Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act – Final Report of the Expert Panel


Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act – Final Report of the Expert Panel

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This report was published by the Expert Panel to conduct the legislative review of the Cannabis Act.


In view of the wide-ranging impacts of the change from prohibition to legal, regulated access, Parliament established a requirement for the Cannabis Act (the Act) to be reviewed three (3) years after its coming into force.

In September 2022, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health appointed us as an independent Expert Panel to conduct a review. The mandate for the review, set out in section 151.1 of the Act, was to assess the administration and operation of the legislation, particularly:

  • impact of the Act on public health and, in particular, on the health and consumption habits of young persons with respect to cannabis use
  • impact of cannabis on Indigenous persons and communities
  • impact of the cultivation of cannabis plants in a dwelling-house

The Ministers also asked us to consider the following:

  • economic, social and environmental impacts of the Act
  • progress towards providing adults with access to strictly regulated, lower-risk, legal cannabis products
  • progress made in deterring criminal activity and displacing the illicit cannabis market
  • impact of legalization and regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes
  • impacts on Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities and women, who might be at greater risk of harm or face greater barriers to participation in the legal industry based on identity or socio-economic factors

Achieving the public health and public safety objectives of the Act requires a multi-faceted approach relying on several policy instruments. Most of our recommendations involve targeted changes to policies and regulations, and bolstering support for research, surveillance and enforcement. We also propose new initiatives related to prevention and enhanced consumer information.

We have limited our formal recommendations to areas within the mandate of the Government of Canada. However, given that responsibilities in some areas of cannabis control rest with other levels of government and that other actors play important roles (such as law enforcement and health care professionals), we have made some observations in areas outside the purview of the federal government.

Moving forward, it will be important for the Government of Canada to allocate appropriate funding and resources to ensure the effective implementation of the cannabis framework. This will need to include allocating resources in areas that did not initially receive dedicated funding, such as research on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and prevention and treatment programming. In some circumstances difficult decisions will need to be made about when, or the extent to which, our recommendations can be implemented. While some new investments may be required, we encourage all levels of government to consider how existing resources can be redirected, and to consider how cannabis fits into broader priorities (for example, investment in mental health and addictions services, prevention programs, consumer information, and research and surveillance).

Expert Panel to conduct the legislative review of the Cannabis Act. (2023). Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act – Final Report of the Expert Panel. Legislative Review Secretariat, Health Canada.

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