federal government.
While the ones responsible for the creation of systems to control the cannabis retail sale and distribution will be the territorial and provincial governments, including its implementation, maintenance and up to enforcement.
Provincial governments can also develop other legislations that may require additional conditions as deemed necessary.
With the forecasted possible rate of charges and convictions during the transition of the pot legalization in marijuana, can the immediate decriminalization of pot possession in Ottawa, or other provinces and territories within Canada, address the issues they may presently have, as well as control the moderation of its use?