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Tag: Canada

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Who Is Conducting The Legislative Review Of Canada’s Cannabis Act?

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.

To help inform the Panel’s work, Health Canada has extended their online engagement process for Indigenous peoples. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are invited to read and provide feedback on the Summary from Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples: The Cannabis Act and its Impacts, which is open until January 15, 2023.

Quotes

“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

Quick facts

  • 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.

Associated links

Contacts

Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Maja Staka
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

 

Canada

Canadian currency money

Canadian Chamber Of Commerce Weighs In On Legislative Review Of The Cannabis Act

Canada was the first G-7 nation to legalize cannabis for adult-use at the national level, and the second nation to do so on earth, only behind Uruguay. Yet, unlike Uruguay, Canada allows adult-use sales to anyone of legal age regardless of their residence status.

In many ways what has gone on in Canada since the launch of legalization in 2018 has served as the greatest cannabis public policy experiment since the dawn of prohibition. Many countries around the globe have kept a close eye on legalization unfolding in Canada to gain any insight and lessons learned.

Back in September Canada’s government launched a legislative review of the Cannabis Act so that it could determine any internal lessons to be learned.

“The objective of the Cannabis Act is twofold. First, it aims to protect the health and safety of Canadians while serving as a flexible legislative framework that adapts and responds to the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians. Second, it provides for the establishment of a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of small and large players to displace the illicit market.” the government stated at the time of the launch of the review.

“Parliamentarians recognized the need for an early assessment of the Government’s new approach to cannabis control, and included a provision requiring a review in the Act. The review will help ensure that the Act adapts to the current situation and continues to meet Canadians needs and expectations.” the government stated back in September.

Part of the legislative review process involves soliciting feedback from the general public. On the four year anniversary of legalization in Canada, Health Canada announced that it was opening an online questionnaire and encouraged all Canadians to provide comments regarding their views on how legalization was going.

“As we look to the future, the Government of Canada will continue to provide clear, consistent and evidence-based information on the health and safety effects of cannabis use to people across the country, so they can better understand the risks and make more informed choices.” Health Canada stated back in October. The public comment period has since closed (on November 21, 2022).

Canada’s Chamber of Commerce recently offered up its recommendations regarding legalization in Canada and what the government can do to help cannabis businesses battle the unregulated market in a meaningful way.

“As part of the legislative review, the NCBC is proposing several recommendations to help businesses in the legal sector remain economically competitive in the long term and continue to displace the illicit market per the tenets of the Cannabis Act.” the Chamber of Commerce stated in its submission to the government.

The Chamber’s recommendations include:

  • Minimizing harms to protect Canadians
  • Education and awareness to support informed choices
  • Progress towards establishing a responsible supply chain
  • Access to cannabis for medical purposes

Canada’s legal cannabis industry is at a crossroads of sorts, in that a favorable legislative review combined with public policy and regulatory improvements could set up the nation’s industry for robust growth and reduced uncertainty well into the future.

Conversely, a review that yields an outcome that is not favorable could result in kneejerk public policy changes. If so, that would likely ensure that the unregulated industry thrives at the expense of the regulated market in the future. People can read the Chamber’s full submission language at the previously cited link found earlier in this article.

Canada

CBD oil

Plant-Derived CBD Extracts Effectively Manage Symptoms In Autistic Patient

Cannabidiol (CBD) is arguably the most popular cannabinoid on planet earth right now. As proof of that, consider the fact that according to Google trends ‘CBD’ was searched for by platform users more than twice as often as ‘THC’ over the course of the last year.

Of course, THC remains extremely popular both as a search topic and as a consumable. However, CBD is often seen as the more favorable cannabinoid between the two from the perspective of lawmakers and researchers, as demonstrated by the growing availability of legal CBD products around the globe and the increasing number of CBD-focused research projects being funded.

A recent study in Canada examined CBD-dominant extracts that were plant derived and their potential effects on autism as part of a case study. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: The twice-daily administration of plant-derived CBD-dominant extracts is “an effective treatment for managing symptoms associated with autism,” according to a case report published in the journal Cureus.

