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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  February 27, 2018 11:15pm-12:00am GMT

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to develop psychosis compared with somebody who does not use it. does that make it more or less sensible to legalise the weaker forms of the drug? and this... laughter. john sweeney gets full on snow madness. let's be clear. the eu is not making it easy for theresa may. it feels this could be a week where the fudge the fan. a look at why it is also difficult. last december... tomorrow, the eu publishes its report hardening up some of the december version,
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notably on the issue of the irish border. that is headache number one, i border. that is headache number one, , headed by borisjohnson. headache number two relating to our long—time trading relationship to the eu. michelle barnier was very clear. an exasperated minister has an arresting analogy for the brexit negotiations. they are now like the iconic scene in the spaghetti western the good, the bad, and the ugly. who will shoot first? this minister asked me. as if on cue, one of the characters in the real—life stand—off popped up to make clear that the eu is now spoiling for a fight. michel barnier was dismissive of britain's plans for its future trading relationship with the eu,
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which theresa may will outline in a major speech on friday. translation: it is an illusion to imagine that we are going to accept cherry picking. we are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the single market. the uk knows the rules that underpins the integrity because they worked with us to create them for 43 years. tomorrow, the european commission will publish its full legal text of the uk's withdrawal treaty. amid frustration in brussels that the uk is not rising to the challenge, the eu is planning to tighten its demands on the irish border. this busy thoroughfare is the latest source of irritation in the eu. after boris johnson appeared to liken the change in road signs between two london boroughs
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to the northern ireland border. the foreign secretary said the success of cameras in collecting the congestion charge shows how the dilemma of the northern ireland border after brexit can be resolved with a little imagination. ireland's governing party is unimpressed. i suppose i was a little surprised, but i'm never shocked by what boris johnson says, so i'm taking it with a slight grain of salt. but it's much more serious than that, because i represent a constituency that borders with northern ireland, and we know very well the downside if things go wrong with brexit. so i would hope borisjohnson would have a better understanding that we are not talking about two boroughs in the united kingdom, or in london, we're talking about two sovereign nations. downing street is for once relaxed about the foreign secretary. sources say he was simply making a general call for original thinking and isn't suggesting that cameras should be placed along the irish border.
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the government's plans involve no infrastructure along the border and simply call for digital innovation to track goods. this is not the 19th century where we have moustachioed customs officers wearing caps with epaulettes peering into your barracks. into your bags. almost all customs clearance is done electronically and in advance. that process is becoming easier as technology advances. there is something going on with some of our negotiating partners in brussels, not so much in the 27 capitals, where, you know, if you asked them the time of day they say no cherry picking, you can't have your cake and eat it. the uk government has come out with a series of friendly and imaginative ways to maintain the closest possible cooperation. and this has been our position right from the beginning, right from theresa may's lancaster house speech saying she wanted the uk to be the eu's best friend and closest ally. the brexit stand—off is now underway.
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who, if anyone, will be riding off into the sunset? nick's here now and so is our business editor helen thomas. the other story today was liam fox spelling out his vision. and also trying to counter the claims of his former secretary who said giving up the eu for future trade deals is like giving up a three course meal with the promise of a packet of crisps. take us through that particular argument. let's take a look at the big picture. the eu is a big chunk — 44% — of exports. that has come down over about the last decade. the liam fox view of the world is that 90% of economic growth over the next decade is forecast to come from parts of
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the world outside the eu. so why not focus there? but there is good evidence that countries trade more with places that are big and rich and close to them. which is why the eu is important. let's take the government numbers. this brexit analysis leaked to buzzfeed last month. here's our three—course meal. this looks at how much lower uk growth might be over 15 years after brexit. so they are talking 2% lower in the softest brexit scenario, where we remain in the european economic area. 5% lower with a free trade agreement with the eu. the preferred option. and then 8% in a hard brexit, wto scenario. now if that's the meal, what are the crisps? they are the deals. so that same analysis assumed that a trade deal with the us would add 0.2% to gdp in the long term.
