Transcript: Cannabis Legalization | Feb 08, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pink shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Cannabis legalization, @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IT WAS ONE OF THE
FEDERAL LIBERAL PARTY'S MOST
DISTINCTIVE ELECTION PROMISES:
JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S COMMITMENT TO
LEGALIZE MARIJUANA.
ONCE ELECTED, THE TOUGH TASK OF
FINDING THE WAY FORWARD LANDED
ON THE SOMEWHAT UNLIKELY POINT
PERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF THE
TORONTO POLICE SERVICE, BILL
BLAIR.
WE'RE JUST MONTHS AWAY FROM THE
PROMISE MAKING IT ALL THE WAY TO
ROYAL ASSENT, BUT THERE ARE
STILL PLENTY OF ISSUES ON THE
TABLE.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE, IN THE
NATION'S CAPITAL:
THE LIBERAL MP FOR SCARBOROUGH
SOUTHWEST, BILL BLAIR,
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
MINISTERS OF JUSTICE AND HEALTH.

Bill is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped black tie.

Steve continues YOU'LL FORGIVE ME, I STILL CALL
YOU CHIEF BLAIR.
YOU HAVE SPENT SO MANY YEARS ON
THE POLICE SERVICE.
CHIEF BLAIR, GOOD TO HAVE YOU
BACK ON THE PROGRAM.

Bill says THANK YOU VERY
MUCH STEVE. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

Steve says I NOTICE THE
GOVERNMENT SAYS JULY 1ST YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO HIT NOW BUT HOW ON
TRACK ARE WE HITTING THIS IN
JULY HAVING THIS HAPPEN?

The caption changes to "Bill Blair. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice."
Then, it changes again to "On time delivery?"

Bill says WE ARE RIGHT ON TRACK.
WE'RE WORKING FULL-OUT WITH
PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL
PARTNERS FOR OVER TWO YEARS.
CERTAINLY ALL OF OUR OFFICIALS
HAVE BEEN WORKING TO PUT IN
PLACE THE REGULATIONS AND ALL OF
THE FRAMEWORK THAT IS NECESSARY
TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL
IMPLEMENTATION.
BUT WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT AFTER
THE PARLIAMENT IS THROUGH, ALL
OF ITS RESPONSIBILITIES IN
PASSING THE BILL, THERE'S STILL
SOME WORK THAT CAN ONLY COMMENCE
AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THAT
LEGISLATION AND BEFORE DATE OF
ENACTMENT TO ENSURE A SMOOTH AND
ORDERLY IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS
RATHER COMPLEX NEW LEGISLATIVE
REGIME, AND SO WE'RE JUST MAKING
SURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT
THE TIME FRAME ACTUALLY IS.
WE'RE AIMING TOWARDS JULY OF
2018, BUT A LOT OF THAT IS
CONTINGENT UPON THE IMPORTANT
WORK THAT HAS YET TO TAKE PLACE
THROUGH SENATE AND THE
PARLIAMENT.

Steve says WHAT STILL NEEDS TO
BE WORKED OUT?

Bill says FOR EXAMPLE, CANNABIS THAT IS
CURRENTLY BEING PRODUCED BY
LICENSED PRODUCERS UNDER LICENCE
CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED TO THE
PROVINCIAL REGULATOR, IT CAN'T
BE DISTRIBUTED TO THEIR SALES
CENTRES OR PUT ON THE SHELF
UNTIL THAT LAW COMES INTO EFFECT
AND IS PASSED THROUGH PARLIAMENT
AND ROYAL ASSENT.
SO WE CAN'T BEGIN THAT PROCESS
OF MAKING SURE THAT OUR
PARLIAMENTARY AND TERRITORIAL...
EXCUSE ME, PROVINCIAL AND
TERRITORIAL PARTNERS ARE ABLE TO
PUT INTO EFFECT THE REGULATORY
FRAMEWORKS THAT THEY'VE PUT IN
PLACE.
THEY'VE TOLD US THEY NEED
APPROXIMATELY 8 TO 12 WEEKS TO
MAKE THAT HAPPEN, AND WE'RE
ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED NOT JUST TO
PASSING LEGISLATION BUT TO MAKE
SURE THAT THIS IMPLEMENTATION
ACHIEVES ITS PURPOSE.
YOU MENTIONED WE'RE LEGALIZING
CANNABIS.
IN FACT WE ARE.
BUT WE'RE DOING SO MUCH MORE.
WE'RE BRINGING FORWARD A VERY
COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM OF
REGULATION THAT WILL CONTROL THE
PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF
CANNABIS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND
FRANKLY, YOU CAN'T REGULATE
SOMETHING THAT'S PROHIBITED.
THAT'S WHY WE'RE LIFTING THE
PROHIBITION THROUGH
LEGALIZATION.
BUT IT'S THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
THAT EFFECTIVE REGULATORY REGIME
THAT CONTROLS PRODUCTION AND
DISTRIBUTION AND CONSUMPTION IN
ALL OF OUR COMMUNITIES ACROSS
THE COUNTRY THAT REALLY IS GOING
TO HELP US ACHIEVE OUR PUBLIC
PURPOSES OF KEEPING THIS AWAY
FROM KIDS, ELIMINATING THE
CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE THAT
CURRENTLY EXISTS AND IMPROVING
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OUR CITIZENS.

