Terms of Reference

Context

In its December 2015 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada reaffirmed its commitment to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana”. A commitment has been made to create a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial sales taxes applied, both to prevent youth from accessing marijuana and to curtail the illegal marijuana market that is benefitting organized crime. A commitment was also made to punish more severely those who provide marijuana to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.  

To inform the design of a new system, engagement with provinces and territories, as well as key experts, is essential. To carry out this work, the Ministers of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Health (the Ministers) are creating a Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation (the Task Force).

Purpose

The Task Force will, on the basis of a discussion paper:

  • Engage provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, Indigenous governments and representative organizations, youth, and experts in relevant fields, including but not limited to: public health, substance abuse, criminal justice, law enforcement, economics, and industry and those groups with expertise in production, distribution and sales, to seek their views on issues that are fundamental to a legislative and regulatory system for restricted access to marijuana;
  • Provide opportunities for all Canadians to provide their input and views on key questions related to the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana through an online questionnaire and written submissions; and
  • Provide a final report to the Government, which will provide advice for the design of a new legislative and regulatory framework for restricted access to marijuana.

Scope

The Task Force will consult on issues fundamental to the design of a new legislative and regulatory system for restricted access to marijuana. A discussion paper, which includes background information and key questions, will provide a starting point for these consultations.

The Task Force's work will be guided by the following federal objectives:

  • Protect young Canadians by keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and youth.
  • Keep profits out of the hands of criminals, particularly organized crime.
  • Reduce the burdens on police and the justice system associated with simple possession of marijuana offences.
  • Prevent Canadians from entering the criminal justice system and receiving criminal records for simple possession of marijuana offences.
  • Protect public health and safety by strengthening, where appropriate, laws and enforcement measures that deter and punish more serious marijuana offences, particularly selling and distributing to children and youth, selling outside of the regulatory framework, and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Ensure Canadians are well-informed through sustained and appropriate public health campaigns, and for youth in particular, ensure that risks are understood.  
  • Establish and enforce a system of strict production, distribution and sales, taking a public health approach, with regulation of quality and safety (e.g., child-proof packaging, warning labels), restriction of access, and application of taxes, with programmatic support for addiction treatment, mental health support and education programs.
  • Continue to provide access to quality-controlled marijuana for medical purposes consistent with federal policy and Court decisions.
  • Conduct ongoing data collection, including gathering baseline data, to monitor the impact of the new framework.

In carrying out its mandate, the Task Force will be mindful of federal and provincial/territorial jurisdictions.

Public Engagement

In-person sessions

The Task Force will hold targeted face-to-face engagement sessions with key stakeholders across Canada, including:

  • Provincial, territorial and municipal governments;
  • Experts in relevant fields, including but not limited to: public health, substance abuse, criminal justice, law enforcement, economics, and industry and those groups with expertise in production, distribution and sales;
  • Indigenous governments and representative organizations; and
  • Youth.

Online consultations

The Task Force will also provide an opportunity for Canadians to provide their views on the key questions related to the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana through an online consultation portal and/or written submissions. 

Timeline

The Task Force will present a final report, which provides advice on the design of a new legislative and regulatory framework, to the Ministers in November 2016. The final report will be made public by the Ministers at a time to be determined by the Ministers.

Date modified: