Did you know that Canada’s Federal Government is set to introduce legislation on Cannabis legalization this Spring? ? Did you know that Canada was the first country to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2001?

Here is a quick overview:

  • Since 2001, medical Cannabis has been legally accessible to patients deemed in need under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulation (MMAR) program.
  • In 2014, medical Cannabis production was authorized to licensed producers, which greatly facilitated access to Cannabis under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) program.
  • In 2015, what was acceptable as ‘medical cannabis’ increased to include any form of marijuana (such as marijuana brownies, teas and oils)
  • In September 30th, 2016, Health Canada stated that over 98,400 Canadians are enrolled in the medical marijuana program and hence have obtained an authorization to possess cannabis for medical purposes

Which brings us to April 2017. The legislation has not yet been released (since it is only March), but recommendations from a Federal Task Force suggest that Canadians will have easier access to Cannabis as long as they are of a certain age and use it responsibly.

As you can imagine, legalizing Cannabis for recreational use will certainly impact the many Canadians who enjoy Marijuana. It will also slowly remove much of the stigma around ‘smoking a joint.’ Think back to stories about the Prohibition era of the early 1900s and the changes society experienced when alcohol was legally available. That story line is still playing out, such as the newspaper headlines about selling wine in grocery stores.

But who sits on a pub deck enjoying a beer in the sun and worries about what people will think? We know things take time, and society’s acceptance of the Cannabis legislation will take time, but it is time that this legislation was passed.

Which brings me to all the questions people have about the Cannabis legislation on Legalization. At the Cannabis Hemp Conference and Expo, a group of experts will come together to clarify, discuss, debate and challenge the Cannabis legalization initiative post April 2017. Some of the questions which will be discussed include:

  • How will the Cannabis laws change with the new legislature for legalization?
  • What can we learn from the USA legalization initiatives?
  • What is the public health approach to cannabis legalization?
  • How can Cannabis be de-stigmatized in the mainstream medical community?
  • Will Canadians be able to grow their own Cannabis?

Simple questions, complex questions – simple answers to speculations. I am sure you don’t want to miss your chance to be part of this discussion.

Here are the presentations specifically aimed to discussing the Cannabis legislation. You will want to note these. That said, since CHCE 2017 occurs just weeks after the proposed legislation’s release, it will be THE topic of discussion at the Conference and Expo, over coffee, on the bus heading to the Nest at UBC…

Patient Access and Patient Care Panel
David Hutchinson, Dr. Bryn Hyndman, Andrew Gordon
Moderator: David Remillard

Legalization and Public Activism Panel
Mark Haden, John Conroy, Mark Haden, Jamie Shaw, Robert W.E. Laurie, David Malmo-Levine
Moderator: Jamie Shaw

Medicinal Use of Cannabis Panel
Dr. Ethan Russo, Dr. Natasha Ryz, Dr. Zach Walsh
If you are looking for more information on the legalization of Cannabis before attending CHCE 2017 so that you can come prepared with questions and comments, I suggest:

  • Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis, the Government of Canada
  • Current Marijuana Laws, Department of Justice
  • Is Marijuana Legal in Canada, the Green Doctor Network (provides an easy-to-read overview of Canada’s legalization history)

We are entering very exciting times as Canada paves the way in Cannabis-related public health policy, research, education, business and environmental sustainability.

I look forward to seeing you at CHCE 2017 and continuing the dialogue for healing, self-care, wellness and liberty.