Cannabis legalization task force tables final report

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair listens to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau respond to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday April 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair listens to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau respond to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday April 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The good news is the nine-member federal task force tasked with telling Trudeau the best way to move forward with the legalization of recreational cannabis has been finished their final report.The bad news is it will be a few more days or even weeks until their recommendations are made public.“Our report is now being translated, and will be provided to Ministers and the public once it is available in both official languages,” wrote task force chair Anne McLellan and vice-chair Mark Ware in a prepared statement announcing the completion of the project. “Translation is expected to be complete in mid-December. The final report will then be received by Ministers and posted online at Canada.ca/Health.”

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation was created by the ministers of justice, public safety and health last summer to consult with Canadians and give advice on how to meet the Liberal government’s promise to legalize and regulate cannabis. They received nearly 30,000 responses to an online questionnaires and almost met with representatives of provincial and territorial governments.

Experts consulted included researchers and academics, medical patients and their advocates, cannabis consumers, chiefs of police and fire departments, municipal and local government officials, as well as numerous industry, professional and health associations. Indigenous experts, representative organizations, governments and elders were also consulted, including the expert roundtables, bilateral meetings and an Indigenous people’s roundtable.

The group led by former Toronto police chief Bill Blair – which also included University of Victoria professor Susan Boyd, former Vancouver city councilor George Chow, Superintendent Marlene Jesso, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall, former RCMP drugs and organized crime specialist Rafik Souccar and addictions expert Catherine Zahn –  visited Colorado and Washington states, two of the first U.S. states where cannabis use is legal, as well as speaking with representatives from Uruguay, which so far is the only nation to have a regulatory system for legal access to cannabis.