Public Health and Safety in Legalization of Cannabis
Premiers remain focused on protecting public health and safety and reducing the illicit market as the legalization of cannabis by the federal government proceeds in Canada.
Premiers are committed to supporting an effective transition towards cannabis legalization and will continue to collaborate and share information to achieve this goal. Provinces and Territories have made considerable progress in developing cannabis distribution, retail and oversight mechanisms under very tight federal timelines. Provinces and territories are responsible for significant aspects of this complex undertaking and are incurring substantial costs as a direct result of the federal government’s decision.
As Provinces and Territories continue to work toward the October 17, 2018 legalization date, determined by the federal government, Premiers stressed the need for the federal government to address several outstanding concerns to support the orderly implementation of cannabis legalization:
- Commit to fully addressing ongoing provincial and territorial resource requirements for drug-impaired driving enforcement, and expedite the approval of oral fluid screening devices to allow adequate time for procurement and training ahead of legalization;
- Enhance collaboration with Provinces and Territories to ensure an effective seed-to-sale cannabis tracking system, with clarity on system governance;
- Increase federal funding for aligned public education and awareness efforts to reduce negative outcomes related to cannabis use, such as vehicle and equipment-related accidents and preventable health consequences, particularly among young Canadians and their parents. This should also include ongoing and appropriate resource coordination and support for Provinces and Territories, including the timely sharing of public education and awareness materials;
- Respect provincial-territorial jurisdiction with regard to regulatory decisions, including additional limitations on home cultivation; and
- Ensure full flexibility for provincial and territorial governments to design appropriate age-verification mechanisms for online promotions, sales, and retail models that fit specific provincial/territorial circumstances, including remoteness.
Non-port of Entry Border Crossers
Premiers discussed the increased number of individuals crossing the border outside of regular ports of entry, and how this has put pressure on shelters, housing, education, health care, language training and other support services in impacted jurisdictions.
Premiers call on the federal government to provide full compensation to affected provinces for the costs incurred. They also urged the federal government to make the necessary investments to ensure the timely adjudication of refugee claimant hearings and expedited processing of all immigration applications into Canada.
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