Steve says GOTCHA.
ONE POINT OF CLARIFICATION.
IT'S YOU, THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, THAT WILL DETERMINE
THE APPROPRIATE AGE AT WHICH
PEOPLE CAN CONSUME THIS, OR IS
THAT A PROVINCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Bill says IT'S BOTH.
IN THE FEDERAL LAW WE HAVE
ESTABLISHED A MINIMUM AGE OF 18.
WE'VE ALSO SAID WITHIN THAT
LEGISLATION THAT THE PROVINCES
CAN ESTABLISH A DATE HIGHER THAN 18.
MY UNDERSTANDING IS EIGHT OF THE
TEN HAVE ALREADY ESTABLISHED
THAT THEIR AGE LIMITS WILL BE
19, WHICH ALLIANCE MORE OR LESS
WITH THEIR OTHER REGULATIONS
WITH RESPECT TO THE CONSUMPTION
OF ALCOHOL.
AND SO THEY HAVE THAT ABILITY.
I WANT TO BE REALLY CLEAR ON
SOMETHING.
WHAT WE'VE SAID IN THE FEDERAL
LAW IS THAT POSSESSION OVER FIVE
GRAMS WILL BE A CRIMINAL
OFFENCE.
BUT WE'VE NOT CRIMINALIZED THE
POSSESSION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
UNDER THE AGE OF 18.
THE POSSESSION OF CANNABIS.
BUT THERE WILL BE AN ABSOLUTE
PROHIBITION... THIS IS REALLY
IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE,
PARTICULARLY YOUNG PEOPLE TO
UNDERSTAND... THERE WILL BE A
COMPLETE AND ENFORCEABLE
PROHIBITION FOR THE POSSESSION,
PURCHASE, OF CANNABIS UNDER THE
AGE OF MAJORITY.

Steve says 19 FOR US.

Bill says 19 IN ONTARIO.
THAT WILL BE ENFORCEABLE THROUGH
PROVINCIAL REGULATION.
THAT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT
BECAUSE ONE OF THE SIGNIFICANT
HARMS WE RECOGNIZE WITH THE
CURRENT SYSTEM USING THE
CRIMINAL LAW IS IT SUBJECTS A
LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE TO A
CRIMINAL RECORD.
WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO ENFORCE A
PROHIBITION BUT REDUCE THAT
POTENTIAL RISK AND HARM TO OUR
YOUNG PEOPLE OF CRIMINALIZING
THEIR BEHAVIOUR.
SO EXACTLY AS WE DO WITH ALCOHOL
IN ONTARIO, IT WILL BE A
PROVINCIAL OFFENCE TO PURCHASE,
POSSESS, AND CONSUME CANNABIS
UNDER THE AGE OF MAJORITY, SO IT
WILL BE ENFORCEABLE BY THE
POLICE.
THE POLICE WILL BE ABLE TO SEIZE
THAT CANNABIS.
THEY WILL BE ABLE TO ISSUE A
TICKET.
BUT THE OUTCOME FOR THOSE YOUNG
PEOPLE IS A FINE AND A CIVIL
PENALTY BUT NOT A CRIMINAL
RECORD.
WE THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT
STEP FORWARD IN THIS LEGISLATION
AND ALL OF THE PROVINCES THAT WE
HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH ARE
ENACTING LEGISLATION TO ENSURE
THAT THERE'S AN ENFORCEABLE
PROHIBITION FOR THE POSSESSION
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE BUT IT'S
ENFORCEABLE UNDER THE PROVINCIAL
REGULATION AND NOT UNDER THE
CRIMINAL LAW.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
THIS CRIMINAL RECORD BUSINESS,
BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU
AS THE FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE
THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE PRISONS
OF THIS PROVINCE WHO ARE THERE
ON DRUG OFFENCES AND AS OF
WHENEVER THIS THING DOES GET
ROYAL ASSENT AND BECOMES LEGAL,
THEY'RE GOING TO BE IN JAIL FOR
OFFENCES, SOME OF WHICH I GUESS
ARE NO LONGER ILLEGAL.
DOES THE GOVERNMENT PLAN TO DO
ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?

