Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada Part 1

Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada Part 1

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 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 1: Recommendations for Minimizing Harms of Use

These proposed measures aim to maintain and improve the health of Canadians by minimizing harms associated with cannabis use. In submitting these recommendations, the Task Force considered youth use, patterns of consumption, co-use with other restricted substances, risks to vulnerable populations, and interaction with the illegal market.

Minimum Age

  • Set a national minimum age of purchase of 18, with the right of provinces and territories to synchronize it with their minimum age of alcohol purchase

Promotion, Advertising and Marketing Restrictions

  • Apply restrictions similar to those on the promotion and packaging of tobacco products to the advertising and promotion of cannabis and related merchandise, including sponsorship, endorsements and branding
  • Require plain packaging for cannabis products that allows the company name, strain name, price, amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), warnings and other labelling requirements on packages
  • Where promotion is allowed, impose strict sanctions on false/misleading promotion as well as promotion that encourages excessive consumption
  • Require that any therapeutic claims made in advertising conform to applicable legislation
  • Resource and enable the detection and enforcement of advertising and marketing violations

Cannabis-Based Edibles and Other Products

  • Prohibit any product considered to be “appealing to children”
  • Require opaque, re-sealable packaging that is childproof or child-resistant to limit children’s access to any cannabis product
  • Edibles should have packaging with standardized, single servings, with a universal THC symbol and a maximum amount of THC per serving and per product
  • Prohibit mixed products (e.g. cannabis products with tobacco, nicotine or caffeine)
  • Create a flexible legislative framework that could adapt to new evidence on specific product types, on the use of additives or sweeteners, or on specifying limits of THC or other components

THC Potencycannabis

  • Provide regulatory oversight for cannabis concentrates to minimize the risks associated with illegal production
  • Design a tax scheme based on THC potency to discourage purchase of high-potency products
  • Develop flexible legislative framework that could adapt to new evidence
  • Implement public education strategies to inform Canadians as to risks of problematic use and guide lower-risk use, targeted at the general population but with an emphasis on youth, parents and vulnerable populations

Tax and Price

  • Conduct the necessary economic analysis and work with provincial and territorial governments to determine a tax and price that balances health protection with reducing the illegal market and includes equitable distribution of revenues
  • Create a flexible system that can adapt tax and price to changes in the market
  • Commit to using revenue from cannabis as funding for administration, education, research, prevention, treatment, and enforcement

Public Education

  • Adapt educational messages as evidence and understanding of health risks evolve, coordinating with provincial and territorial partners

Workplace Safety

  • Facilitate and monitor ongoing research on cannabis and impairment, considering implications for occupational health and safety policies
  • Work with provinces, territories, employers and labour representatives to facilitate the development of workplace impairment policies

Prevention & Treatment

  • In the period leading up to legalization, and thereafter on an ongoing basis, invest resources in developing, implementing and evaluating prevention strategies to address the underlying risk factors and determinants of problematic cannabis use, such as mental illness and social marginalization

 Part 2: Recommendations for Establishing a Safe and Responsible Supply Chain →

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are industry leading Regulatory Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.