A task force which has been looking at the legalization of marijuana over the last several months, has announced it has completed the research phase, and will release a report within the next few weeks.
The Federal Government is working on legislation to legalize pot by the spring of 2017.
Chair of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, the Honourable Anne McLellan and Dr. Mark Ware, Vice Chair, have released the following statement:
“It has been an honour for us, along with the other members of the Task Force, to have had the opportunity to engage with Canadians across the country who generously shared their expertise and perspectives on how the government should approach the legalization and regulation of cannabis.
We are pleased to announce that the Task Force has completed our work.
Our work has been guided by the Discussion Paper, “Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana.” To fulfill our mandate, we sought the views of a diverse community of experts, professionals, advocates, front-line workers, government officials, citizens and employers.
It has been a privilege to engage with so many people over the last five months, and we are thankful to all those who provided their input, time and energy.
Our report is now being translated, and will be provided to Ministers and the public once it is available in both official languages. Translation is expected to be complete in mid-December. The final report will then be received by Ministers and posted online at Canada.ca/Health. At that time, we will be pleased to speak to its content.”
Quick Facts on the consultations conducted by the Task Force:
•The Task Force was created by the Ministers of Justice, Public Safety and Health on June 30, 2016 to consult with Canadians and provide advice on how to meet the government’s commitment to legalize and regulate cannabis, to keep it out of the hands of youth and the profits out of the hands of criminals. It is made up of nine distinguished Canadians who volunteered their expertise in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice.
•We received nearly 30 000 responses to our online questionnaire, and organizations sent us nearly 300 submissions. We met with representatives of provincial and territorial governments, representing multiple ministries.
•Experts from many sectors met with us at roundtable discussions across Canada. These experts came from a wide spectrum of disciplines and included researchers and academics, patients and their advocates, cannabis consumers, chiefs of police and fire departments, municipal and local government officials, as well as numerous industry, professional, health, and other associations.
•Indigenous experts, representative organizations, governments and elders were invited to participate in a variety of Task Force engagement activities, including the expert roundtables, bilateral meetings and an Indigenous people’s roundtable.
•We were pleased to hear from youth, both through our online questionnaire, as well as at a roundtable discussion focused on youth perspectives. Youth-serving organizations also participated in expert roundtables.
•Many patients shared their perspectives on access to cannabis for medical purposes in a dedicated roundtable discussion as well as through the online questionnaire.
•Internationally, we gained insight through our visits to both Colorado and Washington states, where cannabis use is legal, and through speaking with representatives of the Uruguayan government, which is the only nation to have a regulatory system for legal access to cannabis.
•Here in Canada, we were also fortunate to visit several licensed producers, where we gained an understanding of the realities of regulated cannabis production in Canada today.