Peter Kent, Ontario MP, compares growing pot at home to ‘putting fentanyl on a shelf within reach of kids’
Conservative MP Peter Kent compared growing legal marijuana at home to leaving a powerful opioid within reach of a child.
Kent made the comment Tuesday in the House of Commons during a debate on the government’s plan to legalize pot next year.
“Kids today will learn from one another, when it’s legal, despite the allowable age to consume, kids are going to harvest leaves, kids are going to experiment,” Kent said. “It’s virtually the same as putting fentanyl on a shelf within reach of kids.
“Having plants in the homes is just as whacky, it’s just as unacceptable, it’s just as dangerous for Canadian society,” the Thornhill, Ont., MP said.
Canadians will be allowed grow four plants at home, up to one metre tall, under the Cannabis Act.
Fentanyl has contributed to the deaths of several Canadians every day in 2017, according to statistics from various provincial agencies.
In 2016, opioids claimed the lives of at least 2,458 Canadians according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
NDP health critic and Vancouver MP Don Davies lashed out at Kent’s remark, calling it an “outrageous and dangerous falsehood.”
“Worse, it is grossly insensitive to those who have lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses. Trying to capitalize on their personal tragedy for political purposes is shameful, callous and unsupportable,” Davies said. “This statement is even more perverse and illogical given the growing body of data which suggests that cannabis can play a significant role in addressing the opioid crisis.
“We respect that there are varying opinions on the merits of cannabis legalization. However, making completely incorrect claims and using Canadians’ deaths for partisan advantage are simply not acceptable,” the MP said.
Davies called on Kent to apologize to the Canadians who have been affect by the opioid crisis.
On Thursday, Kent took to Facebook to address “those who might be wondering about the firestorm response to my speech earlier this week.” The MP noted his lengthy speech and question and answers “which called on the Trudeau government to listen to police chiefs, medical community, legislatures and city councils to pause the rush to meet Justin Trudeau’s ill-considered plan to legalize recreational marijuana.”
“My final answer did not make a chemical comparison of THC and opioids,” Kent said. “Kids today are smart, they’re adventurous, and I believe they will be exposed to considerable risk in a home-grown situation. However, a young child might consume marijuana… by experimentation.. by accident .. or another child’s mischief… an intoxicated child could be at risk of a fatal accident at home ..or playground or on the street in traffic.
“But, the primary thrust of my speech is to appeal to the Trudeau Liberals to slow this indecent rush to fulfil his unwise campaign promise,” the MP said.
In an email to Global News, Kent said there was “no need for an apology.”
“The NDP member wasn’t listening,” Kent said. “I was not discussing the tragedy of opioid consumption – I was addressing the very real and potentially fatal risks to young children in a home-grow situation.”
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