A team of Canadian investigators documented the treatment of a nine-year old patient diagnosed with nonverbal autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The patient received twice-daily dosing of a high-CBD/low-THC extract oil.

Researchers reported, “The child patient responded positively to the introduction of CBD oil treatment with reduced negative behaviors, better sleep, and improved communication.” No adverse side-effects were reported.

They concluded, “With the increasing clinical studies on the use of cannabidiol in treating patients with mood disorders, anxiety, chronic pain conditions, and other behavioral problems, it should be considered as a treatment option in managing symptoms related to autism.”

The findings are consistent with several other studies similarly reporting improvements in pediatric patients’ ASD symptoms following the use of cannabinoid products, particularly CBD-rich extracts. Survey data published in 2021 by the publication Autism Parenting Magazine reported that 22 percent of US caregivers or parents have provided CBD to an autistic child. Survey data from the United Kingdom recently reported that autistic adults were nearly four times as likely as controls to report having used CBD within the past year.

Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder: A case study,” appears in Cureus. Additional information on cannabis and ASD is available from NORML.

Canada

cannabis flower

Canadian Study Arrives At Obvious Conclusion Regarding Cannabis Purchasing Decisions

I am one of those lucky people that lives in a legal cannabis jurisdiction, and in my opinion, I live in the best legal market for cannabis consumers on earth. The State of Oregon in the U.S., where I reside, passed an adult-use legalization measure in 2014, with regulated sales beginning in 2015. Since the start of regulated sales, Oregon’s unregulated market as it pertains to domestic consumers has progressively shrunk, so much so that it’s virtually non-existent these days. That has resulted in me often being asked by cannabis observers around the world how Oregon did it?

Oregon is obviously not the only place to allow regulated sales, and yet, most other legal markets struggle with competing with the unregulated market. To be sure, unregulated cannabis is still cultivated in Oregon, however, none of it stays within the state’s borders from what I can tell, which is not a coincidence in my opinion given that Oregon has the lowest prices for legal cannabis products in the nation. Presumably, unregulated Oregon cannabis goes to other jurisdictions that have yet to legalize sales, and in some cases, some of it likely even goes to other legal markets where the price of legal cannabis is exponentially greater.

Price Matters

I have read my fair share of theories and expert analysis pertaining to ‘what needs to be done to combat the unregulated cannabis market’ and while much of it provides some level of insight, at the end of the day it’s an extremely straightforward ‘riddle’ to solve. As with anything, price matters, which is what yet another recent study determined, this time out of Canada.

“Higher prices and inconvenience of legal sources were common barriers to purchasing legal cannabis,” researchers concluded. “Future research should examine how perceived barriers to legal purchasing change as legal markets mature.”

A previous study from 2018 determined that cannabis consumers are willing to pay a bit more for regulated cannabis from licensed outlets compared to the regulated market, however, there’s a limit to how much more they are willing to pay. Every dollar that gets added to the price of legal cannabis results in some percentage of customers choosing to go the unregulated route, and thus, lawmakers and industry regulators should strive to do what they can to keep prices low.

Reasonable Taxes And Regulations

When people think of the government’s involvement in the cannabis industry, they often seem to oversimply it. After all, there’s more to operating in the industry than just initial licenses and taxes. Every regulation that is added to the cannabis industry contributes to a higher final price at the point of purchase. Evolving packaging requirements, security requirements, and many other regulatory components make operating a cannabis business expensive.

Current tax provisions for cannabis businesses are such that those business have to pay considerably higher taxes compared to other legal businesses, and for those that have banking access issues, additional security expenses may also be involved, such as armored transport services. Then there’s also, of course, the taxes on purchases themselves, which also adds to the final price for legal cannabis. Collectively, all of the costs and taxes can add up.