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trade deals with everyone else — china, india, australia, southeast asia — adding 0.1% to 0.4% in total. those trade deals are the small bites. 0k. they are small numbers. how much weight should be put on them? they look almost strangely small. but when we were talking about ttip — the eu/us deal — it was estimated that it could boost uk gdp by 0.14%—0.35% over a decade. and actually the eu's analysis of its own trade deals — comes up with similarly small benefits to gdp. the caveat is that it is hard to model the benefits of the deal, particularly when it comes to removing nontariff barriers, which is most of the benefits. liam fox was asked about this. he said he didn't recognise that choice. we want a deal with the eu, we are pursuing deals elsewhere, and we are rolling over eu deals into uk law. he wants his meal, his crisps,
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and maybe a burger on the side, whatever it may be. thank you, helen. borisjohnson has had quite a day. there has been a leak, a letter about the irish border to theresa may. tell us about it. the front page of the daily telegraph. it says boris raises the prospect ofa hard border in ireland. as you say, this is off the back of a letter leaked to the prime minister to sky news in which he raises that very prospect. he is not saying that he wants that to happen, but he is saying that if it does happen, we shouldn't worry because in that scenario 95% plus of goods would cross that border unchecked. why is he saying this? he is saying this because he fears that in seeking a 100% guarantee of no hard border, the prime minister is in danger of paying too high a price.
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and that price could raise questions about the ultimate uk endgame, which is this ambitious, managed divergence from the eu. number 10 has said tonight there will be no hard border along the ireland border. let's digest all this. let's speak to neil richmond. he is the irish government spokesman to neil richmond. he is the irish government spokesman on to neil richmond. he is the irish government spokesman on eu affairs. the legal agreements, i'm sort of confused about this legal agreement. it seems to say in the absence of any other solution, northern ireland has to align itself on everything with the eu. is that what you understand the legal agreement will
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say? this draft legal text is the legal manifestation of the trade agreement reached between european and british negotiating teams in december, setting up three options. the verses we resolve our as closely as possible to maintain the eu and uk working together. the second option is awaiting detailed from the british government. the third option, the backstop, which is something that nobody really wants. that will ensure the entire island of ireland will maintain... that's the backstop, sorry to interrupt, can you tell me in the backstop world, the only one being written into the first draft of this legal text, in that world itself where does your single market customs union border go exactly? it's the only one being written at the mode because the other two are dependent on the negotiations. where does the border go? you thought about this
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backstop. you're happy with the backstop. you're happy with the backstop. where does your border, the eu border with the u k, the noncivil market committee customs union. where does the border go? firstly, we are not happy with the backstop. we accepted the backstop is... where does the border go. sorry, just answer the question. it's a bit simplistic to put it like that but it means there is no border on the island of ireland and it means that northern ireland is fully aligned with ireland. perfect. understand. where does the eu border committee customs union and the supermarket border go? when a ship arrives at the north of ireland with goods on, is there no border at there? is there no eu border? goods on, is there no border at there? is there no eu border7m would be a matterfor the united kingdom to implement that within the british... we can send everything we've got. sorry to be so aggressive about this but if you are proposing no border anywhere, what's to stop the uk for sending everything? i'm
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not proposing anything. this is the d raft not proposing anything. this is the draft agreement. where is the draft the mac border... i never once said there was no borderfor the eu. what isaid there was no borderfor the eu. what i said there is no border on the island of ireland. where is the border then? the border then is in between the remainder of the united kingdom. so you would eu customs post in northern ireland to stop things, or belfast airport and to stop people flying, good slang from britain to northern ireland? eu customs post in belfast stopping stuff. is that really your proposal? we are not proposing anything. if you let me finish, with the agreement agreed by both the british and european sides in december, this isn't just a european and european sides in december, this isn'tjust a european suggestion.
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this is the legal draft based on the political agreement in december. it refers to joint political agreement in december. it refers tojoint eu uk political agreement in december. it refers to joint eu uk customs operations. wait there while i talk to bernard jenkins. what is your solution? you are seeing a bit of de—escalation from the irish republic government. they do not want to threaten a hard border. i will say what theresa may will not say, but i know that she thinks. we are not having a hard border in northern ireland under any circumstances. if the eu wants a hard border and they put stuff up at the border, then that is their problem. but this country has signed an agreement that says if we do not agree a border, we will align. that is the agreement that we signed. the word alignment is not regulatory alignment, it is a highly ambiguous, rather fudged agreement.
