Today the federal government released a discussion paper and make-up of an advisory group that will guide its legalization of marijuana. The discussion paper, which is titled “Towards Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana” is designed to support consultations led by the government on its plan to legalize recreational marijuana. According to the paper, the government’s new regime for legal access to marijuana will be guided by the following objectives:
- Protect young Canadians by keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and youth.
- Keep profits out of the hands of criminals, particularly organized crime.
- Reduce the burdens on police and the justice system associated with simple possession of marijuana offences.
- Prevent Canadians from entering the criminal justice system and receiving criminal records for simple marijuana possession offences.
- Protect public health and safety by strengthening, where appropriate, laws and enforcement measures that deter and punish more serious marijuana offences, particularly selling and distributing to children and youth, selling outside of the regulatory framework, and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
- Ensure Canadians are well-informed through sustained and appropriate public health campaigns, and for youth in particular, ensure that risks are understood.
- Establish and enforce a system of strict production, distribution and sales, taking a public health approach, with regulation of quality and safety (e.g., child-proof packaging, warning labels), restriction of access, and application of taxes, with programmatic support for addiction treatment, mental health support and education programs.
- Continue to provide access to quality-controlled marijuana for medical purposes consistent with federal policy and Court decisions.
- Conduct ongoing data collection, including gathering baseline data, to monitor the impact of the new framework