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Canada: Nation's Largest Mental Health Group Calls For Legalizing Cannabis

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Canada: Nation's Largest Mental Health Group Calls For Legalizing Cannabis

Toronto, Canada: The production and sale of cannabis ought to be legally regulated in order to better mitigate social harms related to the plant's use, according to a policy statement published by the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centers in the area of addiction and mental health.

"All available evidence indicates that criminalization of cannabis use is ineffective, costly, and constitutes poor public policy," the group acknowledged. "Legalization, combined with strict health-focused regulation, provides an opportunity to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use."

The CAMH's suggested regulations include a government monopoly on cannabis sales, the imposition of age-restrictions for those wishing to purchase cannabis, and a cap on the number of outlets allowed to sell the product.

"We want this framework to add to an informed discussion about the future of cannabis policy and to serve as a guide to the factors that need to be considered in order to come to a solution that is the most beneficial for public health," said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH. "We believe that the best solution is a system of legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Alteiri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.