Canada’s Premiers meet via conference call to discuss NAFTA and Cannabis

Specific outstanding concerns include the need for full resourcing for enforcement of impaired driving and public safety; implementation of immediate, comprehensive public education and awareness efforts; resolution of issues related to ticketable offences in federal legislation; and availability of adequate licit cannabis supply with full seed to sale tracking. Health Canada needs to increase its efforts in licensing suppliers. The report noted that in the absence of timely and appropriate resolution of these issues by the federal government, proceeding with implementation on the federal timeline could pose serious risks to achieving the federal government’s stated objectives for legalization, including protecting the health and safety of Canadians, preventing young people from accessing cannabis, and reducing the illicit market.

Premiers also discussed taxation arrangements and cost coverage. As Premiers conveyed to Prime Minister Trudeau at the October 3, 2017 First Ministers’ Meeting, provinces and territories will have much greater initial and ongoing costs associated with legalization of cannabis than the federal government. Provinces and territories need a more realistic approach to taxation that achieves the desired policy objectives and ensures that the substantial costs incurred by provinces and territories are recouped as a result of the federal government’s policy decision.

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