My report, Cannabis Law Reform: Pretense & Perils has just been released through the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research at McMaster University and St. Josephs Healthcare Hamilton.
The report examines the Canadian government’s campaign to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The government’s stated case is that the contraband trade poses a serious threat to cannabis users (including ‘kids’), and that a legal, regulated industry will provide protection. This report draws upon research on the contraband trade, our established legal drug industries (alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical), and government efforts to regulate these industries. This investigation concludes that the government’s case, on all counts, is weak. It’s depiction of the contraband cannabis trade amounts to little more than unsubstantiated, vestigial reefer madness that was used for so long to resist reform from prohibition to decriminalization. At the same time that hundreds of thousands of (mostly young) Canadians were receiving criminal records for minor possession-related offenses, our legal drug industries engaged in a relentless, indiscriminate, and sometimes illegal, pursuit of revenue with substantial harm to the public’s health and to the Canadian economy. Early indications warn that an ambitious cannabis industry is on a similar trajectory. These industries continue to be enabled by permissive and ineffective regulatory oversight by government.
Cannabis Law Reform in Canada: Pretense and Perils recommends immediate decriminalization of minor cannabis-related offenses. It also supports the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, but strongly asserts that the prevailing profit-driven, poorly-regulated paradigm is a dangerous one. The legalization of cannabis in Canada provides an opportunity to try a different approach – a not-for-profit cannabis authority – functioning with a genuine public health priority. The report can be found at:
Here is a link to some coverage by CBC:
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