BC’s Health minister says it is dangerous for young people to be exposed to marijuana.
Terry Lake says it is time for the federal government to regulate and legalize marijuana, which should help after minors were sold pot at the annual 4/20 smoke up.
“Well of course it is concerning. That is why we need a properly regulated system to protect young people. I think it is widely recognized that for young people getting a hold of pot today is far easier than getting a hold of alcohol. If we have a highly regulated system than can protect young people better than the system we have today I think that is a good thing.”
“Well as Health minister I would make a strong argument for that. I think it is important that when you have got an industry that has potential harmful affects that revenue from that goes back into public health and safety so I am sure those will be part of the discussions I certainly would have that bias.”
Lake says there is time for the work needed to get done while we wait to see what the Federal government tables in the Spring of 2017.
“We have been very successful in regulating other industries like the alcohol industry and that sort of work will help us in the field of cannabis regulation. Of course there will be two streams. There will be a medical cannabis stream potentially and a recreational cannabis stream and they will be quite different.”
No longer needed?
The Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health says there will be no need for the annual 4/20 pot protest next year.
“I would hope there would be less need after legalization for protests and certainly less tolerance for places where the drug may be sold outside of a regulatory framework.”
“These kind of events are a good reason why we want to have legalization of marijuana and regulation. You aren’t seeing events like this giving away alcohol on Sunset beach, which is a legal regulated substance. We know for example even though there were less visits to St Pauls there were many young people who were sold or given marijuana and that is of concern for us especially if these were young people who never tried marijuana before and this was their first exposure to it.”
Daly says in other jurisdictions where marijuana was legalized the impact on the drug trade was immediate.
“It was billed as a protest but it certainly generated a lot of revenue for the vendors. Some of the experiences in US states that have now legalized non-medical marijuana is the illicit market does tend to dry up. Most people would rather purchase things legally. You don’t see, for example, bootleg alcohol being widely sold now that you can get it at legal outlets.”
Daly says the good news is the number of people ending up in the hospital from the smoke up this year appears to be down.