The task force is charged with making recommendations to the government ahead of proposed legislation to be introduced this coming Spring. Tousaw said the task force, which he met with this past Friday, will first submit the recommendations to MP Bill Blair, who will then deliver them to the government with his own comments.
Tousaw said his meeting was based about the five areas covered in the government’s public discussion paper, which allowed for public feedback to be submitted up to the end of August. Tousaw said around 30,000 submissions were received from the public.
Tousaw said he believes legalization will result in a system that includes many points that the public don’t agree with and room for improvement.
“I also believe, as does the [task force], that whatever legalization looks like on day one will not be the end of the matter and that changes over time are almost inevitable,” he wrote.
During his time in front of the task force, Tousaw said he stated that the new system needs to be inclusive of all Canadians.
“A cannabis related criminal record should not be any barrier to participation,” Tousaw suggested, along with the points that, “legacy producers and distributors need to be included, that nobody under an age limit should ever have criminal charges arising from cannabis, that possession and plant limits are illogical and should not exist, that home production is a necessity and that there must be a separate medical system at least for home production.”
Tousaw said he experienced almost total agreement from the group on his points, and that the task force noted that their meetings with representatives from British Columbia were “very good and that they learned a lot throughout this process.
“They also made clear that different parts of the country look at this issue very differently from each other,” and that “they made clear that this was about how to legalize not whether to legalize.”
Tousaw speculated that production in the new system will be controlled at the federal level, but distribution will be controlled by the provincial governments.
“This means that provincial politicians need to be courted, educated and lobbied for the distribution system or systems that will be created,” he wrote. “It also means that the current ACMPR producers are very likely to be allowed to participate in the new regime.”
Tousaw said it shouldn’t come as a surprise that licensed producers will be allowed to supply the recreational market and that the licensing process through Health Canada needs to be streamlined to allow producers to move through the system without unnecessary obstacles.
The task force is expected to present their findings to the government in November.