Canada: CD Howe Institute Publish Report Entitled A Blueprint For Federal and Provincial Marijuana Policy

20 April 2016

Here’s their summary

“I believe that our governments’ priority should be the protection of public health and the elimination of existing and future black markets. Other concerns, such as raising as much provincial and federal tax revenue as possible, should be considered secondary,” commented Sen.  “For this reason, our governments should learn from the experience of regulating tobacco, which has a thriving black market, so that they avoid a repeat of this experience.”

The author makes the following recommendations for an efficient and sustainable framework for legalized marijuana:

  1. Responsibility for defining production and supply regulations and permissible limits of marijuana consumption should be with the federal government, for the same reason that Health Canada regulates other drugs and food safety. This would enable efficient monitoring and facilitate the implementation of policies that might be necessary to regulate supply. As with tobacco, the federal government should establish penalties for illegal trafficking and production, while provinces should have discretion over setting penalties for the purchase and sale of marijuana to minors.
  2. Provinces should design their own distribution systems with the primary objective being protecting public health and limiting black market sales, and the secondary objective being preventing uncompetitive concentration of suppliers.
  3. Both federal and provincial governments may levy sales taxes of various types on marijuana: the federal government should focus on suppliers and the provinces should focus on retailers.
  4. The federal government should consider pardoning individuals who have been convicted for illegal possession but who have otherwise not been convicted or charged for any other Criminal Code offence.

Sen concludes: “A smart division of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments will help ensure that legalization of marijuana in Canada is a public policy success.”

Here’s the full report


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