Government of Canada moves forward on marijuana legalization and regulation

Task force and public consultation to inform creation of a new system that will protect and inform Canadians

(June 30, 2016, Ottawa, ON) – Today, Canada is taking an important step towards legalizing, strictly regulating and restricting access to marijuana, working to ensure marijuana is kept out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals.

The Government of Canada launched a task force and public consultation that will inform the creation of a new system. The government also released a discussion paper that outlines key areas where expertise and public input are required.

The Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, chaired by the Honourable Anne McLellan and vice-chaired by Dr. Mark Ware, is made up of nine distinguished experts in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice. Over the coming weeks and months, the Task Force will meet with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and experts in relevant fields, including: public health, substance abuse, criminal justice, law enforcement, economics, industry and those with expertise in production, sales and distribution. The Task Force will also engage representatives from Indigenous governments and organizations, as well as young Canadians.

Public consultation

In addition, all Canadians will have an opportunity to share their views on the design of this new system at until August 29, 2016. The public consultation will seek input on all the key areas of inquiry for the Task Force, including effective prevention and harm reduction, ensuring safe and responsible production, and enforcing public safety.

Quick Facts

  • The Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation will consult with Canadians and experts to provide information to the Government that will help inform the design of a new legislative system. Their report will be presented to Ministers in November 2016. The final report will be made public by the Ministers once they have had the opportunity to consider its advice.
  • The illegal marijuana industry is estimated at $7 billion per year--which costs governments $2.3 billion to enforce.
  • Canada has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world among children and youth.
  • The Discussion Paper sets out the objectives of the new system for restricted access to marijuana, and identifies specific issues and options for which the Government is seeking Canadians' views.\
  • The Government of Canada has committed to introducing legislation on the legalization and strict regulation of marijuana in the spring of 2017. The legislation will come into effect once the regulations are developed and brought into force. The creation of the Task Force is a first step.
  • Until new legislation comes into effect, the current laws and rules remain in place.

See the original June 30 news release for more details, including:

  • Biographies of Task Force members
  • Task Force Terms of Reference
  • Statement on Current Marijuana Laws