Toward the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana: Discussion paper – 3. Elements of a new system

3. Discussion Issues: Elements of a New System

In establishing a new regime for the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana, several of the regime's elements are largely self-evident:

  • Legalization of the possession of a certain quantity of marijuana obtained within a regulated legal framework, thereby addressing concerns about criminal records and burdens on the justice system for simple possession offences.
  • Establishment of a strict, well-regulated system for the production and distribution of marijuana, thereby addressing concerns about the quality, safety and potency of marijuana legally available, and the control of access for those eligible to possess it.
  • Continued enforcement of laws and sanctions against possession, production, and distribution of marijuana outside the regulated legal framework.
  • Support for prevention and education activities, addictions treatment, counselling, law enforcement and other services to deal with the negative aspects of marijuana use and abuse.
  • Education and awareness activities to ensure the risks of marijuana are known, particularly to youth.
  • Baseline data and ongoing surveillance and research activities to monitor and evaluate the impact of the new framework.

However, the design and implementation of a new regime will also require careful attention to a number of particularly challenging issues which can be grouped into five themes. The Government is seeking advice and input from experts and stakeholders as well as individual Canadians in these areas:

  1. Minimizing harms of use.
  2. Establishing a safe and responsible production system
  3. Designing an appropriate distribution system.
  4. Enforcing public safety and protection.
  5. Accessing marijuana for medical purposes.

The discussion below sets out for each of these five themes:

  • Considerations: A synopsis of pertinent facts, concepts and factors that will shape and influence the new regime.
  • Possible Options: Key potential elements and provisions of the new regime to achieve the desired objectives.
  • Questions: Specific issues and concerns on which the Task Force is seeking ideas and input from provinces, territories, experts, stakeholder groups and the broader public.

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