Meanwhile, nearly all of those aspects of the legal cannabis industry that drive up prices for legal products do not exist in the unregulated market, and as such, prices for regulated products will never be equal to prices for unregulated products. The goal is to get legal prices as low as reasonably possible so that the other benefits of regulated cannabis (testing, convenience, wider selection, etc.) are worth the extra cost. If lawmakers tax legal cannabis to death and regulators fearfully implement regulations that are obviously overkill, the unregulated market will always thrive, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Canada

court decision hearing gavel

Support For Cannabis Pardons Increases In Canada

Canada was the first G-7 nation to pass a nationwide adult-use cannabis legalization measure, which occurred just over four years ago. To-date Canada still serves as the only national adult-use cannabis market where anyone of legal age can purchase products beyond the low-THC variety.

Only two other nations have passed national legalization measures, with Uruguay having done so years before Canada, and Malta having done so late last year. Unlike Canada, Uruguay limits legal adult-use cannabis purchases to residents only, and Malta does not currently allow for-profit sales to anyone.

One area where Canada’s legalization model is clearly lacking is when it comes to pardons. United States President Joe Biden recently announced that he will be pardoning anyone convicted of a federal cannabis possession charge, and that has ramped up calls in Canada for the government at all levels to do the same.

Leading up to legalization in 2018 in Canada there was strong support for automatic pardons, yet the provision did not make it into the final measure. Instead, the fee for applying for a cannabis pardon was eliminated as a political compromise, although that still left all of the hoops that needed to be jumped through.

“According to a poll by The Globe and Mail/Nanos Research, however, 62 per cent of Canadians support or somewhat support the calls for a pardon for every person with a criminal record for marijuana possession.” The Globe and Mail stated back in 2017.

That level of support appears to have increased between 2017 and 2022, with new polling showing a slight uptick. Per Research Co:

More than three-in-five Canadians are in favour of a plan to pardon people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 64% of Canadians agree with the federal government providing expungement orders to people convicted of possession of cannabis for personal use with no intent to traffic.

It still appears to be unclear how many people in Canada have one or more related cannabis convictions on their record that would be eligible for expungement. Starting in the 1970s tens of thousands of people were convicted of possession every year in Canada. In 2015 alone it’s estimated that roughly 49,000 charges were applied by law enforcement.

Cannabis pardons and expungements need to be automatic, and that needs to be the practice everywhere, including in Canada.

The harms of prohibition are numerous, and the wrongs of the past will never be righted until every person that was ever convicted of a cannabis offense is freed from the burden of having it follow them around everywhere that they go. And the burden of making that happen falls squarely on the government, not the victim.

Canada

canada flag

Health Canada Is Seeking Feedback After Four Years Of Legalization

Canada was not the first country to legalize cannabis for adult-use, however, it was the first G-7 nation to do so, and the first to implement a nationwide, regulated adult-use cannabis industry that is open to anyone of legal age.

Uruguay is the only nation to have passed an adult-use legalization measure prior to Canada doing so. Yet, unlike Canada’s industry model, Uruguay limits adult-use sales to residents.

Legalization in Canada has certainly experienced its ups and downs, and by no means is it perfect. With that being said, it’s still the greatest cannabis policy and industry ‘experiment’ to-date, and much can be learned from the last four years.

On that note, Health Canada issued a statement today recapping its views regarding the last four years. Part of the statement urges people to share their feedback. Below is the statement in its entirety:

OTTAWA, ONOct. 17, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health issued the following statement about the Cannabis Act:

On this day in 2018, the Cannabis Act came into force, putting in place a new, strictly regulated framework for controlling the sale, possession, production and distribution of legalized and regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.

Since this time, the Government of Canada has implemented a robust public health approach to help keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and to help ensure adults have access to a quality-controlled and regulated supply, while reducing the scope and scale of the illicit market.

The Cannabis Act has two important and critical objectives: first, it protects the health and safety of Canadians while serving as a flexible legislative framework that adapts and responds to the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians; second, it provides for the establishment of a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of small and large players to displace the illicit market.

In the short time since legalization, more and more Canadians who consume cannabis are choosing to buy cannabis from legal retailers – according to the 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey, 53% reported a legal storefront as their usual source, an increase from 41% in 2020.

