Drug policy reformers welcome Canada's cannabis law

By agency reporter
June 9, 2018

On 7 June 2018, the Canadian Senate voted in favour of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, legally regulating cannabis for adult non-medical use.  UK-based think-tank, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, advised the Federal task force and gave evidence to both Congress and Senate.

Welcoming the new cannabis law, Transform’s Senior Policy Analyst, Steve Rolles, said: “This is history in the making. The passage of this law marks the most significant reform yet seen, as Canada becomes the first G7 country to put government, not gangsters in control of the production, supply and use of cannabis.” 

“All drugs carry risks, but no drug, including cannabis, is made safer left in the hands of organised criminals and unregulated dealers. Age controls on consumers will reduce availability to young people, and legal, licensed vendors will reduce income for organised crime and unregulated suppliers. Legal regulation of suppliers will protect public health, and reduce the crime and violence associated with the illegal market.  Where legal regulation has been tried, the evidence shows that it delivers healthier and safer communities. The sky won’t fall, it will brighten.” 

"We welcome the Canadian government's clear public health focus – something that should be at the core of drug policy everywhere – including in the UK. This pragmatic step will stimulate debate and will hasten reform in the UK and elsewhere, helping to open the debate on legalisation and regulation of other drugs, to protect people’s health and wellbeing and reduce crime.”

This legislation follows an electoral commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party to legalise and regulate cannabis to protect young people, public health and deter criminal activity. The Cannabis Act will allow adults to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis, as well as grow it at home for personal use.

It also sets out a strict regulatory framework for the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of cannabis. It also creates new criminal offences for selling cannabis to children. It will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to purchase cannabis, but allows for provinces and territories to set a higher minimum age.

* Read Health Canada FAQs on the Cannabis Act here

* Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK based think tank and charity advocating for the legal regulation of drugs. www.tdpf.org.uk


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