The caption changes to "Lifting prohibition on criminals."

Bill says LET ME TELL YOU, STEVE, FIRST
OF ALL, MOST OF THE PEOPLE YOU
FIND ARE ACTUALLY SERVING
CUSTODIAL OFFENCES FOR DRUG
OFFENCES ARE NOT THERE FOR
POSSESSING CANNABIS.
UNDER THIS REGIME, WE ARE NOT
LEGALIZING ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
OF ANY DRUG, INCLUDING CANNABIS.
WE'RE LIFTING THE PROHIBITION
AGAINST POSSESSION AND WE'RE
MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR CANADIAN
CITIZENS TO LAWFULLY ACQUIRE AND
USE A CANNABIS THAT HAS BEEN
PRODUCED UNDER LICENCE.
BUT ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING WILL
REMAIN SERIOUS CRIMINAL OFFENCES.

Steve says I TAKE YOUR POINT ON THAT.
WHAT IF YOU ARE IN JAIL FOR
SIMPLE POSSESSION?
IN THAT CASE, DO YOU GET A PARDON?

Bill says WELL, THE PRIME MINISTER HAS
BEEN VERY CLEAR THAT UNTIL THE
LAW IS REPEALED AND REPLACED
WITH A NEW REGIME, IT REMAINS IN
EFFECT AND WE URGE ALL CANADIANS
TO CONTINUE TO OBEY THE LAW.
BUT THE PRIME MINISTER HAS ALSO
INDICATED WHEN THE NEW REGIME IS
IN PLACE THAT THE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SAFETY, MINISTER GOODALL,
IS PREPARED TO EXAMINE THE
PROCESS BY WHICH RECORDS ARE
SUSPENDED AND PARDONS ARE GIVEN
FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION AND THAT'S
AN ISSUE THAT WE ARE COMMITTED
TO EXAMINING AND REVIEWING BUT
AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME.
AND THAT CANNOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL
THE NEW LEGISLATION IS IN PLACE
AND THE EXISTING LAW IS
REPEALED.
AND IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS, AND
I WOULD POINT OUT CALIFORNIA
RECENTLY MADE ANNOUNCEMENTS
ABOUT THEIR INTENTION WITH
RESPECT TO CERTAIN RECORD
SUSPENSIONS.
BUT THEY MADE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT
AFTER THEY CHANGED THEIR
LEGISLATION, AND THAT'S THE
APPROPRIATE TIME FOR US TO HAVE
THAT DISCUSSION.
AND UNTIL THAT TAKES PLACE AND
UNTIL THE NEW SYSTEM OF CANNABIS
CONTROL UNDER BILL C-45 IS
ENACTED THROUGH PARLIAMENT AND
TAKES EFFECT, WE WOULD URGE ALL
CANADIANS TO CONTINUE TO OBEY
THE LAWS THAT CURRENTLY EXIST IN
THIS COUNTRY UNTIL THEY ARE
REPLACED WITH WHAT WE BELIEVE
WILL BE FAR MORE EFFECTIVE LAWS
IN ENSURING THAT THIS IS KEPT
OUT OF THE HANDS OF KIDS AND NOT
LEFT UP TO CRIMINALS TO PRODUCE
AND DISTRIBUTE.

