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The world to our doorstep: pending cannabis legalization an opportunity for Canada

by James Wilson
in Governance, Health, ONLINE FEATURE

The pending legalization of recreational cannabis is on the horizon, and it is already causing significant controversy in communities across the country. However, as Cam Battley of Aurora Cannabis and Ethan Bayne from Alberta Cannabis Secretariat point out, “We’re not inventing cannabis use.” The reality is that there is already a burgeoning market for cannabis and cannabis products, and legalization will help to bring it into the daylight. Strong regulations to manage public safety and public health, and keep the product out of the hands of minors, can form the foundation of a strong new system, with financial benefits for industry and government.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues that need to be addressed by all orders of government. Municipalities have a wide array of by-laws to consider and implement, and are going to be impacted by factors beyond their control. Decisions are going to need to be made and tweaked on the fly – because a complex industry is being created literally in real time.

That said, the world is moving toward large-scale legalization – while countries such as Portugal have already taken steps, there are several countries that are still taking tentative steps … and Canada has the opportunity to be a global leader, developing and sharing public policy expertise across the globe. It will take hard work, and collaboration as we develop the model, but the results will be well worth it. MW

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