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full alignment, with the rules of the customs union. it is a somewhat fudged agreement. you're just trying to backslide from something you signed up to. it does not refer to regulatory alignment. alignment with he rules of the internal market and customs union. in trade agreements, alignment and regulatory alignment mean different things. you're just trying to backslide on an agreement. i am clear there is going to be no hard border in northern ireland. i'm also clear, worst—case scenario, unless the eu is so stupid they do not want a trade agreement at all, we will at least have some canada or canada—plus agreement. michel barnier has said that. in which case, and as bertie ahern has said and enda kenny used to say,
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that we do not need a hard border in northern ireland. and here is a paper published by the european parliament and drafted by the secretary general of the world customs organisation saying you do not need a hard border. you can use technology and risk based policing. are you ruling out completely any kind of technological solution to the issue that the british want to divert from the single market and customs union regulations, and that means some kind of checks at the border? what we're going on is the agreement in december made by both the european negotiating side and british government. we're staying true to that agreement that will be no return to a border on the island of ireland. people talk about electronic options but we have seen no detail. brexit happens in 13 months. reassuring speeches and soothing noises are no use at this stage,
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unless we see substantive detail, which we have not seen. there is no real solution. by maintaining there is no border on the island of ireland. effectively, you are saying the uk must have a border, an internal border and you're going to police that on the side? we're not going to police it, it will be the uk and the eu together. this is what was agreed. an agreement between the government and the european commission. thank you very much. very quickly yesterday, we saw news that parliament will put us in a customs union anyway. do you think that theresa may can remain as prime minister with parliament instructed her to put us in a customs union and then lead britain into a customs union? i do not think parliament will vote for a customs union, but if it did,
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it would be pretty existential for her administration and her authority. so for that reason, i do not think many of my colleagues would support the opposition on this, and i also expect rather more labour mps will be voting as we saw from people like frank field over the weekend, rather more labour mps supporting the government. because if we stay in the customs union, we're not delivering the referendum result. i'm so sorry, we have already overrun. as one of the gulf states, one of the richest countries in the world, and the host of the 2022 world cup, you will not be surprised to hear that qatar has imported hundreds of thousands of workers to build its facilities. you will also not be surprised to hear that many deaths have occured on the construction sites, although the precise numbers are disputed, and that qatar has been much
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criticised for the treatment of its migrant labour. but you may not have heard about the case of zac cox, a british man who died just over a year ago, while working on roof walkways on the khalifa stadium. he fell a0 metres after his safety line failed to hold him. it's a tragedy, compounded by the difficulty of his relatives to get a full official account of what happened. today, a coroner in brighton ruled mr cox had been working in a ‘downright dangerous' environment. his family, friends, and colleagues do not want to let the issue drop. katie razzall has been speaking to them. he was very, very kind. he brought as muchjoy as he could to those around him. a thoughtful man. zac cox died in qatar in january 2017. a rope access technician, zac had been involved in renovating one of the world cup 2022 stadiums when he fell a0 metres to his death.
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this is the doha the authorities want you to see. the khalifa stadium was the first world cup venue to be finished, and is already hosting events. but behind the scenes, the picture is less clear. figures have been claimed and disputed about how many construction workers have died building world cup projects in qatar. zac died after equipment failed high up in the stadium. this is information that we've gained from various sources from zac‘s colleagues. zac cox's family agreed to give newsnight theirfirst television interview. a full 13 months after his death. they had kept quiet, they say, as qatari processes ran their course. but are left feeling frustrated. it is deeply distressing. you know, you have lost a loved one, a very, very dear friend. and no one has been held responsible. there's no sense that anyone
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will held accountable and we have no confidence that lessons will be learned and other families won't be put in this horrific situation. here is zac, and you can see how this is one element of the catwalk. mr cox had been working in a team of three, installing catwalks that were to hold lighting and other equipment near the roof of the stadium. i find this probably the most traumatic piece of information that we've got. you can see this is where zac apparently landed. so you can see his safety harness which has been cut. you can see the ropes. you can see his shoe. and you can see the dent in the structure which is probably where he fell. from the beginning of the lever hoist failing to zac hitting the ground was about three and a half seconds, i think. it was, it was a big fall. i was working parallel to zac and his team. on another set of catwalks.
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all of a sudden, we heard a large bang and looked over to see the chain running through the block of the lever hoist. and the catwalk started falling away. zac‘s close friend and colleague, jothohnson, saw what happened. he says one of the bits of equipment called a lever hoist that the teams were using to hold up the catwalks until they could be permanently fixed, failed. zac was standing on the catwalk that lever hoist was supposed to support. zac got pulled towards the slings that were holding the lever hoist up. and the weight of the catwalk was entirely on zac then, on his line. which then failed and the catwalk swung away, leaving zac to fall to the ground. and how far did he fall?
