‘Go Slow,’ Says Leader of Task Force on Legalization of Pot in Canada

Article by Tonda MacCharles, The Toronto Star

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Anne McLellan, leader of the federal task force on how to legalize pot, says it’s critical that Canada “go slow” on reforming marijuana laws.

In an interview with the Star as the task force concluded public consultations and begins to winnow recommendations to government, McLellan said there are “important lessons” to be taken from places that have already loosened marijuana laws — chief among them to introduce change slowly.

“One of the things we have learned, or we have heard . . . , from states like Washington and Colorado . . . is take your time because it’s much harder to pull something back than it is to perhaps be a little bit more restrictive out of the box and then, as you learn, you maybe loosen things up a bit,” she said Monday.

The Canadian Medical Association has urged the task force to adopt a phased-in approach toward legalizing marijuana, including possibly starting with pilot projects in smaller regions. The group representing Canada’s physicians also wants a strict minimum age of 21 for marijuana consumption with other controls on users under 25.

McLellan, who has served in previous Liberal governments as health, justice and public safety minister, said the task force is still working through what approach it will recommend.

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