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A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada

By Drug Policy, News Media

The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

TFMLR Dec. 13, 2016

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction
Our mandate
The Canadian context
A global perspective
Setting the frame
Public policy objectives
Engagement process
Guiding principles

Chapter 2: Minimizing Harms of Use
Introduction: a public health approach
Minimum age
Promotion, advertising and marketing restrictions
Cannabis-based edibles and other products
THC potency
Tax and price
Public education
Prevention and treatment
Workplace safety

Chapter 3: Establishing a Safe and Responsible Supply Chain
Personal cultivation

Chapter 4: Enforcing Public Safety and Protection
Illegal activities
Personal possession
Place of use
Impaired driving

Chapter 5: Medical Access
One system or two?
Public safety
Evidence and research

Chapter 6: Implementation

Annex 1: Biographies of Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Members
Annex 2: Terms of Reference
Annex 3: Acknowledgements
Annex 4: Discussion Paper ‘Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana’
Annex 5: Executive Summary: Analysis of consultation input submitted to the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

Cannabis & impaired driving

By Drug Policy

Cannabis and impaired driving

We must all be responsible adults especially *law enforcement and other professionals in the media and health care fields and seriously look at and listen to the scientific evidence.

Cannabis keeps getting compared to the toxic (deadly) drug alcohol. Cannabis is not toxic. Cannabis and alcohol are just not the same. Under the influence behaviours are not the same as alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs for the most part.

Daily medical cannabis consumers generally gain experience and tolerance fairly quickly. People would not be impaired if they took an aspirin for a headache the same can be said for most daily medical cannabis consumers.

Several years now pharmaceutical drug advertisements have included warnings about possible side affects that could cause impairment, statements like, know how our drug affects you before operating motor vehicles or equipment. In other words consumption does not automatically equal you’re impaired.

Distracted driving and walking is impaired behaviours. Parents drive while distracted by their children. Pet owners drive while distracted by their pets. Using a cell phone. Lack of sleep, human emotions, stress, mental health and more are all part of the important impaired issue.

Education based on scientific evidence only without the typical proven reefer madness nonsense.

*Irresponsible law enforcement and media professionals

See Dr. Susan C. Boyd, a B.C. researcher’s book “Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media and Justice”. about how law enforcement and media are not telling the facts.
Google Dr. Susan C. Boyd’s “Reefer madness is governmental”
Note: Dr. Susan C. Boyd is a member of Liberal government “Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation”

Mach 17, 2016
NORML Canada’s President John Conroy wrote:
“US NHTSA Drugs & Alcohol Crash Risk Case Control Study Dec. 2016 and No Prison for Pot!!”

Attached file: 812355_DrugAlcoholCrashRisk.pdf (released Dec. 2016)

Dear Mr. Costen, Mr. Blair and Mr. Sidhu” click the link to the left to view text part of John’s message published on NORML Canada (1978) website.

June 3, 2016
Motor Mouth: Hysteria over ‘high driving’ is all half-baked
Marijuana, by most measures, is not in any way the scourge that alcohol is

February 2015
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol.

August 5, 2014
Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

April 6, 2012
Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers Than Non-Marijuana Users, New Study Shows

November 2011
Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption
D. Mark Anderson University of Montana and Daniel Rees University of Colorado
16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.

Alcohol causes more impairment than cannabis and carries a demonstrably higher crash risk. Drivers under the influence of cannabis are acutely aware of their impairment. They consciously try to drive more cautiously, for example by slowing down, focusing their attention and avoiding risks. Drinking drivers show more risk taking and aggression in their driving, have no insight into their impairment, and do not try to compensate.

The psychoactive chemical in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has a very different effect from alcohol. Pot users are acutely aware of their impairment – that is, they feel “high” – and some try to compensate by driving more cautiously.

Chapter: 8 Driving under the influence of cannabis

• Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving.
• Cannabis, particularly in the doses that match typical doses for regular users, has a negative impact on decision time and trajectory.
• Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving.
• The effects of cannabis when combined with alcohol are more significant than for alcohol alone.

