Canada to review adult-use cannabis legalization

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The Cannabis Act was passed in Canada in October of 2018. As part of that legislation, Canada’s Health Minister was required to review its impact 3 years later.

Almost four years has already passed since the Cannabis Act became law in Canada and the Canadian government is following up. They have launched a review of how adult-use cannabis is impacting youth, the economy, and indigenous communities in the country.

They will be looking at how adult-use cannabis legalization has either benefited or possibly, hurt any and all parts of life.

If you were doing your math correctly you will notice that the review is actually a year later than the 3-year timeline that was originally mandated in the Cannabis Act. 

Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos did indicate that the review took longer than expected to roll out. But the reason for the delay was that they wanted to get it set up so that it could be done correctly. The goal is to conduct a more in-depth review that what is actually required by law.

“The work of the Expert Panel will address the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians while protecting their health and safety,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a public statement. “Through this useful, inclusive and evidence-driven review, we will strengthen the act so that it meets the needs of all Canadians while continuing to displace the illicit market. I look forward to receiving the panel’s findings.”

Originally, the Cannabis Act had two main objectives. According to Health Canada, it was meant “to protect the health and safety of Canadians while serving as a flexible legislative framework that adapts and responds to the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians,”

Another main reason for the Cannabis Act was to create “a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of small and large players to displace the illicit market.”

When the law was originally passed in 2018 lawmakers knew and understood that it wasn’t perfect and that they needed to continually monitor it. They wanted to review it to make sure that it was working as intended and that it was meeting expectations. 

The independent review is going to be led by Morris Rosenberg. The expert panel will consist of five total members and Rosenberg is widely expected to make an announcement in the coming weeks of who the remaining four members will be.

“I am honored to be leading the Expert Panel in conducting a thorough, independent review of the Cannabis Act,” Rosenberg said in a public statement. “I look forward to hearing the perspectives of the public, stakeholders, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples through the online engagement process underway.”

One important area that the review will focus on is cannabis consumption habits of young people and the impact that is having on Canada’s youth. The impact of indigenous communities will be another focus area. 

According to a press release, the panel is also planning to look at other items of interest such as:

  • Economic, social and environmental impacts of the act;
  • Progress towards providing adults with access to strictly regulated, lower risk, legal cannabis products;
  • Progress made in deterring criminal activity and displacing the illicit cannabis market;
  • Impact of legalization and regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes; and
  • Impacts on Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, and women who might be at greater risk of harm or face greater barriers to participation in the legal industry based on identity or socio-economic factors.

As part of the extensive review process, the Canadian government is seeking perspectives from the public. They are looking for information and submissions from a wide variety of people, including the general public. They believe it is an important part of the legislative review process of the Cannabis Act. All submissions and comments are due by November 21, 2022.



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