• Daniel Demers

Getting Ready for Legalization – There is Help

With governments, and organizations that work with them scrambling to prepare for the impact of legalization, it is important to know that there are resources available to help them understand the impacts of legalization and how to address the challenges they face.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) report – Cannabis Legalization Primer – how municipalities can get ready - provides a valuable guide for municipalities to help them prepare for program and bylaw changes, budget and human resource impacts and how to work with those affected in their communities.

The Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) continues to be a great source of information on the impacts seen in the United States and provides some lessons learned and best practices that are a great touch point for any organization. Last month they release a new document on Cannabis which addresses many of the questions that Canadians have about its use and impact.

Some of the best work done to date on preparing for the impacts of legalization is the Federal Task Force report and the supporting documents that were released last December – though it seems much longer ago. The Task Force report provides observations and recommendations on a wide range of issues which should serve as a framework for action by governments, industry and the public in the critical period leading up to legalization.

One of the strongest recommendations from the Task Force which is often overlooked was that the Federal Government should proactively support information sharing across jurisdictions and between organizations. Given that Canada is the first major country to legalize recreational cannabis we are charting new ground and sharing information and best practices as we proceed with be critical.

In coming months there will be an intensification of the debate between those seeking to expand and those seeking to restrict access to cannabis across Canada. While this debate is critical so too is discussing and implementing the changes in laws, regulations, policies and programs of governments at all levels that will have to be in place in just ten months.

How well we work together in the months ahead to share information will not only determine the impact of legalization on individuals and communities next year but also the evolution of legalization over the next several years.

The documents referenced in this article and many more can be found on the NICHE Canada website in the resources section.