Canada: Federal Task Force Advocates Legalizing Retail Marijuana Sales

Ottawa, Canada: Marijuana should be legal for those Canadians age 18 and older, according to the recommendations of a federally commissioned task force. The expert panel was tasked by the Trudeau administration to create a legal framework for cannabis that is consistent with the government’s commitment to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access.”

The report proposes that lawmakers amend federal law to allow for those over the age of 18 to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis. It also recommends establishing regulations to oversee the commercial production, retail sale, and taxation of marijuana and related products, such as cannabis-infused edibles. It proposes limiting the manner in which cannabis may be marketed and advertised, and prohibits the retail sale of marijuana in outlets that also sell alcohol. The task force further recommends, “In the period leading up to legalization, and thereafter on an ongoing basis, governments invest effort and resources in developing, implementing and evaluating broad, holistic prevention strategies to address the underlying risk factors and determinants of problematic cannabis use, such as mental illness and social marginalization.”

While the task force’s recommendations are not binding, they are intended to serve as a framework for forthcoming legislation to be considered by Parliament this spring.

Canada already regulates the production and use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

In 2002, members of a specially appointed Canadian Senate committee issued similar recommendations, calling on Parliament to permit the adult use and regulated marketing of cannabis. However, lawmakers failed to take any legislative action at that time.

For more information, please contact Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the advisory report, “A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada,” is available online.