A cannabis expert and front line RPN’s response to the framework for legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.
I am feeling very positive about the recent framework released by Health Canada, and the team of individuals responsible for developing policy and procedures regarding regulation and legalization of Cannabis in Canada. There are many components to this document that are compelling from a nursing or health care perspective.
First, the fact that they have taken a public health approach means that they are considering issues such as risks associated with cannabis and its harm to youth, appropriate minimum age use, and advertising and promoting restrictions.
Second, the framework looks at risks associated with patterns of consumption, issues surrounding alcohol and cannabis use together, and risks surrounding the already existing illegal market.
Third, the document has taken into account many opinions, perspectives and options, and I find it both well written, and unbiased.
By implementing minimum age requirements, the framework hopes to deter youth from using cannabis, as many reports highlight that the earlier cannabis use begin, the greater risk for potential harm. By only allowing certain types of packaging and containers to be used for cannabis sales, the framework hopes to dissuade youth, including prohibiting advertisements that appeal to minors. The fact that the report is also supportive of cannabis related edibles, means that there will be a market that can offer products that better address health risks without the associated lung related harms that come with smoking. It also means that patients will be able to purchase pre-made goods, rather than risk the THC extraction process to make their own edibles, which can be very dangerous outside of a safe facility. With respects to the illegal market, providing education and information to different populations, as well as providing task force advice on how to develop broad, holistic prevention strategies that address the underlying issues regarding the ever-present illegal model.