The federal Liberal government is expected to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in two weeks’ time. Last November, a federal task force led by former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan issued a report on how best to do it.
Here are some highlights from the McLellan report:
- Allow storefront and mail-order sales to people 18 and older, with personal growing limits of four plants per person and a 30-gram limit on personal possession. Allow the provinces to harmonize the minimum age with the minimum age for the purchase of alcohol.
- Have the wholesale distribution of cannabis regulated by provinces and territories and ensure retail sales are regulated by the provinces and territories in close collaboration with municipalities.
- Allow limited promotion in areas accessible by adults, similar to those restrictions under the Tobacco Act while requiring plain packaging for cannabis products that offers the following information: company name, strain name, price, amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and warnings and other labelling requirements.
- Prohibit any product deemed to be "appealing to children," including products that resemble or mimic familiar food items, are packaged to look like candy, or packaged in bright colours or with cartoon characters or other pictures or images that would appeal to children.
- Implement packaging rules for cannabis edibles with standardized, single servings, with a universal THC symbol, a maximum amount of THC per serving and per product.
- Prohibit mixed products, for example cannabis−infused alcoholic beverages or cannabis products with tobacco, nicotine or caffeine.
- Keep alcohol or tobacco and cannabis sales apart, wherever possible. When co-location cannot be avoided, appropriate safeguards must be put in place.
- Require storefronts to have well−trained, knowledgeable staff.
- Provide for dedicated places to consume cannabis such as cannabis lounges and tasting rooms, with safeguards to prevent the co−consumption with alcohol, prevent underage use, and protect health and safety.
- Conduct the necessary economic analysis to establish an approach to tax and price that balances health protection with the goal of reducing the illicit market.
- Work with existing federal, provincial and territorial bodies to better understand potential occupational health and safety issues related to cannabis impairment and facilitate the development of workplace impairment policies.