Cannabis & impaired driving –

International Centre for Science in Drug Policy –

Task Force on Marijuana Legalization & Regulation (TFMLR)

By Drug Policy

Task Force on Marijuana Legalization & Regulation (TFMLR)

Toronto TFMLR meeting August 30, 2016

TFMLR meeting

Craig JonesNORML Canada’s Executive Director wrote:

On August 30th I attended the meeting of the cannabis legalization task force in Toronto.

There were ~24 people around the table, including municipal enforcement officials, senior scientists from CAMH, mental health researchers, secretariat members and advocates for access to medicinal cannabis.

I was the only representative from a legacy organization — and one of the few to make a formal submission to the Task Force.

The Task Force members told us they had visited Colorado and Washington State and learned much from their deliberations there — mostly in terms of “don’t do this” kinds of lessons.

Anne McClennan approached me before the session began to tell me that she had read NORML’s submission — the night before the meeting — and “found very little to disagree with.” She did find the Summative Comments on the Task Force paper a little harsh, but agreed with me that the Task Force paper had more than whiff of reefer madness about it (“think about the children”).

The actual meeting consisted of a slow walk through the major considerations in their Discussion Paper with the intention of hearing from various stakeholders on all aspects of concerns surfaced by the Task Force.

I made the point — generally accepted by everyone around the table — that the federal government simply COULD NOT legislate on all aspects of cannabis once legalization was in force because many of the fine-grain details would devolve to provincial and even municipal jurisdiction.

I have to report that I think NORML got a fair and respectful hearing* (curious to learn of John Conroy’s experience). Dan Werb and myself agreed on almost everything — as I expected — and I was glad to have the input of a research scientist from the University of Toronto who was able to explain in appropriate detail how different routes of administration affect the cannabis user differentially.

*On more than one occasion Anne McClennan would make an observation in words that could have come directly from NORML’s submission.

Not all of the Task Force members were present, and of those that were present, not all spoke up. But of those that were I made a point of asking — in private, during the lunch break — “what have you learned in this process?”

McClennan admitted that the biggest challenge would be unlearning the many popular misconceptions that have long surrounded the cannabis issue (probably reflective of her own learning).

The former deputy head of the RCMP admitted that he no longer anticipated an explosion of use and impaired driving after legalization.

The Director General of the Secretariat told me that he was impressed with the diversity of views across Canada — at the variability of considerations around access in remote places like Northern Canada.

To sum up, a good day. I thought the Task Force was very respectful of NORML’s views. I thought they were receptive and willing to learn.

Vancouver TFMLR meeting September 1, 2016

John W. ConroyNORML Canada’s President (1978 to present) wrote:

I appeared before the Task Force on Legalization and Regulation today, September 1 in Vancouver. I found it to be a very pleasant experience with numerous great participants who brought a lot to the table and the Task Force members were very receptive and shared with us some of the huge cultural differences that exist in relation to this issue in the north, compared to the south and in the West, compared to at least some parts of the East. Not everyone has had the experience that we have had particularly in British Columbia now for many years and it is a challenge to bring something in that takes into account such differing perspectives.

Eric Costin was present, executive director of this government initiative and some of you will recall, he was in charge of the medical program for while at Health Canada and gave evidence in Allard.

Bill Blair, MP and Parliamentary Sec. to the Minister of Justice, who is the conduit between this Task Force was also present, and based on my prior experience with him he continues to be very reasonable on this issue and I think because of his police experience more knowledgeable of the situation on the ground.

The Chair of the Task Force Anne McClellan was also very open and frequently commented on the significance of what they were hearing and learning.

Dr. Mark Ware, the Vice Chair was also present, and was very receptive to the information they were receiving and particularly in relation to the medical marihuana issue and the new ACMPR and potential problems between the injunction patients and transitioning to the new regulations. I think they clearly understood that there will have to be a separate medical and recreational stream particularly depending upon what the legal model looks like though probably no matter what because of the distinct issues.

Prof. Susan Boyd of the Task Force was also present, and she was a witness for the Plaintiffs in Allard, and clearly supportive.

George Chow, a member of the Vancouver Board of Variance, but not sitting as long as he is on the Task Force also appeared to be very supportive and made some good contributions.