Steve says LET'S BRING THE
ANGLE OF RACE INTO THIS, IF WE
CAN, FOR A SECOND? I'LL READ AN
EXCERPT FROM
THE TORONTO STAR
WHICH SAYS...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Cannabis, criminality and the marginalized." The quote reads "Black people with no history of criminal convictions have been three times more likely to be arrested by Toronto police for possession of small amounts of marijuana than white people with similar backgrounds, according to a Toronto Star analysis."
Quoted from Toronto Star, July 6 2017.

Steve says ARE YOU CONCERNED
THAT WITH THE INCREASED SEVERITY
OF THE PENALTIES FOR
DISTRIBUTION OF CANNABIS OUTSIDE
THE LEGAL CHANNELS THAT
MARGINALIZED GROUPS MAY CONTINUE
TO PAY A HIGHER PRICE THAN OTHERS?

The caption changes to "Bill Blair, @BillBlair."

Bill says WELL, ACTUALLY, ONE OF THE
REASONS WE'RE BRINGING FORWARD
THIS LEGISLATION, I SAID IT ON
THE VERY FIRST DAY WE BEGAN TO
DEBATE THIS IN THE HOUSE, THAT
ONE OF OUR CONCERNS AS A
GOVERNMENT IS THE DISPARATE
IMPACT THAT THE CURRENT SYSTEM
OF CANNABIS CONTROL HAS ON
MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES, POOR
COMMUNITIES, RACIALIZED
COMMUNITIES, AND INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITIES.
ONE OF THE REASONS THAT
MOTIVATES US IS TO TAKE AWAY THE
POSSIBILITY OF CRIMINALIZING THE
BEHAVIOUR OF YOUNG PEOPLE FROM
ALL COMMUNITIES, BUT
PARTICULARLY FROM THE ONES THAT
I'VE MENTIONED.
THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE
THINK WE CAN CREATE A FAR MORE
EFFECTIVE REGIME OF CANNABIS
CONTROL AND A FAR MORE JUST
SYSTEM BY DOING THAT.
BUT I ALSO WANT TO BE CLEAR: WE
ARE REPLACING THE CRIMINAL
ENTERPRISE OF ILLEGAL PRODUCTION
AND DISTRIBUTION OF CANNABIS
WITH A WELL-REGULATED SYSTEM
THAT IS SUBJECT TO OVERSIGHT,
RULES, REGULATIONS, TESTING,
ACCOUNTABILITY.
AND THAT IS TO... ALL OF OUR
CITIZENS.
WE'RE CONTINUING TO DISCOURAGE
AND ENFORCE THE LAW TO PREVENT
ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING.
WE THINK THAT'S PUTTING OUR KIDS
AT RISK, ENRICHES ORGANIZED
CRIME.
UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM
ORGANIZED CRIME IS MOTIVATED
ONLY BY PROFIT AND NOT THE
HEALTH OF OUR KIDS AND CITIZENS.
THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT WE
REPLACE THE EXISTING SYSTEM WITH
A WELL-REGULATED INDUSTRY.
SO I THINK THAT'S TO THE
BETTERMENT OF ALL OF OUR
CITIZENS IN ALL OF OUR
COMMUNITIES AND PROTECTING THE
HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL OF OUR
KIDS.
SO WE'RE ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO
PUTTING THAT IN PLACE.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE ARE ALSO
LOOKING AT THE SOCIAL
DETERMINANTS OF SOME OF THAT
DISPARITY THAT EXISTS IN
MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES AND AS
A GOVERNMENT WE'RE ALSO
COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING ISSUES
OF POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT,
INADEQUATE HOUSING, LACK OF
SERVICES AND THE AVAILABILITY OF
IMPORTANT SERVICES TO MAKE THE
CHANGES AND THE SOCIAL
CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THAT
DISPARITY TAKES PLACE, TO
IMPROVE THE OUTCOMES FOR ALL OF
OUR KIDS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says THIS NEXT QUESTION
ADMITTEDLY MAY REQUIRE A BIT OF
CRYSTAL BALL-GAZING, BUT I
WONDER WHETHER THIS IS A FIRST
STEP TOWARDS FURTHER
DECRIMINALIZATION OF OTHER
CURRENTLY ILLEGAL DRUGS, AND I
THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, OF PORTUGAL,
WHICH HAS DECRIMINALIZED I THINK ALL DRUGS.
THEY'VE DECIDED THIS IS A HEALTH
ISSUE AS OPPOSED TO A CRIMINAL ISSUE.
CAN YOU IMAGINE CANADA TAKING
FURTHER STEPS DOWN THAT PATH?

