In June 2016, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Health created a nine-member task force to undertake consultation on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. Late last year, the Task Force released their final report following 5 months of consultations with Canadians, various levels of government, Indigenous governments and representative organizations, youth, patients and experts in relevant fields. The report documents various arguments that were brought up by the parties involved in the consultation around issues such as harms of use, supply chain, public safety and protection, medical access, and implementation. The report also contains the Task Force’s recommendations to the Canadian Government based on these consultations, should the legalization of cannabis proceed.
This blog post series is a summary of the Task Force’s recommendations on the regulation of cannabis to the Canadian Government. The full report from the Government of Canada can be found here.
Part 5: Recommendations for Implementation
The Task Force provided recommendations to the Canadian Government on key issues it will face during the implementation of new regulations, namely capacity, oversight, co-ordination, and communications. The Canadian Government was advised to:
- Take a leadership role to ensure that capacity is developed among all levels of government before the start of the regulatory structure
- Increase capacity in laboratory testing, licensing and inspection, and training
- Build on existing and new organizations to develop and coordinate national research and surveillance activities
- Fund research, surveillance and monitoring activities
- Establish a surveillance and monitoring system, including baseline data, for the new regulations
- Ensure timely evaluation and reporting of results
- Evaluate the program every five years to determine whether the system is meeting its objectives
- Provide Canadians with the information they need to understand the regulated system, the facts about cannabis and its effects, and the progress of the system
- Take a leadership role in the co-ordination of governments and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the new system
- Engage with Indigenous governments and representative organizations to explore opportunities for their participation in the cannabis market and develop targeted and culturally appropriate communications
- Provide specific information and guidance to the various groups involved in the regulated cannabis market
- Share Canada’s lessons and experience with the international community
The Task Force believes that Canada is well positioned to legalize and regulate cannabis safely. The recommendations given to the Canadian Government are intended to be a system of regulatory safeguards so that Canadians can gain legal access to cannabis with an emphasis on protecting and enhancing public safety.