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Regulating the Legal Cannabis Market: How is Canada doing?

It’s been three and a half years since cannabis was legalized in Canada.

PHOTO: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
It’s been three and a half years since cannabis was legalized in Canada. How well are we doing from a public health standpoint, and what are some of the considerations for the future?
About this report

Legal cannabis markets can take many forms. Among jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis, some have chosen a commercial model while others have regulated legal cannabis in the interest of public health. With the Cannabis Act, passed in 2018, the Canadian government opted for the latter approach, while leaving many areas of regulation to the provinces and territories.

The Cannabis Act contains a requirement that the legislation be reviewed three years after it comes
into effect in order to assess its impact on public health. This report examines cannabis legislation and regulation across the country to determine the extent to which Canada’s model for legal cannabis is consistent with a public health approach. Overall, we find that Canada’s regulations are optimal in the area of advertising, marketing and promotion, adequate with respect to minimum age as well as tax and price, while some provinces and territories – especially those with private retail systems – have work to do around controlling availability. As various levels of government review their cannabis regulations in the months and years to come, policy  decisions should be made with public health as the primary and overriding criterion.


Check out our new report Regulating the Legal Cannabis Market:
How is Canada doing? to find out the highs and lows of legalization & regulation efforts so far:


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres in its field. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.


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