Bill says WELL, I CAN TELL YOU THAT OUR
GOVERNMENT HAS RESTORED THE HARM
REDUCTION PRINCIPLE IN THE
NATIONAL DRUG STRATEGY.
YOU KNOW, WE ARE COMMITTED TO
INTERDICTING THE ILLICIT SUPPLY
OF DRUGS THAT ARE KILLING PEOPLE
IN CANADA TODAY.
WE ARE WORKING VERY HARD TO
REDUCE THE DEMAND FOR THOSE
DRUGS AND TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM
GETTING INVOLVED IN THEM.
WE'VE MADE SOME VERY SIGNIFICANT
STEPS TO DEAL WITH IT.
THE INTERVENTION OF PEOPLE IN
CRISIS WHO ARE SUFFERING
OVERDOSE FROM THESE DRUGS, TO
SAVE LIVES, AND WE'RE ALSO
COMMITTED TO MAKING SIGNIFICANT
INVESTMENTS IN REHABILITATION
AND TREATMENT.
WE'VE PUT HARM REDUCTION BACK IN
AS AN IMPORTANT PILLAR IN OUR
NATIONAL DRUG STRATEGY, AND SO
WE'RE WORKING VERY HARD AT THAT.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT IS NOT
THE GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO
LEGALIZE ANY OTHER DRUG.
WE LOOKED AT THE SOCIAL AND
HEALTH HARMS OF CANNABIS, AND WE
BELIEVE THAT THAT IS... THOSE
HARMS ARE MORE APPROPRIATELY
DEALT WITH THROUGH A SYSTEM OF
STRICT REGULATION RATHER THAN
PROHIBITION, BUT THERE ARE SOME
DRUGS, QUITE FRANKLY, THAT
REPRESENT SUCH A SIGNIFICANT
RISK THAT WE BELIEVE MAINTAINING
A PROHIBITION TO INTERDICT THE
SUPPLY AND REDUCE THE DEMAND IS
STILL AN IMPORTANT PART.
BUT WE ARE ALSO LOOKING AT A
WIDE RANGE OF HARM REDUCTION
STRATEGIES TO REDUCE THE SOCIAL
AND HEALTH HARMS OF THE USE OF
ALL OF THESE OTHER DRUGS.
IT'S THE RIGHT APPROACH.
IT'S AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH.
IT'S NOT INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT
MANY COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD ARE
DOING.
BUT WE BELIEVE IT'S THE RIGHT
APPROACH FOR CANADA, TO PROTECT
LIVES AND TO HELP US ADDRESS THE
VERY SIGNIFICANT NATIONAL HEALTH
CRISIS THAT THE OPIOID CRISIS IS
CURRENTLY CONFRONTING
COMMUNITIES TODAY.
WE BELIEVE THAT HARM REDUCTION
APPROACH IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF
A WIDE RANGE OF GOVERNMENT
RESPONSES THAT WE HAVE TO BRING
TO BEAR.

Steve says OKAY.
TELL ME THIS.
I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE WORKING
TOWARDS JULY 2018, THIS YEAR,
FOR SIMPLE CANNABIS.
BUT FOR EDIBLES, FOR EXAMPLE,
THAT'S STILL ANOTHER YEAR OFF.
WHY THE DISTINCTION?

The caption changes to "High hopes."