Public education efforts play an important role in protecting the health and safety of Canadians, especially youth. We will continue to equip Canadians with trusted information about how to identify legal cannabis and lower their risk if they choose to consume.

To ensure the functioning of the Cannabis Act is continuously improving, Health Canada has launched an independent review of the legislation to examine the progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives, and to help identify priority areas for improvement. An Expert Panel, chaired by Mr. Morris Rosenberg, will lead this credible and inclusive review.

As an initial step, an online engagement process has been launched and is open to all Canadians. We encourage you to read Taking Stock of Progress: Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in Canada and to share your views via the online questionnaire or through written feedback until November 21, 2022.

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are also invited to read and provide feedback by November 21, 2022, on the Summary from Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

As we look to the future, the Government of Canada will continue to provide clear, consistent and evidence-based information on the health and safety effects of cannabis use to people across the country, so they can better understand the risks and make more informed choices.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.

Associated links
Reduce your risk: Choose legal cannabis 
Cannabis Resource Series – How to read and understand a cannabis product label 
Pursue your Passion campaign 
Authorized cannabis retailers in the provinces and territories 
Canada’s lower-risk cannabis use guidelines
Accidental ingestion of illegal “copycat” edible cannabis products causing serious harm to children: Public Advisory 
Canadian Cannabis Survey 2021: Summary

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Marie-France Proulx, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Maja Staka, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, 343-552-5568; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983, media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Canada

cannabis leaf leaves plant

Canadian Study Finds That Medical Cannabis Products Are Safe And Effective

Humans have used cannabis and derivatives of cannabis for medical purposes for thousands of years. The cannabis plant is arguably the most versatile plant on earth and provides a number of wellness benefits.

Unfortunately, a number of governments around the globe still prohibit cannabis, even for medical use. For whatever reason, those governments cling to the false claim that cannabis has no medical value. Whereas cannabis’ wellness properties have been around for a very long time, cannabis prohibition is a relatively new thing.

Thankfully, the cannabis plant is being researched now more than ever before, and the results of many of those studies are providing key insight which can then be used to debunk prohibitionist talking points, including that cannabis is not safe for medical use.

A study in Canada determined recently that medical cannabis products are indeed safe and effective. Below is more information about it via a NORML news release:

Ontario, Canada: Medical cannabis products are safe and effective for older adults with chronic pain conditions, according to data published in The Journal of Cannabis Research.

Researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis products in a cohort of medically authorized Canadian patients age 65 or older. Subjects in the study used cannabis for at least three months.

Consistent with other studies assessing the use of cannabis by seniors, investigators reported that marijuana treatments were safe, well-tolerated, and associated with meaningful reductions in pain. “No serious AEs (adverse events) were reported, and non-serious AEs were experienced in less than 12 percent of the cohort,” they acknowledged.

Most patients in the study reported no prior experience with cannabis. Most initially purchased cannabis products either high in CBD or containing equal ratios of CBD and THC. Participants typically preferred cannabis oils over other formulations.

Authors concluded, “Our findings inform the underexplored area of medical cannabis use in this population and suggest that medical cannabis is associated with therapeutic effects on pain in older adults with an acceptable safety profile.”

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis authorization patterns, safety, and associated effects in older adults,” appears in The Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Cannabis Use by Older Adult Populations.’

Canada

cannabis plant

Nearly 10% Of Canadian Cannabis Consumers Engage In Home Cultivation

Cultivating your own cannabis can provide many benefits, with one of the most obvious benefits being cost savings. If someone is knowledgeable and able, they can cultivate their own cannabis for a fraction of what it costs to purchase cannabis from retail outlets.

Another major benefit is controlling what goes into your cannabis. After all, if you cultivate your own cannabis then you know exactly how often it is watered, what the water quality is, and what and when your plants are fed nutrients. There are no mysteries as to what your cannabis contains.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the right to legally cultivate their own cannabis, even in places where legalization measures have been passed. Home cultivation is legal in most of Canada, with some local exceptions which are working their way through legal challenges, and the option appears to be very popular according to newly released data. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Waterloo, Canada: Approximately ten percent of Canadian cannabis consumers report engaging in home cultivation, according to data published in the journal Addictive Behavior Reports.

