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OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – Advisers to the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have called into question whether a law approved in 2018 legalizing marijuana achieved any of the goals the government used as an excuse to get it passed in the first place, noting how illegal drug sales have not gone away.

An Expert Panel preliminary report that recently was submitted to members of Trudeau’s Liberal Party cabinet, as per Blacklock’s Reporter, stated that legalizing marijuana did not stop the black-market sale of the drug or keep kids safe from drug dealers pushing it on them.

“One of the key goals of legalization was to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” noted the report, saying the claim at the time was “to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth and profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”

The report noted that many people who were engaged in the panel “expressed concern that rates of cannabis use among youth in Canada remain high compared to other jurisdictions and that legalization has not led to a discernible decrease in youth cannabis use.”

The Expert Panel was made up of a multitude of university professors along with the former Trudeau Foundation CEO Morris Rosenberg, a criminal lawyer, and a First Nations member from Manitoba’s Fisher River Cree Nation.

The panel report follows over 90 hearings held across Canada with First Nations, police, medical personnel and marijuana producers regarding the legalization of the drug. A final report is due on March 24, 2024.

Drug use and overdose deaths up nationwide after pot legalized

The Trudeau government legalized marijuana via Bill C-45, An Act Respecting Cannabis, in 2018, a move that was denounced by Canadian Catholic bishops along with pro-family groups.

After the drug was legalized for personal use, the Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act: What We Heard Report, noted that 40% of young adults began to use the drug.

The What We Heard Report also noted how kids as young as 14 had easier access to the drug despite the sale of it to minors being illegal.

The Expert Panel noted how concerns were raised prior “to the implementation of the Act about the effect that legalization would have on the public perception of cannabis.”

“The most recent data available indicate about half of respondents, 51 percent, felt regular cannabis smoking was either somewhat or completely socially acceptable,” it noted.

Since being legal, cannabis sales have totaled about $11 billion, with the government taking in $1.2 billion in tax from the sale of the drug. However, according to estimates, the black-market sale of the drug accounts for some $2.4 billion. Also, healthcare losses associated with the drug account for $2.4 billion.

Deaths from drug overdoses in Canada have gone through the roof, notably after the Trudeau government relaxed the nation’s hard drug rules in one Canadian province.

Trudeau’s federal policy put in place in May 2022 in effect decriminalized hard drugs on a trial-run basis in the province of British Columbia. While the policy was approved in 2022, it did not come into effect until February 2023.

Under the policy, the federal government began allowing people within the province to possess up to 2.5 grams of hard drugs without criminal penalty, but selling drugs remained a crime.

The policy has been widely criticized, especially after it was found that the province broke three different drug-related overdose records in the first month the new law was in effect.

Despite the policy, deaths from drug overdoses in Canada continue to skyrocket with the most recent statistics from 2021 showing that they went up by a third.