Bill says WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
WE LEARNED IN OTHER
JURISDICTIONS, STEVE, WE WENT
DOWN AND SPOKE TO PEOPLE IN
COLORADO AND WASHINGTON AND
OTHER JURISDICTIONS THAT HAVE
HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF
IMPLEMENTING A REGULATED REGIME
FOR CANNABIS.
AND ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT
THEY FACED AND POINT OUT TO US
IS THE INCREDIBLE COMPLEXITY OF
REGULATING EDIBLES, TO DO IT
SAFELY.
YOU KNOW, THERE ARE ENHANCED
HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED TO IT
AND WE RECOGNIZE THE COMPLEXITY
OF REGULATING IT PROPERLY, AND
SO WE ARE COMMITTED TO BRINGING
IN THOSE REGULATIONS.
WE'VE SAID VERY CLEARLY, IN OUR
BILL, IS THAT WITHIN 12 MONTHS,
WE'LL BRING FORWARD THE
REGULATIONS TO PROPERLY ENSURE
THAT A MARKET FOR EDIBLES HAS A
VERY CLEAR WAY OF DELINEATING
FOR CONSUMERS DOSAGE AND POTENCY
OF WHAT'S BEING CONSUMED WITH
PROPER LABELING AND PROPER
PACKAGING TO ENSURE THAT IT CAN
BE DONE SAFELY AND TO MAKE SURE
WE HAVE THE REGULATIONS IN PLACE
SO IT'S NOT PRODUCED IN SUCH A
WAY THAT IT WOULD BE ATTRACTIVE
TO CHILDREN.
WE ARE VERY, VERY COMMITTED IN
KEEPING THIS OUT OF THE HANDS OF
OUR KIDS AND WE RECOGNIZE THE
RISK THIS REPRESENTS.
UNTIL THAT REGULATION IS IN
PLACE, THE PROHIBITION WILL BE
MAINTAINED.
BUT WE RECOGNIZE THERE MAY BE
MORE HELPFUL WAYS FOR CANADIANS
TO CONSUME THESE DRUGS.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THERE'S AN
APPROPRIATE STRICT REGULATORY
FRAMEWORK IN PLACE TO ENSURE
THAT CAN BE DONE SAFELY.

Steve says LET ME MAKE SURE I
CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT PART OF THAT
REGULATORY FRAMEWORK MIGHT BE.
I THINK IN ONTARIO TODAY IF I
WANT TO MAKE MY OWN WINE OR BEER
IN MY OWN PLACE, I CAN DO THAT.
I CAN'T SELL IT, BUT I CAN DO THAT.
WILL THE SAME BE TRUE FOR CANNABIS?

Bill says YES.
FRANKLY, THERE WILL NOT BE A
REGULATION THAT PREVENTS SOMEONE
WHO'S USING LAWFULLY OBTAINED
CANNABIS TO CREATE AN EDIBLE.
WHAT THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO
DO IS EXACTLY AS YOU SAY, THEY
WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SELL IT.
WE WANT TO ALSO MAKE SURE IT'S
NOT JUST A MATTER OF PUTTING
REGULATIONS IN PLACE.
WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
PUBLIC HAS ACCURATE INFORMATION
BASED ON THE BEST ADVICE AND
EVIDENCE THAT WE CAN GET FROM
THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SO THAT
PEOPLE CAN MAKE SMART LOWER-RISK
CHOICES ABOUT THE CONSUMPTION OF
CANNABIS.
THERE IS, QUITE FRANKLY, A LOT
OF MYTH AND MISINFORMATION
AROUND THAT, AND WE WANT TO MAKE
SURE THAT THE PUBLIC HAS NOT
ONLY PROPER REGULATIONS IN PLACE
TO CONTROL THIS IN A COMMERCIAL
MARKET, BUT TO MAKE SURE THAT
CONSUMERS CAN HAVE INFORMATION
ABOUT HOW THEY CAN DO THIS IN A SAFER WAY.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON
THAT... FORGIVE ME.
LET ME FOLLOW UP ON THAT
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM.
OF COURSE THE LCBO IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR SELLING BOOZE
AND WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR
SELLING WEED, BUT CAN YOU
IMAGINE A SYSTEM WHERE WE KIND
OF HAVE CRAFT BREWERS WHO CAN
SELL THEIR OWN IN THEIR OWN
PLACES.
WELL, CAN YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING
WITH WEED?