Canadian researchers surveyed home cultivation patterns prior to and following the enactment of adult-use legalization in 2018. Under the law, adults in most regions of the country are permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants for their own personal use. (The provinces of Quebec and Manitoba prohibit home cultivation.)

Researchers reported that the percentage of consumers who grew their own cannabis increased from six percent prior to the passage of legalization to nine percent in 2020. Those residing in more rural areas were more likely to home cultivate. Most of those who engaged in home cultivation did not exceed legally imposed plant limits.

“Almost one-in-ten Canadian cannabis consumers reported home cultivation of cannabis in 2020, with modest increases following legalization of non-medical cannabis,” authors concluded. “The uptake of home cultivation is associated with province and cultivation policies; specifically, Manitoba and Quebec, the only provinces to prohibit non-medical home cultivation, reported among the lowest rates. Although the current study reported an increase in home cultivation among past 12-month consumers after legalization, it will be important to see whether rates continue to increase, even as access to legal cannabis and the price of legal cannabis decreases.”

Data from the United States has estimated that fewer than two percent of cannabis consumers acknowledge engaging in home cultivation, although the actual percentage of home growers has likely increased in recent years as more jurisdictions have adopted marijuana legalization policies.

NORML has long advocated that consumers in legal jurisdictions ought to have the option to home cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, opining: “The inclusion of legislative provisions protecting the non-commercial home cultivation of cannabis serves as leverage to assure the product available at retail outlets is high quality, safe and affordable. Additionally, permitting home cultivation provides adult consumers with an immediate source of cannabis — providing an alternative to the illicit market. Such a source is necessary because it typically takes state regulators several months, or even years, following the law’s enactment to establish licensed retail operators.”

Full text of the study, “Home cultivation across Canadian provinces after cannabis legalization,” appears in Addictive Behavior Reports.

Canada

canada flag

Government Of Canada Launches Legislative Review Of The Cannabis Act

Canada became the second country on earth to pass an adult-use legalization measure back in 2018, and still remains the only G-7 country to make such a public policy change. Uruguay was the first to legalize cannabis for adult-use at a national level in 2013, and Malta passed a limited legalization measure late last year.

Policy and industry observers from around the globe have kept a close eye on Canada since the launch of legalization, and the Canadian government is set to conduct a thorough review of the nation’s cannabis policies. Below is more information about it via a news release from the Canadian government:

OTTAWA, ONSept. 22, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – 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 launch of the legislative review of the Cannabis Act. 

The objective of the Cannabis Act is twofold. First, it aims to protect the health and safety of Canadians while serving as a flexible legislative framework that adapts and responds to the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians. Second, it provides for the establishment of a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of small and large players to displace the illicit market.

Parliamentarians recognized the need for an early assessment of the Government’s new approach to cannabis control, and included a provision requiring a review in the Act. The review will help ensure that the Act adapts to the current situation and continues to meet Canadians needs and expectations.

An independent Expert Panel, chaired by Mr. Morris Rosenberg, will lead a credible and inclusive review. Mr. Rosenberg is very well positioned to serve as Chair of the Expert Panel, with expertise and experience in the fields of justice, public health and public safety. He also has an informed understanding of the relationships between the Government of Canada, provinces and territories, and Indigenous peoples. We will announce the other four members of the Expert Panel in the coming weeks.

The Panel will provide independent, expert advice to both Ministers on progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives, and will help identify priority areas for improving the functioning of the legislation. It is stated in the Act that the review should focus particularly on the health and cannabis consumption habits of young persons, the impact of cannabis on Indigenous persons and communities, and the impact of the cultivation of cannabis plants in a housing context. The Panel will broaden that focus to include:

  • Economic, social and environmental impacts of the Act;
  • 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;
  • Impact of legalization and regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes; and
  • Impacts on Indigenous peoples, 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.

