Toronto Public Health Requests Health and Safety Approach to Legalization

In a public release, Toronto Public Health revealed plans to present The Toronto Board of Health with a report on the public health approach to recreational cannabis regulation, that the group hopes will guide the federal government.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown said the report will urge the federal Liberals, currently overseeing the legalization of cannabis, to look at tobacco and alcohol as a base for any new regulations.

“This approach will help reduce potential health harms for the population as a whole,” said McKeown.

Toronto Public Health lists those potential harms as impaired driving, cancer-causing chemicals associated with cannabis smoke, poor respiratory health, mental health impacts and adolescent brain development.

“The approach to regulating non-medical cannabis that is being proposed to the Toronto Board of Health includes providing strong government regulatory control on availability and accessibility, setting a minimum purchase age, minimizing promotion, ensuring strong impaired driving policies, and restricting use in public places,” reads the release.

The report hopes to look at occasional and moderate cannabis users, as most available research has focused on frequent, chronic use and is asking the federal Ministry of Health to earmark funding for studies on the impact of cannabis these less frequent users.

Research from 2013 show 14 per cent of adults in Toronto use cannabis, with rates of use remaining stable at 13–19 per cent over the last 10 years.

The report will go to the Board of Health May 30 and on to City Council Jun. 7 before being sent to Ottawa.