Public health welcomes recommendations of federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation
OTTAWA, ON – 13 December 2016 – The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) welcomes the recommendations of the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.
“The Government of Canada’s commitment to implementing a public health approach to reduce harm and promote the health of Canadians is reflected in the Task Force’s recommendations,” said Ian Culbert, CPHA’s Executive Director. “This is an important first step towards establishing a retail framework that strikes a balance between freedom of choice and health protection.”
A public health approach to cannabis will ensure that a continuum of interventions, policies, and programs are implemented that are attentive to the potential harms of cannabis, as well as the unintended effects of the policies and laws implemented to manage them.
“In preparation for legalization, significant investments will be required by all levels of government to ensure that the necessary systems are up-and-running by the time cannabis retail sales become a reality,” said Culbert. “There is a massive amount of work to be done.”
The legalization and regulation of cannabis is a rare opportunity to develop a regulatory system that respects Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) rights while providing consistent pan-Canadian control for the substance.
“On the whole, the task force recommendations provide a valuable basis for the promised federal legislation. Close collaboration between the provinces/territories and the federal government to implement a unified regulatory system for cannabis will be crucial to its success,” said Culbert.
A public health approach includes the following strategies:
- health promotion to reduce the likelihood of use and problematic use;
- health protection to reduce the harms associated with use;
- prevention and harm reduction to reduce the likelihood of problematic use and overdose;
- population health assessment to understand the extent of the situation, and the potential impact of the interventions, policies, and programs on the population (evaluation);
- disease, injury, and disability surveillance to understand the effect on society and to evaluate the effects of these activities; and
- evidence-based services to help people who are at risk of developing, or have developed problems with substances.