GLOBAL: The Cannabis Chaos Keeps Growing, like the ‘weed’ it is!

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The Evidence of Harm — Canada One Year Post Legalization of Pot

by Pamela McColl: Op-Ed.

In 2016, I testified before the Canadian Federal Task Force charged with drafting recommendations for a legal marijuana regime. I opened with this question; “How does a responsible government legalize a drug for non-medical use when that country’s top health agency has issued the following statement:  “The courts in Canada have ruled that the federal government must provide reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes. Cannabis is not an approved therapeutic product and the provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, or of marijuana generally, by Health Canada. This leaflet is designed by Health Canada for patients authorized to possess cannabis for medical purposes. When the product (medicinal) should not be used:

  • are under the age of 25
  • are allergic to any cannabinoid or to smoke
  • have serious liver, kidney, heart or lung disease
  • have a personal or family history of serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, or bipolar disorder
  • are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • are a man who wishes to start a family
  • have a history of alcohol or drug abuse or substance dependence

The Task Force Chair Anne McLellan, in reply dismissed my question by asserting that legalization was not up for debate. I placed study after study onto the public record over my six hours before the committee, to learn at the end of the hearing that the testimony and submitted documents would be sealed from public access.  Perhaps in the future the Canadian public will be afforded access and come to appreciate more fully what transpired behind the closed doors of this government appointed entity.

The Trudeau Liberal government legalized marijuana for non-medical use,  supported by the NDP and the Greens. With the passing of this legislation, legal access was granted to pregnant women who are now using it in growing numbers, by those suffering from mental illness including substance use disorder-addiction, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar, and with a history of suicide ideation/activation. By those with liver, heart and kidney disease. By legalizing use for 18 years of age and older the government disregarded the stated age restriction by Health Canada. Scientific study establishes the serious risk to users who are under the age of brain maturation, which occurs in the mid to late 20s. Men who wish to start a family also now have legal access. Given the risk of testicular cancer, and the emerging science on reproductive health harms linked to marijuana products this could see serious generational health issues realized.

On departing the hearing, McLellan sent a parting shot my way, stating that it must have been uncomfortable for me to be the only one at the meeting of my persuasion. As I had recently attended meetings at the UNODC and UNGASS I assured her that I was often in company with many who shared my views and that my position was grounded in a solid understanding of the science and the evidence. I also reminded her that I was but the messenger, cited the warnings of Health Canada.

*Health Canada provides further statements regarding serious warnings and precautions associated with the use of marijuana for a medical purpose including: The use of this product involves risks to health, some of which may not be known or fully understood. Studies supporting the safety and efficacy of cannabis for therapeutic purposes are limited and do not meet the standard required by the Food and Drug Regulations for marketed drugs in Canada. Smoking cannabis is not recommended. Do not smoke or vapourize cannabis in the presence of children.

The government dismissed child rights advocates who called for a ban on smoking marijuana in the homes of children, and in doing so the federal government violated the most ratified piece of international human rights legislation — The Rights of the Child Treaty.

Just another short list of the growing issues:

  • It’s a year since Alfie Dingley changed the law on medical cannabis. But the jury is still out on whether it really works:


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