Key Considerations of Canadian Drug Policy – March 8th, 2019

Good morning subscribers!

On October 17, 2018 recreational cannabis was legalized by the Federal government. Its legalization came with regulations that are similar to the ones used for alcohol in Canada, as they set limits on how cannabis is produced, distributed, consumed and sold. However, these regulations and other associated policies have been criticized for their failure to address some key considerations that may impact the general wellbeing of Canadians. Today’s Weekly Brief will explore some of these considerations and some potential ways that general drug policy can be improved.

Today’s Weekly Brief was prepared by Jasper Paredes Sign up here to receive the Weekly Brief directly to your inbox.

Key Considerations of Canadian Drug Policy

  • Recently, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced that the Liberal government would pass legislation that would provide those who have been convicted of cannabis possession under 30 grams with the opportunity of applying for a pardon. However, critics have questioned whether the proposed reform is enough to redress the past wrongs of cannabis convictions. In her latest Explainer for the GDPP Unpacking Equity series, Sandy Tat outlines the racial disparities in cannabis-related convictions and explains how specifically amnesties might be more effective than pardons. [Tat/PPGR]
  • What have been the consequences of Canada’s existing drug policies? Evidence suggests that they have had a negative impact on both the criminal justice system and people with drug addictions. Harpreet Sahota outlines the connections between the criminalization of drugs, racial discrimination, mental health, and stigma. [Sahota/PPGR]
  • What lessons can be learned from other countries in regard to drug policy? For one, the successes of the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal suggest that that might be a good step towards addressing the issues associated with drug-related HIV infections, Canada’s illegal drug market, and the high costs of the Canadian prison system. Cameron Bishop explains the economic and public health benefits of decriminalizing drugs. [Bishop/Policy Options]
  • The Canadian government has stepped up to properly examine how cannabis affects the body and brain. It has allocated millions of dollars for research grants to fund studies that will advance our understanding of both the risks and benefits of cannabis. Amanda Siebert explains how the legalization of cannabis in Canada has cleared the way for Canadians to stake a global claim in the emerging field of cannabis research. [Siebert/New York Times]

That’s it for us this week! Thanks for reading!

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