Ottawa – Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health issued the following statement about the Cannabis Act:
On this day in 2018, the Cannabis Act came into force, putting in place a new, strictly regulated framework for controlling the sale, possession, production and distribution of legalized and regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.
Since this time, the Government of Canada has implemented a robust public health approach to help keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and to help ensure adults have access to a quality-controlled and regulated supply, while reducing the scope and scale of the illicit market.
The Cannabis Act has two important and critical objectives: first, it protects the health and safety of Canadians while serving as a flexible legislative framework that adapts and responds to the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians; second, it provides for the establishment of a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of small and large players to displace the illicit market.
In the short time since legalization, more and more Canadians who consume cannabis are choosing to buy cannabis from legal retailers– according to the 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey, 53% reported a legal storefront as their usual source, an increase from 41% in 2020.
Public education efforts play an important role in protecting the health and safety of Canadians, especially youth. We will continue to equip Canadians with trusted information about how to identify legal cannabis and lower their risk if they choose to consume.
To ensure the functioning of the Cannabis Act is continuously improving, Health Canada has launched an independent review of the legislation to examine the progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives, and to help identify priority areas for improvement. An Expert Panel, chaired by Mr. Morris Rosenberg, will lead this credible and inclusive review.
As an initial step, an online engagement process has been launched and is open to all Canadians. We encourage you to read Taking Stock of Progress: Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in Canada and to share your views via the online questionnaire or through written feedback until November 21, 2022.
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are also invited to read and provide feedback by November 21, 2022, on the Summary from Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
As we look to the future, the Government of Canada will continue to provide clear, consistent and evidence-based information on the health and safety effects of cannabis use to people across the country, so they can better understand the risks and make more informed choices.
Jean-Yves Duclos, PC, MP
Carolyn Bennett, PC, MP