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Cannabis in Canada: CAMH recommends a Public Health Approach

Submitted by Tamar Mayer, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre

Last week, CAMH released its new Cannabis Policy Framework in which CAMH recommends legalization with strict regulation as the most effective means of reducing cannabis-related harms. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, the new framework provides recommendations for public health-focused cannabis control including:

  • a government monopoly on sales
  • a minimum age for purchase and consumption
  • controls on availability
  • a pricing system that curbs demand and discourages use of higher-harm products
  • a ban on marketing, advertising and promotion
  • a requirement that products be sold in standardized plain packaging

A blog by Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH, accompanies the new framework and you will see that there is a strong focus on how the social determinants of health relate to this topic. Dr. Rehm underscores that health equity issues as they relate to the area of law enforcement are part of the reason that CAMH has moved away from its previous pro-decriminalization position towards one that favours legalization with strict regulation.

In addition, a video called "Cannabis in Canada: CAMH recommends a Public Health Approach" discusses the health risks of cannabis and discusses how our current system of criminalizing marijuana is failing to prevent harm. To move this work forward, CAMH highlights 10 basic principles to guide regulation of cannabis use.


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