Perry Kendall, our chief BC Medical Officer in Task Force member was also very interested and then made very good contributions.

There were 5 staff or support persons to the Task Force, including Diane LaBelle, legal counsel to the Ministry of Health with whom I expect to have good positive future discussions.

There were 13 of us, including a number who are well known to the cannabis community and very supportive and I thought everybody made great contributions that were very well received.

Clearly the impaired driving issue and trying to construct a fair model engendered significant discussion and clearly will be a big issue for the politicians. Apparently there are some coroner statistics that allegedly determine cannabis to be the cause in certain fatal accidents and I will be doing some further investigation into them, specifically in keeping them posted on the information and developments I continually get from the U.S. on this issue.

The minimum age limit was part of a significant discussion and I think and hope that at the end of the day, they accepted that what’s important is what they decide to do to those under the minimum age that they set and that they should not use the criminal law. If they are going to continue to use the criminal law, for those “outside the scheme” they are simply going to have major problems and prejudice many young people. I think they are genuinely interested in alternatives to the use of the criminal law and there was discussion about adults selling alcohol to minors, tobacco issues and to try and come up with something sensible and not use the criminal law.

All in all a very good and informative day I think for all present, focusing on genuine learning and grappling with specific issues. At the end of the day it must be remembered that they have received over 30,000 submissions and are now doing the traveling consultations and have to report by November on simply how they think legalization (not decriminalization) should be done through Bill Blair to the 3 Ministers – Justice, Health and Public Safety.

That is where the politics will enter into the situation and given the continuing fears and hysterics from some quarters and the fickleness of politicians we are not likely to see what we think is “the right way to do it” and I think we can anticipate several years of restrictions that hopefully will fall away over time.

I started out being quite critical of the Discussion Paper in its use of the terms “addictive” and criticisms of home growing accusing the authors of not being up to date and being in fact misleading and that they obviously hadn’t read Allard before they wrote the paper. Remember the Task Force did not commission that paper and it was simply presented to them as the background discussion piece. Yesterday was opiate overdose day in BC involving true addicts cut off by their doctors who go to the streets and die and how the use of the criminal law in that area is responsible for the entire situation.

There is a lot of work to be done to educate the public and some members of the Task Force on the differences between cannabis consumption and alcohol consumption, impaired driving, and workplace issues.

I think the Task Force members are genuinely listening and learning and trying to come up with realistic recommendations based on hearing all sorts of perspectives across the country that some of us have never been exposed to.

I came away feeling very good about the day, but my skepticism remains about what the government will do.

Hope this helps some of you who are about to appear.

Vancouver TFMLR meeting September 2, 2016

Kirk TowsawNORML Canada’s Pacific Regional Director wrote:

Busy day but I wanted to give a short recap of last Friday’s Legalization Task Force meeting. The process is that the TF will make recommendations to Bill Blair who is acting as point person for three Ministers (Justice, Health and Public Safety). Mr. Blair will deliver the recommendations with his own comments and the government will do what it does.

The meeting covered five topic areas (set out in the discussion paper available to the public and which formed the basis for some 30,000 or more submissions already received by the TF). I believe that the TF is committed to doing its best to recommend a path forward that works for all Canadians. I also believe that there will be lots of things people don’t agree with and lots of room for improvement. I also believe, as does the TF, that whatever legalization looks like on day one will not be the end of the matter and that changes over time are almost inevitable.

My key points were that any system has to be inclusive, can’t be so hard to participate in that ordinary Canadians are frozen out, that a cannabis related criminal record should not be any barrier to participation, that legacy producers and distributors need to be included, that nobody under an age limit should ever have criminal charges arising from cannabis, that possession and plant limits are illogical and should not exist, that home production is a necessity and that there must be a separate medical system at least for home production (if there is a plant limit on rec production), access to all cannabis products (if some are not allowed in rec) and cost-reimbursement. Obviously there is and was a lot more but those are the highlights.

The group in the room was largely in agreement with much of this and with each other. People were there from public health, from medical professions, from First Nations, from research and from activism. Many familiar faces and some new ones.
The TF noted that the BC meetings were very good and that they learned a lot throughout this process. They also made clear that different parts of the country look at this issue very differently from each other. Finally, in response to diatribes from Pam McColl (who left at lunch without explanation) they made clear that this was about how to legalize not whether to legalize.

