The federal government’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation released its final report today. The report contains recommendations for a proposed framework to legalize and regulate cannabis in Canada. The recommendations are framed around the following principles: protection of public health and safety, compassion, fairness, collaboration, a commitment to evidence-informed policy and flexibility. According to the report, the recommendations put forth by the task force reflect a public health approach designed to reduce harm and promote health.
The report recommends that the federal government establish rules for cannabis production that mirror those for medical marijuana, and allow the provinces to be responsible for regulating distribution.
Highlights of the recommendations include:
- A national minimum age of purchase of 18 (provinces will be able to set a higher age to harmonize with their age for minimum purchase of alcohol)
- Not allowing co-location of alcohol or tobacco and cannabis sales, wherever possible
- Limits on the density and location of storefronts, including an appropriate distance from schools, community centres, and public parks
- Allowing home growing, with specific conditions, including a maximum of four plants per residence
- Implementing a set of clear, proportional and enforceable penalties that seek to limit criminal prosecutions for less serious offences. Maintaining criminal offences for:
- Illicit production and trafficking
- Trafficking to youth
- Administrative penalties for contraventions of licensing rules on production, distribution and sale
- Allow the permitting of dedicated places to consume cannabis, such as lounges and tasting rooms
- Supporting the development of a roadside drug screening device
- Comprehensive restrictions on the advertising and promotion of cannabis and related merchandise
- Requiring plain packaging, allowing only company name, strain name, price, and amounts of THC and CBD
- Strict sanctions on false or misleading promotion, or promotion that encourages excessive consumption
- Prohibitions on mixed products (such as cannabis-infused alcohollic beverages, or cannabis with tobacco, etc.)
- Developing and implementing a factual public education strategy to inform Canadians of the risks of cannabis use
- Establishing an appropriate approach to taxation and regulation that balances health protection with the goal of reducing the illicit market
- Committing a share of taxation revenue to education, research, enforcement, prevention and treatment
- Using licensing and production controls to encourage a diverse, competitive market that includes small producers
- Implementing a seed-to-sale tracking system
For more information, review the full report here.