Opposition MPs Accuse Conservatives of Whitewashing Marijuana Report

The release of a final report on marijuana by the House of Commons health committee has opposition MPs accusing the Conservatives of whitewashing all expert advice that disagrees with the government’s stand.

The report summarizes a study that was controversial from the start because the committee’s mandate was to look at “marijuana’s health risks and harms,” which prompted concerns the outcome was intended to fit with the government’s political messaging against the drug.

The future of federal marijuana policy is shaping up to be a key point of political debate ahead of next year’s federal election in light of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s call for Canada to be among the first countries in the world to legalize the drug for recreational use. The Conservative Party has run ads saying Mr. Trudeau’s policy would put kids at risk.

The committee report highlights testimony that warned of marijuana’s negative impact on brain development, its possible contribution to the development of schizophrenia, its addictive nature and the dangers of impaired driving related to marijuana.

The recommendations are silent on the effectiveness of current marijuana laws and make no mention of the medical marijuana debate.

The main recommendation from Tuesday’s report is a call for a federally funded ad campaign, which comes one day after Health Canada unveiled a $7.5-million ad campaign for television and online warning about the dangers of abusing marijuana and prescription drugs.

The anti-marijuana ad features ominous music and dark images that highlight the drug’s impact on the brain; flashing messages such as “loss of memory” and “decreased IQ.” The ad ends with the line: “Smoking marijuana: it can damage a teen for life.” A similar campaign on abusing prescription drugs airs on television from now until December.

– Read the entire article at Globe and Mail.