Item - 2017.HL20.3
- This item was considered by Board of Health on June 12, 2017 and was adopted with amendments.
HL20.3 - Legal Access to Non-Medical Cannabis: Approaches to Protect Health and Minimize Harms of Use
- Decision Type:
The Board of Health:
1. Requested the Government of Canada to:
a. Immediately decriminalize the possession of non-medical cannabis for personal use until legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis comes into force;
b. Require comprehensive “plain packaging” rules for all cannabis product packaging and labelling as are currently being proposed in federal Bill S-5 - An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers' Health;
c. Establish measures for cannabis law enforcement such as equity training, to ensure fair treatment of population groups disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system;
d. Strengthen regulations on marketing and promotion of cannabis with more comprehensive prohibitions that address advertising in movies, video games and other media accessible to youth; and
e. Regulate edible forms of cannabis as per the recommendations made by the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.
2. Requested the Province of Ontario to:
a. Set the minimum age of purchase for cannabis at 19 years of age to align with the minimum age for legal purchase of alcohol in Ontario;
b. Establish a provincially-controlled agency for the retail sale and distribution of non-medical cannabis, separate from that for alcohol, and establish a comprehensive social responsibility program;
c. Prohibit smoking and vaping of cannabis in public places in alignment with restrictions on tobacco use in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act;
d. Prohibit cannabis use in motor vehicles similar to restrictions on liquor use in motor vehicles in the Liquor Licence Act;
e. Establish requirements for cannabis law enforcement, such as equity training, to ensure fair treatment of population groups disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system; and
f. Conduct formal consultations with municipalities and local public health agencies in the development of provincial legislation related to non-medical cannabis.
3. Forwarded the report (May 29, 2017) from the Medical Officer of Health to the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health, the Urban Public Health Network, the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, Canadian Public Health Association, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Public Health Association, the federal Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat, the Ontario Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat, Toronto Police Services Board, the public and separate English and French school boards, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, for information.
Decision Advice and Other Information
The Board of Health:
1. Requested the Medical Officer of Health to review the provincial consultation results and ensure the process has allowed input from community groups that serve vulnerable racialized, equity seeking groups to ensure a fair and equitable regulation of cannabis for personal use.
2. Requested the Medical Officer of Health to report to the Board of Health by the first quarter of 2018 with an update on the public health education and messaging strategy to be undertaken and other issues that may arise.
Dr. Eileen De Villa, Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto, gave a presentation on Legal Access to Non-Medical Cannabis: Approaches to Protect Health and Reduce Harms of Use.
The Government of Canada, on April 13, 2017, introduced two pieces of legislation related to legalizing and regulating non-medical cannabis with the intent of bringing the legislation into force by July 2018. Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) and Bill C-37 (amendments to the Criminal Code) intend to restrict youth access to cannabis and regulate the production, distribution and sale of cannabis.
Under the proposed legislation, the federal government will be responsible for the production of cannabis, and the provincial and territorial governments are responsible for developing, implementing, maintaining and enforcing systems to oversee the distribution and retail sale of cannabis. The provinces may develop legislation requiring additional conditions on matters such as use in public places, growing cannabis at home, minimum age of purchase, and drug-impaired driving.
Toronto Public Health supports a public health approach to the legalization and regulation of non-medical cannabis. The purpose of this report is to bring a public health analysis to the proposed legislation and to recommend measures that can be taken to further protect health and minimize the harms of cannabis use when developing the legislative framework for non-medical cannabis. This report is only focused on non-medical cannabis as a separate regulatory system is already in place for medical cannabis.
Attachment 1: Summary of the Proposed Federal Legislation for the Legalization and Regulation of Non-Medical Cannabis
(May 29, 2017) Report from the Medical Officer of Health on Legal Access to Non-Medical Cannabis: Approaches to Protect Health and Minimize Harms of Use
(June 12, 2017) Presentation from the Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health, on Legal Access to Non-Medical Cannabis: Approaches to Protect Health and Reduce Harms of Use
(June 9, 2017) E-mail from Garry McLay (HL.New.HL20.3.2)
(June 9, 2017) Letter from Jean-François Crépault, Senior Policy Analyst, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (HL.New.HL20.3.3)
(June 9, 2017) Submission from Derek Moran (HL.New.HL20.3.4)
Carl Braund, Medicinal Cannabis Patient and Advocate
Joanne Di Nardo, Senior Manager Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society
That the Medical Officer of Health review the provincial consultation results and ensure the process has allowed in put from community groups that serve vulnerable racialized, equity seeking groups to ensure a fair and equitable regulation of cannabis for personal use.
That Recommendation 3 in the report (May 29, 2017) from the Medical Officer of Health be amended to add Toronto Police Services Board, the public and separate English and French school boards, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards.
That the Medical Officer of Health report to the Board of Health by first quarter of 2018 with an update on the public health education and messaging strategy to be undertaken and other issues that may arise.