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i believe it was 39 metres. the falling lever hoist rigging had caught zac‘s safety rope. unable to bear the added weight of the catwalk, the rope snapped. another colleague, graham vantz, who had been standing near zac cox on the adjacent catwalk, and who had watched him fall, was arrested that day. he was released, but prevented from leaving qatarfor 11 months. wrongly blamed for the death. he was eventually exonerated. throughout that time the family didn't want to speak publicly for fear of harming his case. for a year, the family said they have been kept almost completely in the dark. recently they got hold of the internal investigation report, carried out immediately after zac cox's death by the stadium contractors and overseen by the supreme committee, the qatari body responsible for delivering world cup infrastructure. despite promises of cooperation, they said this document was never given to them
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through official channels. it was undertaken by the companies involved and by the supreme committee but we have never been given that document formally. it's the clearest account of what happened to zac and why. and the fact it's been there, and nothing is happening to it, and no one is going to read it, and it's not going to lead to any other sequence of events where people are actually held to account, is deeply distressing. the report revealed what they'd suspected, that there were issues with some of the equipment the teams were using. one of the key things in this report was the page that talks very clearly about the equipment being used, and the fact that it was in poor condition. it had no third—party certification available. but yet it was labelled up and provided to zac and his colleagues to use in their work. under normal circumstances, that equipment should have been put in the bin. without the relevant and appropriate certification. but yet it was used for a team of people who were working 40 metres up above ground level.
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in my opinion, that's beyond devastating. the investigation report says the subcontractor pfeifer accepted equipment from another subcontractor, eversendai. but that equipment was in poor condition and didn't have the correct certification. this is denied by pfeifer and the main contractors, midmac sixco, who say far from being substandard, the equipment was fit for use. according tojothohnson, the teams had run out of lever hoists, so some were borrowed. there were parts missing. they were rusty. we knew that this stuff wasn't suitable for use in such a project. and why did you think it was being used, why was it there if it shouldn't have been? i believed we were using it because we had run out of our own equipment, which was... the equipment from pfeifer was second to none and the best in the world. we had no problems using it. we had used it in other projects before.
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no problems. but we ran out. i believe that batch of lever hoists we borrowed should never have been on site. zac lived on the south coast in brighton. born in johannesburg, he'd married a briton. today, family members arrived at brighton's coroner's court for the conclusion of the inquest into zac‘s death. we heard details of his fall and how he likely died instantaneously. but much of the evidence concerned the contents of the investigation report, detailing the poor condition of the lever hoists given to the teams after christmas 2016. jothohnson, who also lives in brighton, described how he shored up the lever hoists he used with ratchet straps because he was so worried about their state. the coroner was clear with the family, that liability didn't come into her remit. herjob, she said, was to find out how zac cox died, not who was responsible. especially, she added,
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as the people and companies involved in renovating the stadium weren't in court to answer for their actions. but this afternoon in her summing up, she was damning. she said, the system after christmas was chaotic, unprofessional, unthinking, and downright dangerous. she concluded, ifind many men, many managers should have known they were effectively asking their workers to rely on lethal or potentially lethal equipment. we are calling for a full independent enquiry of the evidence. until a full investigation has been carried out by an impartial party, i think there are still unknowns. but newsnight has been told that the criminal proceedings in qatar finished last november. which leaves the family with little confidence anyone will ever be held to account. katie razall there. in a statement, qatar's supreme
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committee for delivery and legacy said several systemic failures and human errors had contributed to the incident and that four members of staff had been removed and banned from working on further projects. a spokesman said the supreme committee had been assured that the contractors would keep in touch with mr cox's family and apologised for failing to do so itself. it said workers' welfare was its main concern. the building contractor pfeifer, in a joint statement with midmac sixco, denied any equipment was substandard and said the firms had kept in close contact at all times with the family and british embassy. there have always been arguments about whether cannabis should be decriminalised, but there was a time when the drug was legitimately seen as at the light end of the illicit drug spectrum. however, things have changed. a new study from king's college london's institute of psychiatry, psychology & neuroscience being published tomorrow, suggests that the weaker forms of cannabis have almost been driven out of the market, which is now
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overwhelmingly dominated by the more dangerous, psychosis—inducing forms. it's a new form of gresham's law, bad drugs drive out the good. weed, marijuana, skunk, grass. there are many ways to talk about cannabis but with each word, the exact potency of the product can change. when it comes to smoking cannabis, there are two crucial ingredients. tetra hydrocannabinol or thc, is what gets people high. but large doses of thc can also induce temporary psychotic symptoms. the other substance is cannabidiol, or cbd. it offsets some of the negative effects of thc. now hash traditionally has equal levels of the two. grass has low levels of both. whereas skunk has lots of thc and virtually no cbd. tomorrow's study from king's college concludes that
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it's skunk that forms an increasing portion of the cannabis available on our streets. in 2005, only half the product was high potency skunk. by 2008, it was 85%. and in 2016, it had hit 94%. the findings are important because having a market which is dominated by high potency cannabis like skunk means that the cannabis users are at significant risk of developing psychosis. because it is known that when you do use skunk, your risk of developing psychosis can be pushed up to five times greater compared to people that never use. there are also links between thc and addiction. skunk is more addictive, an added bonus for dealers. this all bears on the legalisation debate. there's a lesson from the prohibition era. when people want something, they generally get it.
