Policy Team

The goal of NICHE is to identify and address regulatory, economic and social policy changes coinciding with the implementation of the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada. We engage with all levels of government to help prepare for and anticipate these changes, to allow for a seamless and productive transition as possible for all Canadians.

 

As Canada takes on this historic task—a first in the world on this scale—we have the opportunity to cultivate and steward an existing and expanding body of knowledge, from production methods to medical applications, and from federal regulations to provincial, territorial and municipal enforcement.

Some key policy ideas NICHE is currently exploring:

  • Workplace safety: addressing employer and employee concerns in a post-legalized Canada. Older 'zero-tolerance' ideas for drug testing may no longer be a feasible policy for many employers.

  • Minimum age of use/purchase: the Task Force recommends an age limit of at least 18. Many provinces may choose to mirror the minimum age for alcohol, either 18 or 19, while some concerned parents and physicians have suggested as high as 25.

  • Distribution and sale: how these responsibilities are managed between the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments.

  • Tax levels and distribution: ensuring tax levels are not too high, to allow legal cannabis to compete with the black market, while also working with municipalities and provinces to ensure tax revenue is directed to those jurisdictions responsible for managing and enforcing where and how cannabis is distributed and sold.

  • Public education: working with all levels of government to create effective communication and messaging around the benefits and harms of cannabis. The reefer madness approach has lost credibility, and the government must fund creative, engaging, and credible public health campaigns based on credible research and evidence.

  • Encouraging and supporting research: in order to effectively execute messaging around the harms and benefits of cannabis, more in depth and unbiased research is needed.

  • Encouraging participation in the new, legal regime from all stakeholders: for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada to succeed, the government must find ways to engage the existing illicit cannabis industry and encourage them to find ways to participate iin a new, highly-regulated regime. Clear communication of the boundaries around what is and isn't legal is important, as is opening up avenues for a broad cross-section of Canadians to have the opportunity to participate in a legal, regulated regime.

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