Canadian Cannabis Legalization Hearings Happening in Parliament Right Now

Canadian Cannabis Legalization Hearings Happening in Parliament Right Now

Pixabay / rexmedlen / CC0 Creative Commons

Parliament Hashing Out Canadian Cannabis Legalization

On Sept. 11, 2017, Canada’s House of Commons health committee returned to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to begin the first of five full-day hearings on Canadian cannabis legalization.

Leading up to this week’s hearings, the health committee received more than 102 submissions to consider as a part of its legalization discussion, plus more than 60 people are scheduled to testify during the five full-day hearings.

Each day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT and will be livestreamed via ParlVU.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation on April 13, 2017, to legalize recreational cannabis in Canada by July 2018.

The health committee’s hearings are a part of the Parliamentary review process and the committee could make recommendations on how to revise the legislation for Canadian cannabis legalization. You’ll find a breakdown of this week’s hearings below.


On Sept. 11, the health committee is focusing its discussion on federal, provincial and territorial responsibilities; industry perspectives and justice and public safety.

Witnesses for the morning session included representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Justice, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among others.

In the afternoon, the committee will hear from the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, Canadian Pharmacists Association, Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, Cannabis Canada Association, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Medical Association, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Vancouver Police Department.


On Sept. 12, the health committee will open with the issue of justice and public safety and close out the day with discussion on other jurisdictions’ experiences.

Witnesses for the justice and public safety panel include representatives from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Saskatoon Police Service, Barreau du Québec and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

In the afternoon, the committee will hear from American voices, including Sam Kamin, Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy, University of Denver; Michael Hartman, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue; Rick Garza, Director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board; Kristi Weeks, Government Relations Director of the Washington State Department of Health.

Advocates should also note that Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, is scheduled to testify sometime between 4-6 p.m. Sabet is an outspoken opponent of legalization.


The health committee will shift its focus on Sept. 13 to discuss home grows, legal age of possession and the impacts of legalization on minors, as well as issues of prevention, treatment and low-risk use.

Witnesses on the aforementioned topics include representatives from Anandia Labs, the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Paediatric Society, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, Drug Free Kids Canada, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the City of Toronto, among others.


On Sept. 14, the health committee will continue its discussion on prevention, treatment, and low-risk use, as well as address workplace safety, indigenous communities, labeling and packaging.

Representatives from the following organizations are scheduled to testify: Canadian Nurses Association, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Brazeau Seller LLP, Department of Employment and Social Development, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Métis Nation British Columbia, Métis National Council and Non-Smokers’ Rights Association.


On Sept. 15, the fifth and final day of hearings, the health committee will tackle Canadian cannabis legalization as it relates to edible products, medicinal marijuana, municipalities and international considerations.

The panel on edible products will hear testimony from Ryan Vandrey, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Daniel Vigil, Manager, Marijuana Health Monitoring and Research at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; and Dana Larsen, Director of Sensible BC.

The BC Compassion Club Society and the Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana will testify on the medicinal marijuana panel.

The panel on municipalities will hear from representatives of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as Cannabis Culture’s Marc and Jodie Emery.

The Canada Border Services Agency, the RAND Drug Policy Research Centre and the Tousaw Law Corporation will testify on the international considerations panel.

Caroline Cahill was the Managing Editor of MJINews from June 2014 through February 2018. She earned her BA in Communications from College of Charleston and her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. You can follow her on Twitter @CtheresaC.

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