Health Canada Pushes Back Against Indigenous Call For Further Consultation: 'The Current System Is Not Working'

Some Indigenous communities in Canada have been calling for a delay of the incoming legalization of cannabis. They claim that the Canadian government didn't properly consult them before drafting the legislation, but Health Canada is pushing back.

The standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples has called for cannabis legalization to be delayed in Canada until Indigenous communities are properly consulted on the matter. They have concerns with potential increases in substance abuse problems which are already prevalent in many of their communities. Additionally, they are seeking ways of securing some of the economic benefits that will be generated from the new market.

Senator Scott Tannas, deputy chair of the committee, says many Indigenous communities simply aren't prepared to make the change yet.

"Representatives of Indigenous communities from across the country told us they are not ready," said Tannas. "We listened. The government should too."

But Health Canada is directly opposing the call for delay. They believe that any further delays to legalization will simply be putting children in danger.

"The current system is not working - Canada has some of the highest rates of youth use of cannabis, the illegal market is thriving and Canadians continue to be subject to criminal prosecution for possession of small amounts of cannabis," said Health Canada in a statement. "Delaying the legalization and regulation of cannabis would not change this."


Cannabis legalization does not lead to increased use by young people, according to a federally funded study. In fact, legal states have seen underage consumption decrease since repealing prohibition. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released the latest iteration of the regular Monitoring the Future survey, evaluating the drug habits of American eighth, tenth and twelfth graders.