The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a new evidence-informed report on the issue of cannabis control in Canada. CAMH’s Cannabis Policy Framework recommends a legalization with strict regulation approach to cannabis control.  

Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world, with 40 per cent of Canadians having used it at least once in their lifetime. CAMH’s Cannabis Policy Framework was developed to provide evidence-based principles for reducing cannabis-related harm. To do this, CAMH scientists and policy experts conducted in-depth analysis of the health, social, and legal implications of cannabis use and examined cannabis policy in other jurisdictions.  

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“Canada’s current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use,” said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH. “Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use.”

While 10 per cent of Canadians have used cannabis in the last year, it is not a benign substance, Dr. Rehm pointed out. “Cannabis use is associated with a variety of health harms like problems with cognitive and psychomotor functioning, respiratory issues, cannabis dependence and mental illness. For this reason, any reform of Canada’s system of cannabis control must include a strong focus on prevention and a range of interventions aimed at groups that are at higher risk of harm, including youth and people with a personal or family history of mental illness.” 

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