I think that production in the new regime will be federally controlled but that distribution will be provincially regulated. This means that provincial politicians need to be courted, educated and lobbied for the distribution system or systems that will be created. It also means that the current ACMPR producers are very likely to be allowed to participate in the new regime (unsurprisingly and of course they should be permitted like everyone else). In response to a specific question about obstacles in the current regime I said that the security clearance process needs fixing, that the security requirements are nonsense and a huge and unnecessary financial burden, that the timing of processing applications needs to dramatically improve and that the government should set basic quality control standards (eg, labelling requirements and levels of unwanted inputs) but should not micromanage how producers meet those standards.

There was a lot more and I may have some time to get into details in specific areas but the above is a general recap.

Apologies in advance for not being able to answer specific questions.

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

By Drug Policy, News Media

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

Legalize Yes

August 24, 2016

Part 2 — Production for Own Medical Purposes and Production by a Designated Person

Part 2 of the ACMPR sets out a registration framework that allows for personal-use and designated production of cannabis (including cultivation of plants and alteration of products) for medical purposes.

Note: The majority of Part 2 incorporates the requirements of the former MMAR and relevant section 56 CDSA exemptions that respond to the decision in R. v. Smith with required modifications to incorporate the production, storage and possession of products other than dried marihuana or plants. New provisions that did not form part of the previous framework include the following:

•Proof of possession and registration can be demonstrated through a registration certificate issued by Health Canada.

• Starting materials (i.e. seeds and plants) can be obtained through licensed producers.

• Interim supply of cannabis (until plants are ready) can be obtained through licensed producers.

• Security measures do not need to be listed on the registration application, but those registering to possess and produce cannabis must declare that security measures are in place to keep plants and products secure.

• Information sharing provisions have been expanded to enable proactive sharing of information on registered persons with P/T health care licensing authorities.

Indoor & outdoor grams, plants and storage amounts.

Grams Per Day = Plant Count

Producing cannabis safety and security
Information bulletin: safety and security considerations when producing cannabis for your own medical purposes

Applications for Production for Own Medical Purposes and Production by a Designated Person

Guidance Document – Completing the Production for Own Medical Purposes and Production by a Designated Person Registration Form

Licensed dealer testing of cannabis produced by individuals

August 11, 2016 Understanding ACMPR
Understanding the New Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations

Complete ACMPR Regulations

Contact Health Canada Cannabis for medical purposes
Toll Free Phone: 1-866-337-7705

More Cannabis for medical purposes services and information
Health Canada Cannabis for medical purposes

Government of Canada moves forward on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation

By Drug Policy, News Media

Legalize Yes

Task force and public consultation to inform creation of a new system that will protect and inform Canadians
June 30, 2016
Ottawa, ON – Government of Canada – News Release

Participate by providing your input by completing the online consultation
Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana – Discussion Paper

or skip directly to participate in “online consultation”, locate the “Next” button at “Accessing Marijuana for Medical Purposes” “Privacy Notice”

or see “How to participate” “Provide feedback on minimizing harms of use by completing the “online consultation.” link above the “Previous” and “Next” buttons on the following five pages: 3.1 Minimizing harms of use, 3.2 Establishing a Safe and Responsible Production System, 3.3 Designing an appropriate distribution system, 3.4 Enforcing public safety and protection and 3.5 Accessing Marijuana for Medical Purposes

Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat
Address locator 0602E
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9


Note 3 Task Force members: Dr. Susan C. Boyd, Dr. Mark A Ware and Dr. Perry Kendall members of Liberal government “Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation”

Dr. Susan C. Boyd, Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media and Justice.
The Canadian Press — Dec. 25, 2013
Book by B.C. researcher says media, police not talking straight on pot

Susan C. Boyd, BC BookLook – April 17th, 2014 Reefer madness is governmental

Dr. Mark A Ware,
Executive Director of The Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC).

Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer

November 10, 2014 Vancouver Sun
Dr. Perry Kendall reflects on 15 years as British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer