FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2016
Legalizing marijuana will harm young people
OTTAWA – Senator Betty Unger today commented on the release of the final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, expressing her deep concern over the government’s intention to legalize marijuana.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the government did not allow the Task Force to investigate whether marijuana should be legalized,” Senator Unger said. “We are clearly headed in the wrong direction and our young people will be the most victimized due to the damage that marijuana causes to a young person’s brain development.”
Senator Unger noted that Canadian youth are already the top users of marijuana in the world. Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will send a powerful message to Canadian youth that the risks are minimal.
“The Prime Minister has repeatedly stated his belief that by legalizing marijuana we can effectively keep it out of the hands of our youth. He is wrong. The evidence overwhelmingly tells us that legalizing marijuana will result in increased usage – even amongst young people.”
Senator Unger pointed to the experience in the United States which has shown that marijuana use by adolescents had grown steadily as more states enact decriminalization laws. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more America teenagers now smoke marijuana than cigarettes.
“The health impacts of marijuana are worse than tobacco  and yet the Minister of Health, whose department is responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health, is leading the charge on this dreadful policy,” Senator Unger stated. “I’m appalled that our nation is moving in this direction.”