Canada Should Establish “Regulatory Framework” For Cannabis, Study Says

Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian law should be amended to allow for the taxation and regulation of cannabis, according to the conclusions of a City of Vancouver report released this week and endorsed by the city’s mayor.

“[T]he Federal Government should take a leadership role at the national and international levels to initiate reform of current drug laws and move toward creating regulatory frameworks for psychoactive substances that will allow municipalities to better address the harms associated with the trade and use of these substances at the local level,” states the report, entitled” A Plan to Prevent Harm from Psychoactive Substance Use.”

It continues, “[T]he Federal Government [should] implement further legislative changes to create a legal regulatory framework for cannabis in order to enable municipalities to develop comprehensive cannabis strategies that promote public health objectives, including appropriate regulatory controls for cannabis-related products, and support the development of public education approaches to cannabis use and related harms based on best evidence.”

The Canadian government is presently considering legislation to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, while increasing penalties on commercial cultivation.

A study published last year by the Vancouver economic think-tank The Fraser Institute also recommended that cannabis be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco.

A 2002 Canadian Senate Committee report recommended Parliament “amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to create a criminal exemption scheme, under which the production and sale of cannabis would be licensed, [and] to permit persons over the age of 16 to procure cannabis and its derivatives at duly licensed distribution centers.”

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.