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How is cannabis legalization going? Feds launch overdue review to find out

·2 min read

OTTAWA — The federal government launched a long-awaited review on Thursday of how legalizing marijuana has affected the health of Canadians, the domestic cannabis industry and the black market.

The Liberals lifted a century-long prohibition on the recreational use and sale of cannabis in October 2018, with the provision that they review the law three years after to comes into force.

That review is nearly one year overdue.

The legislation dictates that the federal government must investigate the impact of legalization on public health, youth consumption, Indigenous Peoples and communities, as well as the ability to legally grow cannabis in homes.

The government has opted to expand that review to examine whether legal cannabis has made any progress displacing the illicit black market.

The review will also examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of legalization, which enabled the creation of a burgeoning cannabis-related industry.

A panel of experts will conduct the review, led by Morris Rosenberg. A lawyer by background, he also served as deputy minister of justice, health and foreign affairs.

Rosenberg is also the former president and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation; a position he left in 2018.

The other four members of the panel have not yet been announced.

The panel plans to hear from the public, governments, Indigenous Peoples, youth, marginalized and racialized communities, cannabis industry representatives and medicinal cannabis users, as well as experts in health, substance use, criminal justice and law enforcement.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett have asked the expert panel to apply a sex and gender lens to their investigation and pay particular attention to how legalization has affected women, Indigenous and racialized people who might face greater barriers to participating in the legal industry.

Duclos and Bennett must also present a report to the House of Commons and Senate within 18 months of the review being launched.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press