CMHA Ontario’s recommendations for a public health approach to the legalization and regulation of cannabis has received significant national and province-wide media exposure. The paper was made public on August 14, 2017.
The recommendations were released as part of a report created for the Ontario government as the province considers the federal plan to legalize cannabis by July 2018. In the report, CMHA Ontario recommends:
- All cannabis-related revenue should be earmarked to fund mental health and addictions services, public awareness campaigns, research and enforcement issues.
- Further research is necessary to have an accurate understanding of the links between cannabis use, mental health and addictions.
- Enhanced access to mental health and addictions treatment, specifically for youth and heavy-cannabis users.
- Zero tolerance for cannabis use by drivers and passengers in motorized vehicles.
- Education for those that distribute cannabis to consumers through a Cannabis Card program, like Ontario’s Smart Serve program.
- The minimum age to purchase cannabis should be 19, the same as the drinking age in Ontario.
- Strict rules on advertising and marketing cannabis products, like current restrictions on tobacco products.
- Cannabis laws be consistent with existing legislation, such as the Liquor License Act and the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which govern where Ontarians can drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
“The risk is that legalization of cannabis may lead to an increase in use among Ontarians,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “When taken together our recommendations can minimize the harms associated with cannabis use and support a public health approach to this issue.”
The report was covered by CTV News Channel and 14 CBC Radio stations nationwide. Regional or local Ontario media coverage included:
- The Toronto Star
- The Toronto Sun
- CP24 (Toronto)
- AM1010 (Toronto)
- AM1310 (Ottawa)
- AM 980 (London)
- CTV Toronto News
- CBC Ontario Morning
- CBC’s All in a Day (Ottawa)
- Global News (Kingston)
The report also generated a significant amount of discussion online. To read more about CMHA Ontario’s recommendations, download the full report.