Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told health experts Friday he believes the move to regularize marijuana sale and make pot legal is going to protect young people. When it comes to other illicit drugs like opioid and heroin, however, the prime minister expressed he is against the plans to decriminalize this.
Trudeau met with health experts and first responders in Vancouver to discuss drug overdose and death tolls. He made his stance clear as legislators are expected to pass a bill on legalized marijuana this summer.
"Right now we know that young people have easier access to marijuana than just about any other illicit substance," Trudeau said, per Toronto Sun. If pot is legalized, then the government will be able to regulate and control its sales. "It will bring that revenue out of the pockets of criminals and put it into a system where we can both monitor, tax it and ensure that we are supporting people who are facing challenges related or unrelated to drug use," the prime minister added.
Legislators, however, also proposed expanding the legalization of drugs but it looks like Trudeau won't allow this to happen. "We are not planning on including any other illicit substances in the move towards legalizing and controlling and regulating," he said.
His statement comes as Vancouver was recently granted $10 million by the federal government for its war on drugs. The region declared it was in a state of emergency last spring as the number of drug overdose cases continue to rise.
Trudeau said he expects the money will be used for improving crisis centers and facilities, as well as adding training for workers responding to drug overdose cases, according to CTV News. Some 922 people died last year due to opioid overdose in this part of Canada. About 116 deaths due to overdose from illicit drugs were logged for January 2017 alone.