Canada is one of only three countries on earth where cannabis is legal nationwide for adult use. The only other two countries are Uruguay and Malta. Uruguay initially passed its legalization measure back in 2013, making it the first country to ever pass a national adult-use legalization measure. Malta passed its law, which is much more limited compared to its legalization peers, late last year.
Unlike Uruguay and Malta, Canada allows legal sales to people of legal age regardless of their residence status. Uruguay limits legal sales to residents only, and Malta has yet to issue any adult-use license of any kind, and as a result, adult-use sales are still prohibited in Malta.
As part of Canada’s legalization policy, a four year review is being conducted to determine what lessons can be learned from what is often described as ‘the biggest cannabis policy and industry experiment on planet earth.’ Canada’s government recently announced who will be conducting the legislative review. Below is more information about it via a news release from the Government of Canada:
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced the members of the Expert Panel on the legislative review of the Cannabis Act.
The Panel will provide independent, expert advice to both ministers on progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives and help identify potential areas for improving the functioning of the legislation.
The ministers have taken a number of factors, such as geography, expertise, and demographic representation, into consideration when making their selection. They have carefully selected individuals who represent Canada’s diversity, and collectively hold significant public sector experience, expertise in public health and justice, and experience engaging with Indigenous communities and organizations.
The Expert Panel, chaired by Morris Rosenberg, will lead a credible and inclusive review with the following members:
Dr. Oyedeji Ayonrinde
Dr. Patricia J. Conrod
Lynda L. Levesque
Dr. Peter Selby
The ministers have mandated the Expert Panel to engage with the public, governments, Indigenous peoples, youth, marginalized and racialized communities, cannabis industry representatives, and people who access cannabis for medical purposes, to gather their perspectives on the implementation and administration of the Cannabis Act. The independent Expert Panel is also expected to meet and consult with experts in relevant fields, including, but not limited to, public health, substance use, criminal justice, law enforcement, Indigenous governance and rights and health care.
“The Expert Panel will provide us with an independent, inclusive and evidence-informed review of the Cannabis Act and its economic, social, and environmental impacts, as well as the progress that’s been made displacing the illicit cannabis market. We welcome the Expert Panel members and look forward to reviewing their findings to help address the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians while protecting their health and safety.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos Minister of Health
“The Cannabis Act has been instrumental in our efforts to protect youth from accessing cannabis, displacing the illegal market, and providing adult consumers with access to a safe supply of cannabis, but there’s more work to do. We congratulate the new members of the Expert Panel, and look forward to their work assessing our progress in meeting the goals of the Act and guiding our next steps.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
“It’s my great pleasure to begin working with the members of the Expert Panel. Each member brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, which will be essential as we conduct a thorough, independent review of the Cannabis Act.”
Morris Rosenberg Chair of the Expert Panel
The Act requires the Minister of Health to conduct a review of the legislation, its administration, and operation three years after coming into force, and for the Minister to table a report on this review in both Houses of Parliament 18 months after the review begins.
The legislative review will assess the progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives, and will evaluate:
Impacts on young persons;
Progress towards providing adults with access to strictly regulated, lower risk, legal cannabis products;
Progress made in deterring criminal activity and displacing the illicit cannabis market;
Impacts of legalization and regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes;
Impacts on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and communities; and
Trends and impact of home cultivation of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
The Panel will broaden that focus to include:
Economic, social and environmental impacts of the Act;
Impacts on racialized communities, and women who might be at greater risk of harm or face greater barriers to participation in the legal industry based on identity or socio-economic factors.
Budget 2022 included a commitment that Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) would establish a cannabis industry engagement mechanism to advance industry-government collaboration.
ISED is presently designing a cannabis forum that will foster industry-government dialogue, and provide a means for industry and government to examine issues relevant to the long-term competitiveness and stability of the sector.