Government of Canada Moves Forward on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation

Task force and public consultation to inform creation of a new system that will protect and inform Canadians

OTTAWA, Ontario — Today, Canada is taking an important step towards legalizing, strictly regulating and restricting access to marijuana, working to ensure marijuana is kept out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals.

The Government of Canada launched a task force and public consultation that will inform the creation of a new system. The government also released a discussion paper that outlines key areas where expertise and public input are required.

The Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, chaired by the Honourable Anne McLellan, and vice-chaired by Dr. Mark Ware, is made up of nine distinguished experts in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice. Over the coming weeks and months, the Task Force will meet with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and experts in relevant fields, including: public health, substance abuse, criminal justice, law enforcement, economics, industry and those with expertise in production, sales and distribution. The Task Force will also engage representatives from Indigenous governments and organizations, as well as young Canadians.

“We have confidence that the individuals who make up the Task Force have the expertise, knowledge and credibility necessary to provide us with thoughtful advice on the design of a system of strict marijuana production, distribution, and regulated sales.” – Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“Our Government is moving forward with an approach to marijuana that is both comprehensive and evidence-based. We are committed to moving ahead in a responsible way, acknowledging and addressing the health risks associated with recreational use of marijuana, especially the health risks to young Canadians.” – Jane Philpott, Minister of Health

“‎Our Government’s efforts to legalize and regulate marijuana will help keep it out of the hands of children, prevent drug-impaired driving, and stop criminals from profiting from it. These public safety imperatives are at the core of our plan. The Task Force, which includes experts in the fields of law enforcement and justice, will ensure this process is accomplished in a safe and orderly manner.” – Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“I am proud to be part of this historic, open and transparent engagement process, and I am confident that the resulting legislation will be robust and well informed by the input of experts in many fields, as well as individual Canadians.” – Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

In addition, all Canadians will have an opportunity to share their views on the design of this new system at until August 29, 2016. The public consultation will seek input on all the key areas of inquiry for the Task Force, including effective prevention and harm reduction, ensuring safe and responsible production, and enforcing public safety.

  • The Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation will consult with Canadians and experts to provide information to the Government that will help inform the design of a new legislative system. Their report will be presented to Ministers in November 2016. The final report will be made public by the Ministers once they have had the opportunity to consider its advice.
  • The illegal marijuana industry is estimated at $7 Billion per year–which costs governments $2.3 Billion to enforce.
  • Canada has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world among children and youth.
  • The Discussion Paper sets out the objectives of the new system for restricted access to marijuana, and identifies specific issues and options for which the Government is seeking Canadians’ views.
  • The Government of Canada has committed to introducing legislation on the legalization and strict regulation of marijuana in the spring of 2017. The legislation will come into effect once the regulations are developed and brought into force. The creation of the Task Force is a first step.
    Until new legislation comes into effect, the current laws and rules remain in place.

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