Alistair MacGregor asks how cannabis legalisation relates to Canada's international treaties
May 11th, 2017 - 3:00pm
Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford): Mr. Speaker, Canada is party to three international treaties that outlaw the legalization of marijuana. In order to withdraw from these treaties, Canada must provide one year's notice to the other signatories. If the government plans to legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018, then we need to withdraw from these treaties by July 1 of this year, or risk not being able to legalize until 2019 at the earliest.
Will the Prime Minister commit to withdrawing from these treaties before the July 1 deadline?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Papineau): Mr. Speaker, we are choosing to legalize marijuana because the current system is failing Canadians. We are not protecting our children adequately, because they have easier access to marijuana than they do to nicotine cigarettes. We are continuing to funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs.
Everywhere around the world people are grappling with a failed war on drugs. People are very interested with the leadership that Canada is showing in terms of figuring out how to better protect our kids and pull away the profits from criminals and organized crime.
Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford): Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister what he was doing about the three international drug treaties that keep marijuana illegal. It was not a trick question, yet the Prime Minister responded with talking points and refused to address the subject.
If we do nothing about these treaties by the deadline of July 1, which I remind all hon. members is seven weeks away, we could be in breach of our international accords.
Could the Liberals just put down the talking points and tell the House what they are doing about those treaties before the July 1 deadline?
Matt DeCourcey (Fredericton): Mr. Speaker, as our Prime Minister iterated yesterday, we are taking a regulatory approach to the legalization and regulation of cannabis that puts the health and safety of Canadians at the forefront. We are currently examining a range of issues that include our international commitments.
As the member opposite should know, in the U.S. eight states have legalized marijuana and Uruguay has also legalized marijuana, and they are among the countries that have international treaties with Canada.
We are committed to working with our global partners to best promote public health and to combat the illicit trafficking of drugs.