In connection with the upcoming legalization of cannabis, Health Canada recently engaged in a public consultation about regulations governing commercial production and sale. A copy of the consultation document can be found here. The submission of Tousaw Law Corporation is here [PDF]. Excerpt below:
“Thank you for the opportunity to make submissions on the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.
By way of background, I have practiced law in Canada since 2005. The focus of my practice is cannabis related issues including representing those charged with CDSA offences and, more recently, regulatory compliance inside and outside the ACMPR. I act for more than 100 storefront dispensary locations across Canada, a large number of medical cannabis producers (personal and designated) and persons and companies making various forms of cannabis derivative products. I have appeared before courts at all levels, including successfully before the Supreme Court of Canada.
I congratulate the Government of Canada on moving toward legalization and have previously provided my comments on Bill C45. I believe the Proposed Approach moves Canada considerably in the right direction and look forward to a day when no Canadian faces the prospect of arrest or incarceration solely for cannabis-related activity.
I wish to underscore that the primary reason to end cannabis prohibition is that in a free and democratic society it is unconscionable to impose criminal sanction on persons who wish to grow and possess cannabis. Cannabis is a relatively harmless, and often beneficial, plant that has been used by humans for millennia with minimal negative effect. The recent 100-year failed experiment of cannabis prohibition has, unfortunately, created a great deal of unjustified stigma; this stigma negatively affects all facets of the social, legal and political discussions about cannabis and cannabis policy. Unfortunately, Bill C45 and some aspects of the Proposed Approach continue to treat cannabis through the lens of criminal law, with profound effect on the regulatory approach. As our approach to cannabis evolves it will be critical to continue to challenge the incorrect assumptions about cannabis – and human behavior – so that our policies evolve away from their grounding in prohibition.
A secondary reason is to end cannabis prohibition is to provide an easy transition for persons who have been pioneering the cannabis industry and providing Canadians with reasonable and dignified access to cannabis. An easy pathway to legality and licensing will have the effect of reducing the already small influence of organized crime on the cannabis industry and, more importantly, will legitimize those Canadians who currently grow and sell cannabis to adult consumers. Further, a sensible regulatory approach will allow the existing cannabis industry to continue to grow, providing jobs and careers for many Canadians.”
Download full text [PDF]