Health con­cerns should be a buz­zkill for pot-happy politi­cians

The Observer (Sarnia) - - OPINION -

If the Trudeau Lib­er­als were Boy Scouts, they’d be mis­er­able fail­ures in liv­ing up to the troop’s fa­mous motto of “Be Pre­pared.”

Any­one who still thinks the Lib­er­als have all the pieces in place in their rush to le­gal­ize the recre­ational use of mar­i­juana by Canada Day 2018 has be­ing smok­ing the drapes. Health con­cerns? Hmmm, per­haps it would have been best to have got­ten onto this long be­fore now, see­ing as how suck­ing in THC-laced smoke into the lungs just might have some health reper­cus­sions for the bur­geon­ing toker crowd. But that is not the case. While Ottawa’s par­lia­men­tar­i­ans were en­joy­ing their last week of sum­mer re­cess be­fore re­turn­ing to the par­ti­san fray, an all­party Com­mons health com­mit­tee be­gan meet­ing only this Mon­day to ques­tion med­i­cal and le­gal pro­fes­sion­als on the loom­ing leg­is­la­tion.

Pot pro­duc­ers were sched­uled to be there, as well, over the five days of pro­posed un­in­ter­rupted meet­ings. And cop­pers, too. “We have a lot to learn, and a lot to lis­ten to,” said com­mit­tee chair Bill Casey, a Lib­eral MP from Nova Sco­tia. No kid­ding. In a rather ob­vi­ous at­tempt to de­flect at­ten­tion away from two cor­rup­tion tri­als — one in Sud­bury in­volv­ing al­leged by­elec­tion fid­dling, and a crim­i­nal trial that com­menced Mon­day in Toronto re­gard­ing the al­leged eras­ing of dam­ag­ing e-mails in the premier’s of­fice — the Wynne Lib­er­als of On­tario last week dropped their plan on how they would han­dle wacky to­baccy’s avail­abil­ity in the coun­try’s most-pop­u­lated prov­ince.

On­tario is plan­ning on ramp­ing up the sale of pot by hav­ing 150 stand-alone union­ized stores in place by 2020, and mak­ing 19 the le­gal age for cannabis use among its cit­i­zenry.

The Cana­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion has been like a loop tape in re­peat­ing its con­cern about the health risks of cannabis, par­tic­u­larly when smoked rather than in­gested as ed­i­bles.

It has also been urg­ing the Trudeau Lib­er­als to set the le­gal age for cannabis con­sump­tion at 21, which the On­tario Lib­er­als ob­vi­ously chose to ig­nore last week when they threw their pot doors open.

The Lib­eral chair of the health com­mit­tee, how­ever, has con­cerns he ev­i­dently finds more se­ri­ous than the haul­ing in lungs full of THC-laden smoke from a com­bust­ing weed.

As far as Bill Casey is con­cerned, his com­mit­tee’s key pol­icy is­sues should cen­tre on pre­vent­ing the con­tam­i­na­tion of pot­grow­ing fa­cil­i­ties, the four-plant al­lowance for per­sonal use, and set­ting the min­i­mum age of ac­cess at 18.

Other than that, ev­ery­one needs to chill.

MARK BONOKOSKI

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