The Panel will 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 of the Act. The Panel will also meet with experts in relevant fields, such as public health, substance use, criminal justice, law enforcement and health care.

Additionally, the Panel was mandated to apply a sex and gender-based analysis plus lens to their review. This means they will examine the degree to which different sub-groups of the population (for example, women and people of colour) may experience unique or disproportionate effects of Canada’s cannabis control framework based on identity or socio-economic factors. The Panel will also examine the medical access framework in the context of the legalization of cannabis, and more specifically, whether all elements of the medical framework are required to maintain reasonable access to cannabis for patients.

As an initial step in the legislative review, an online engagement process has been launched. All Canadians are invited to read Taking Stock of Progress: Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in Canada and to share their views via the online questionnaire or through written feedback until November 21, 2022.

  1. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are invited to read and provide feedback by November 21, 2022, on the Summary from Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

The Summary outlines what has been heard by Health Canada to date through engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples on the Cannabis Act. Feedback on this paper will help confirm if Health Canada has properly understood their perspectives, priorities and concerns related to cannabis.

Quotes

“The work of the Expert Panel will address the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians while protecting their health and safety. Through this useful, inclusive and evidence-driven review, we will strengthen the Act so that it meets the needs of all Canadians while continuing to displace the illicit market. I look forward to receiving the Panel’s findings.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Ensuring that this review is informed by the input of experts and interested partners in many fields, Indigenous partners, as well as individual Canadians, will be essential to the work being done by Mr. Rosenberg and the rest of the Expert Panel. Congratulations to him, and we look forward to the Panel’s Review. Their work will be vital for our Government to continue moving ahead in a responsible way, while also minimizing the health risks associated with cannabis, especially for young Canadians.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“I am honoured to be leading the Expert Panel in conducting a thorough, independent review of the Cannabis Act. I look forward to hearing the perspectives of the public, stakeholders, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples through the online engagement process underway.”

Mr. Morris Rosenberg
Chair of the Expert Panel

Quick Facts
  • The Cannabis Act came into force on October 17, 2018, putting in place a new, strictly regulated framework for controlling the sale, possession, production and distribution of cannabis.
  • 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.
Associated links

SOURCE Health Canada

Canada

stethescope doctor medical hospital

Why Are Canadian Doctors Still So Unfamiliar With Medical Cannabis?

Despite what some governments around the world may claim, cannabis does indeed possess tremendous medical value, as proven by a growing number of peer reviewed studies and personal testimonies from suffering patients that have successfully treated their condition(s) with cannabis.

Fortunately, more and more cannabis laws are being reformed around the world which is boosting safe access to medical cannabis. For instance, Canada has had a medical cannabis program for several decades now, and is the only G-7 nation to have a nationwide adult-use law on the books.

For some reason, doctors and medical professionals in Canada are still lagging behind when it comes to knowledge of medical cannabis and related topics. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Montreal, Canada: Despite the federal government having legalized patients’ access to marijuana two decades ago, most Canadian health care providers acknowledge that they possess little knowledge about medical cannabis and almost none report having received any training about it while in medical school.

Survey data published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies reported that 56 percent of respondents felt either “uncomfortable or ambivalent regarding their knowledge of medical cannabis,” and that only six percent of medical professionals received any formal training about it while attending medical school. (By contrast, 60 percent of respondents said that they had   attended either a workshop or a conference on the topic.) Fewer than one-in-three (27 percent) acknowledged being familiar with the regulations surrounding patients’ access to medical cannabis products.

The results are consistent with numerous other surveys from the United States and abroad finding that health professionals seldom receive any formal training about cannabis and that most lack sufficient understanding of the subject.

Authors concluded: “The majority of HCPs [health care practitioners] received little, if any, formal training in cannabinoid-based medicine in medical school or residency, … and nearly one-third were unfamiliar with the requirements for obtaining CMP [cannabis for medical purposes] in Canada. Respondents endorsed discomfort with their knowledge of MC [medical cannabis.] …. These findings suggest that medical training programs must reassess their curricula to enable HCPs to gain the knowledge and comfort required to meet the evolving needs of patients.”

