CAMH's 2014 Policy Framework on Cannabis
This is the fifth in a series of posts on cannabis reform Bill C-45, which is designed to legalize and strictly regulate the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis in Canada.
Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) finds that “Legalization, combined with strict health-focused regulation, provides an opportunity to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use.”
CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. Its research and advice carries a lot of weight.
CAMH’s 2014 Cannabis Policy Framework offers the following conclusions and advice, most which touch on areas under active discussion in the Senate of Canada’s review of cannabis reform Bill C-45:
- Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world – especially among 15 – 24 year olds.
- Prohibition has not succeeded in deterring cannabis use.
- Cannabis related harm is mainly concentrated among a limited sub-group of users who use cannabis heavily, and/or began to use it at an early age.
- Legalization, combined with strict health-focused regulation, provides an opportunity to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use.
- Cannabis use alone does not increase the likelihood that a person will progress to using other illegal substances. (It is not a “gateway” drug).
- The risks and harms of cannabis are lower than those of tobacco or alcohol.
- Cannabis can and should be separated from illicit drug markets in which users are exposed to other (more dangerous) illegal drugs.
- The resources spent enforcing laws against personal cannabis use are better allocated elsewhere.
- Some observers fear that legalization would “send the wrong message” about the risks of cannabis. But rates of cannabis use in Canada suggest that youth are not getting the “right” message. Despite prohibition, 23% of high school students and 40% of young adults used cannabis in 2013.
CAMH has developed “Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines” for public education and harm reduction. See the guidelines here: https://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/reports_and_books/Documents/LRCUG.KT.Professional.15June2017.pdf
See the full Cannabis Policy Framework here.