Bill says WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS WE
HAVE PUT IN PLACE AND WE'VE
ALLOWED THE PROVINCES TO DEVELOP
THEIR OWN REGULATIONS AND THE
REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS FOR THE
DISTRIBUTION OF CANNABIS WITHIN
THEIR COMMUNITIES.
BUT WE'VE PUT RULES IN PLACE.
AND FRANKLY WE'VE ALSO BUILT A
CONSENSUS WITH ALL OUR
PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL
PARTNERS ON WHY WE'RE DOING SOME
OF THE REGULATIONS WE'RE PUTTING
IN PLACE.
THAT WE DON'T WANT IT MARKETED
TO KIDS.
WE DON'T WANT IT... YOU KNOW, WE
WANT STRICT REGULATORY CONTROL
OVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER
WHICH THIS IS DISTRIBUTED IN
ORDER TO REDUCE THOSE SOCIAL AND
HEALTH HARMS.
AND SO THE PROVINCES HAVE THE
AUTHORITY TO DO THAT, AS LONG AS
IT'S DONE IN A WAY WHICH IS,
FIRST OF ALL, COMPLIANT WITH THE
FEDERAL REGULATIONS, WHICH PLACE
I THINK REASONABLE BUT STRICT
LIMITS ON MARKETING, BRANDING,
THE SPONSORSHIP, A WHOLE RANGE
OF ACTIVITIES TO ENSURE THAT
THIS IS NOT BEING PROMOTED.
I WANT TO BE REALLY CLEAR ON
SOMETHING AS WELL, STEVE.
IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT OF
CANADA'S INTENTION TO PROMOTE
THE USE OF THIS DRUG.
WE RECOGNIZE THERE ARE
SIGNIFICANT SOCIAL AND HEALTH
RISKS RELATED TO THIS, TO
CANNABIS, AND WE WANT TO MAKE
SURE THAT CANADIANS CAN MAKE
SAFER, HEALTHIER, AND
BETTER-INFORMED CHOICES AND WE
WANT TO PROMOTE, FOR THOSE WHO
CHOOSE TO USE IT, SOCIALLY
RESPONSIBLE USE.
SO THAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THESE
REGULATIONS.
PART OF THAT IS THROUGH
REGULATIONS AND PART OF THAT IS
THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION.

Steve says WOULD PART OF
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE USE
INCLUDE, FOR EXAMPLE, WE KNOW AT
HOME IT WILL BE ACCEPTABLE.
HOW ABOUT, YOU KNOW, CANNABIS
CAFES, THAT KIND OF THING?

Bill says WELL, AGAIN, THAT WILL BE
DETERMINED BY THE PROVINCIAL OR
TERRITORIAL AUTHORITY WITHIN
THEIR JURISDICTION.
BUT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT IF
THEY MAKE THAT CHOICE, IT CAN BE
DONE IN SUCH A WAY THAT PROTECTS
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF
CONSUMERS AND FOR THOSE WHO
CHOOSE NOT TO USE IT, THAT THEIR
RIGHTS AND THEIR HEALTH IS NOT
IN ANY WAY COMPROMISED BY THOSE
REGULATIONS AND BY THAT
APPROACH.
SO WE'VE BEEN WORKING VERY
CLOSELY... ONE OF THE THINGS WE
HAVE URGED UPON THE PROVINCES
AND I'VE BEEN REALLY ENCOURAGED
BY THIS IS OUR TASK FORCE
RECOMMENDED AND WE HAVE
REINFORCED THE IDEA WE'VE ASKED
THE PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES TO
(INAUDIBLE) TO DO IT IN A WAY
THAT PROMOTES THAT SOCIALLY
RESPONSIBLE APPROACH, AND THE
LESSONS WE'VE LEARNED FROM OTHER
JURISDICTIONS IS TO START VERY
STRICT.
AS EVIDENCE IS ACCUMULATED AND
AS WE GAIN EXPERIENCE IN THIS,
WE CAN MAKE ADAPTATION IN OUR
REGULATIONS THAT ARE APPROPRIATE
TO THE EVIDENCE AND APPROPRIATE
TO OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS
SUBSTANCE.
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT TO
START STRICTLY AND NOT... YOU
KNOW, TO PUT IN PLACE THOSE
THINGS WHICH CANNOT BE FIXED
LATER.
SO IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE
HAVE TAKEN A VERY CAUTIOUS
APPROACH WITH EDIBLES AND WE'VE
URGED THE PROVINCES TO TAKE A
CAUTIOUS APPROACH WITH THEIR
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS AND THAT IN
FACT IS WHAT WE'VE SEEN
REFLECTED IN THE APPROACHES
THEY'VE TAKEN.