Full text of the study, “Healthcare practitioner perceptions on barriers impacting cannabis prescribing practices,” appears in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Health Clinicians Attitudes Toward Cannabis.’

Canada

CBD oil

Canadian Case Study Finds Favorable Results For CBD Oil And Autism

It is estimated that over 75 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with autism, with countless other people going undiagnosed for one reason or another. The first diagnosis of autism occurred roughly 75 years ago, and the definition of what constitutes autism has evolved since that time.

Currently, autism is defined by Autism Speaks as, “a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.”

The most common types of developmental therapy for people with autism include speech and language therapy, which has been found to improve the person’s understanding and use of speech and language, particularly in social interactions.

A recent study in Canada found that CBD oil may be an effective treatment for those diagnosed with autism. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: The administration of plant-derived CBD oil is safe and effective in the treatment of autism-related symptoms and it ought to be considered as a viable treatment option for patients with the disorder, according to the findings of a case study published in the journal Cureus.

A team of Canadian investigators assessed the long-term use of CBD oil containing 20 mg of CBD and less than one mg of THC in a non-verbal pediatric patient with autism spectrum disorder. Prior to initiating CBD treatment, the patient exhibited behavioral symptoms with outbursts of anger and physical aggression (e.g., punching, kicking, biting, head-butting, and scratching).

Following twice-daily CBD treatment, the patient “experienced a reduction in negative behaviors, including violent outbursts, self-injurious behaviors, and sleep disruptions. There was an improvement in social interactions, concentration, and emotional stability.”

Investigators concluded: “In the case study presented, the child patient has shown behavioral and cognitive improvements with no side effects reported. … With the increasing clinical studies on the use of cannabidiol in treating patients with mood disorders, anxiety, chronic pain conditions, and other behavioral problems, it should be considered as a treatment option in managing symptoms related to autism.”

The findings are consistent with numerous other studies demonstrating that the use of either CBD-dominant cannabis or oral extracts is associated with symptom mitigation in children with ASD.

Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol in treatment of autism spectrum disorder: A case study,” appears in Cureus. Additional information on cannabis and ASD is available from NORML.

Canada

tourette syndrome brain

THC Provides Symptomatic Relief To Patients With Tourette Syndrome

As many as one percent of people worldwide suffer from Tourette Syndrome to some degree, although many cases go undiagnosed. Tourette Syndrome is a nervous system disorder that involves the patient making repetitive movements and/or unwanted sounds.

Most cases of Tourette’s Syndrome start when the sufferer is a child, with some cases getting worse as the patient gets older. Typical treatments for Tourette Syndrome includes pharmaceutical medications and/or psychological therapies.

Cannabis is another form of treatment for Tourette Syndrome, albeit an emerging form of treatment that is not as common. A recent study in Canada found cannabis to be effective in some cases. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: Vaporized cannabis containing ten percent THC provides symptomatic relief to patients with Tourette Syndrome (TS), according to placebo-controlled data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Canadian researchers assessed the short-term effects of vaporized cannabis of varying potencies versus placebo in nine patients with TS.

They reported that subjects exhibited and perceived modest improvements following the administration of THC-dominant cannabis, but that they failed to demonstrate similar improvements following the use of either lower THC cannabis and/or high-CBD cannabis. Researchers acknowledged, “[G]iven the small sample size, … it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the benefits of THC.”

Prior studies assessing the long-term use of oral THC have documented a reduction in tics in TS patients. The findings of a 2019 study concluded, “Medical cannabis seems to hold promise in the treatment of GTS [Gilles de la Tourette syndrome] as it demonstrated high subjective satisfaction by most patients however not without side effects and should be further investigated as a treatment option for this syndrome.”

Full text of the study, “A double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover trial of cannabis in adults with Tourette Syndrome,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Additional information on cannabis and TS is available from NORML.

Canada

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