A course-correction on cannabis equity in Canada : the moment is now

Richard T - Unsplash


A course-correction on cannabis equity in Canada : the moment is now

21 October 2023
Nazlee Maghsoudi
Tahira Rehmatullah
Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

The Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation (CDPE) has created a guide for the federal government in a new report. A top-line recommendation is that the “purpose” of the Cannabis Act be expanded to “promote social responsibility and social equity in connection with cannabis.” 

Expanding the purpose could promote inclusion and diversity and help repair the harms caused under prohibition, like unnecessary incarceration and squandering of criminal justice system resources. The report also suggests ways to facilitate the employment and economic inclusion of individuals from racial groups adversely affected by prohibition.

However, given the industry’s current landscape, which is riddled with challenges from restrictive government policies like excessive taxes, monopolized supply chains, and lengthy product onboarding processes, it may be more practical to explore new, lower-barrier-to-entry opportunities. Other aspects of cannabis equity covered by the CDPE include amnesty for people with previous cannabis convictions, as well as a reinvestment of cannabis taxes.

Tax revenue generated from sales could be invested in communities most negatively affected by drug prohibition – reversing a trend of spending money on policing rather than community supports.