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potent drugs are liked by dealers as volumes sold can be smaller and easier to disguise. that is why whiskey was more popular in their probation speakeasies in america than beer. cannabis, once legalised, it could stop the slide towards more potent versions? well, others say legalising drugs that can result in psychosis can never be right. making a highly addictive drug more accessible will only create more problems. the one thing both sides agree on is that cannabis is getting stronger. the stuff puffed by hippies in the 60s had about 1% of thc in it. today's thc levels are now over 14% on average, as skunk‘s prevalence rises. we should mention that three of the five authors of the new study do work for gw pharmaceuticals, a company developing cannibinoid medicines. i'm joined by lord monson, he's a hereditary peer whose son
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rupert green took his own life last year after suffering psychosis the family believe was brought on by skunk. in toronto is bill blair. he's a former chief of the city's police and now an mp and drugs czar to canada's prime minister justin trudeau, together they are pushing through the legalisation of cannabis. and also with me is marjorie wallace from the mental health charity sane. good evening. nick, take us through rupert's experience, how quickly did he go from ordinary life to psychosis? sure. he called me in august, about a year and a half ago, he said he hadn't been doing very well in his studies. he explained to me over the telephone there was a reason for that, which was that his flatmates had been spying on him and said that had unnerved him. he came to see me. we discussed it. i said the likelihood of his flatmates being so unpleasant and bad minded towards him...
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it was just the remotest possibility. possibly he was being a little bit paranoid. then he turned round and said, if you say that to me again i'm going to punch you. then you realised something was wrong. yes. he hadn't shown signs of anything like this before? no. but i haven't seen him for six months. his mother called me and said that he had gone home and that he wasn't, doesn't seem well, and he was diagnosed by some doctors. they said that he had drug induced psychosis. quite what that meant to us, we didn't know. they said it will be fine, he just needs to take his pills and he will be all right. they didn't really explain to us how dangerous the psychosis could be. he went back to university.
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his behaviour was... he was quite aggressive over the telephone. then we had a chat, and he said that he intended to kill himself. then an intervention followed, and he was... he was taken to hospital. three weeks later, he was released and they said just fine, go back home carry on taking the pills. we expected him to slowly get better. but it just wasn't the case. and he had more and more, he was supposed to be taking the pills, but we couldn't make him because of human rights. we know how this tragically ended. marjorie, you see a lot of people with bad mental health. are you linking all of... how often are you
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linking it to skunk? sadly, much too often. your experience, we see it we played that day out. over dozens of families. and through hundreds of families. it's the same link between young people, usually young people, they are starting out in life, they have promise, their lives ahead, then they start taking cannabis. and the stronger forms like skunk have much higher psychoactive thc content. then starts the downward spiral. you both agree on how dangerous this can be. let me bring in bill blair. you were a police officer for many years. an undercover narcotics officer. now leading the process by which canada will legalise cannabis. what is this thinking? how much is this strengthening of the street cannabis motivating that? what motivates us, currently
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in canada we have the highest rates of cannabis use among our young people of any developed country in the world. the cannabis they are using is entirely sourced from criminal organisations. we believe that it's necessary to lift the prohibition through legalisation in order to enable us a comprehensive system of strict regulation for its production and distribution. so we can do a betterjob of keeping it out of the hands of our kids. the risk factor is we are finding among our young people that the earlier they begin to use it more frequently they do. and the higher potency of what they use has much higher health risks and social risks for our young people. we believe we can be far more effective in regulating this substance if we lift the prohibition. i want to be clear. our approach is entirely predicated on a public health model. it is based on the best
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scientific and health advice that we could obtain from public health officials in order to ensure we could do a betterjob of it. did you think about the idea ofjust legalising the weaker forms to encourage people not to be taking the illegal really strong psychosis inducing stuff? one of the things we can do... since 2013 we had a strictly regulated production of medicated cannabis in canada. the processes are regularly tested. there was a strict level of accountability. we know the potency, the purity, and the provenance of the cannabis available for consumption among adults. we can provide our adult consumers with far more accurate information so they can make healthier choices, safer choices and socially responsible choices. thanks very much for that. marjorie, do you think that the powerful stuff
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which is around, so prevalent, would strengthen the case for legalising at least some cannabis, the weaker form? depression and anxiety. we don't know who is vulnerable. it might be 10—20% of people. we don't know. we haven't done enough research. it's too early to dilute the message is that it is dangerous.
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