By Tim Kalinowski on March 27, 2017.
Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz says he is opposed to the federal government’s decision to legalize marijuana. The Liberal government announced on Monday it would be going ahead with its legalization plan by July 1, 2018.
“I am personally opposed to the legalizing of marijuana, and how it is being presented,” states Motz.
Drawing on his policing background, Motz says there is no proof legalization will do anything to get rid of illegal drug gangs or increase government revenues. According to Motz, the only direct impact will be on impaired driving rates.
“The police chiefs were proposing minor possession of marijuana be removed from the criminal category. I am in favour of that. It makes sense to do that, but a full-scale legalization, we only have to look at jurisdictions in North America who already have this in place. Speaking about Colorado and Washington specifically, their health care costs are starting to rise. Criminal activity has not diminished, as was promised. Road accidents death by impairment in Washington state, I believe, they were doubled. And Colorado were tripled or quadrupled. When it comes to a public safety issue, I am very concerned about the use of marijuana.”
According to a recent report in the Ottawa Citizen, impaired driving rates doubled in Colorado between 2007 and 2012. And, according to a report by Live Science, the percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had traces of marijuana in their blood has doubled since marijuana was legalized in Washington state. However, the states’ own law enforcement agencies report no actual increase in the impaired driving stats due to marijuana usage since the drug was legalized in 2014. On the other hand, there is widespread agreement current roadside tests which measure marijuana impairment are unreliable.
Motz says this is why the Trudeau government should hold off on legalization.
“Why would you want to push legalized marijuana on society when there are no confirmed, roadside-screening devices to test THC impairment? It’s putting the cart before the horse in that aspect.”
Motz also says Canada’s legal system isn’t ready for legalization.
“If we are going to legalize, how will it be managed? Will it be downloaded on the provinces to try provide a regulation for it? Government’s role should be about public safety.”
He believes the Liberals are trying to mask their broken campaign promises on public infrastructure spending, and on running limited deficits, by trumpeting marijuana legalization.
“I actually hope this is one of his many campaign promises they will not be able to follow through on,” states Motz. “I don’t think it is well thought-out. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense. And I don’t think if Canadians were to weigh-in on this conversation you would find the majority supportive.”
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