t’s now official: as of October 17, 2018, Canada will become the first G7 nation to legalize both medical and adult-use recreational cannabis. It’s a historic, disruptive and uncertain moment.
The Guardian newspaper recently pointed out that “all eyes” are now on Canada. Those eyes are watching to see how this public policy will be deployed and what the ripple effects will be on crime, health, consumer spending, public safety, job creation and more.
How legalization will roll out in Canada in the next 18 months will also have a significant impact on the rate and number of other countries following suit. The shift will have a series of implications, including decreasing prescription opioid use and helping end the disproportionate impact that criminalizing cannabis has on low-income communities and communities of colour. Furthermore, Canada’s bold cannabis policy has become linked to our global credibility, particularly as it relates to successfully undertaking significant policy shifts.
To increase the likelihood that legalizing cannabis will be successful, policy-makers, the cannabis industry and all those invested in the outcome of this legislation must come together to drive forward four urgent public conversations and changes. Support for legalization is fragile, and if public opinion turns sour, the political response is likely to be swift and damagingly prohibitive.
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