Steve says MR. BLAIR, LET ME DO
ONE MORE QUESTION WITH YOU.
I'M NOT GOING TO PRETEND THIS IS
AN ORIGINAL QUESTION BUT I
HAVEN'T ASKED IT OF YOU BEFORE
AND I'M INTERESTED IN THE
ANSWER.
AT SOME POINT IN YOUR POLITICAL
JOURNEY, YOU I PRESUME HAVE
FOUND IT PASSING STRANGE THAT
AFTER THREE DECADES ON THE
POLICE SERVICE IN TORONTO
RESPONSIBLE FOR, YOU KNOW,
POLICING THIS THING, YOU'RE NOW
THE GUY RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING
IT LEGAL AND MAKING IT ALL
HAPPEN SMOOTHLY.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT IRONY?

Bill says ACTUALLY, I DON'T THINK IT'S
IRONIC AT ALL, STEVE.
I WILL TELL YOU, I SPENT MY
ENTIRE LIFE PROTECTING KIDS AND
KEEPING MY CITY SAFE. I DON'T
THINK THERE'S ANY HIGHER DUTY
THAN THE PROTECTION OF OUR KIDS.
IN MY CONVERSATION WITH MY PRIME
MINISTER AND MY GOVERNMENT AND
AS WE BROUGHT THIS LEGISLATION
FORWARD, WE KEPT THE FOCUS
OVERWHELMINGLY ON PUTTING IN A
PUBLIC HEALTH FRAMEWORK TO
REDUCE THE HARMS OF CANNABIS USE
AND REDUCING THE HARMS IN
PARTICULAR, THE EXPOSURE TO
KIDS.
THIS IS NOT A DRUG THAT SHOULD
BE USED BY KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF
18, AND RIGHT NOW THE DECISION
TO SELL TO THOSE KIDS IS LEFT IN
THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS AND
THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT OF
MISINFORMATION OUT THERE AND
WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO BE
VERY SUCCESSFUL, WE HAVE THE
HIGHEST RATES OF CANNABIS USE
AMONG OUR KIDS OF ANY COUNTRY IN
THE WORLD. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
I'VE ALSO SPENT MOST OF MY
PROFESSIONAL LIFE FIGHTING
ORGANIZED CRIME. THE EASIEST
MONEY THAT ORGANIZED CRIME MAKES
IS IN THE ILLEGAL PRODUCTION AND
DISTRIBUTION OF CANNABIS IN OUR
COUNTRY. IT'S AN INDUSTRY WORTH
7 TO 8 BILLION dollars FOR THEM.
ALL OF THE LAWS THAT THE POLICE
ARE REQUIRED TO FIGHT ORGANIZED
CRIME THEY'RE RETAINING IN THIS
NEW LEGISLATION.
WE'RE BRINGING IN A NEW SYSTEM
OF CANNABIS PRODUCTION AND
CONSUMPTION THAT WILL GIVE
CANADIAN CONSUMERS, ADULT
CONSUMERS, WHO WISH TO USE THIS
DRUG, A BETTER CHOICE, A SAFER
AND HEALTHIER CHOICE, AND A MORE
RESPONSIBLE CHOICE, NOT TO GO TO
THE CRIMINAL AND TO ENRICH
ORGANIZED CRIME BUT INSTEAD TO
ACQUIRE A PRODUCT OF KNOWN
POTENCY, PROVENANCE AND PURITY,
FROM A LEGITIMATE, WELL
ACCOUNTABLE PRODUCTION REGIME
AND THROUGH A LEGITIMATE STORE
AND NOT ON A STREET CORNER OR
IN AN ALLEYWAY.
FOR ME, THIS IS ENTIRELY
CONSISTENT WITH MY LIFE'S WORK
OF PROTECTING OUR KIDS AND
KEEPING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler."

Steve says CHIEF BLAIR, FORGIVE
ME, I'M GOING TO JUMP IN BECAUSE
WE'RE ABOUT TO LOSE OUR
SATELLITE WITH YOU. I THANK YOU
FOR COMING ON TVO TONIGHT AND
THANK YOU FOR CLARIFYING MANY OF
THE ISSUES WE'VE BEEN
DISCUSSING. TAKE CARE.

Bill says THANK YOU, STEVE.

Watch: Cannabis Legalization