Public Safety Minister’s File on Illicit Drugs, Marijuana and Legalization Released

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A heavily-redacted document entitled “Illicit Drugs and Marijuana” released through an Access to Information request (ATI), lists issues relating to the government’s plans to legalize marijuana.

The request, provided to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, entitled “Minister’s transition book related to legalizing, regulating and restricting access to marijuana”, lists background on organized crime and drug policy and statistics in Canada. Considerations like impaired driving and the current movement of drugs through Canada Post, as well as a strategy of drug prevention, treatment and enforcement by Health Canada and Public Safety Canada are also mentioned.

Under the impaired driving section, it notes that 97% of police-reported impaired driving incidents involve alcohol and 3% involve drugs. Canadian authorities are seeking better measurement methods to test for drug impaired driving.

The report also notes that the majority of Canadians support ‘reforming’ cannabis laws, ‘especially with respect to cannabis possession’. It also says that groups like the Canadian Society of Addictions Medicine, Canadian Bar Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have all called for reduced sanctions for personal possession and use.

Among the information available in the un-redacted parts of the report, it notes that in 2014 Criminal Intelligence Service Canada reported 665 organized crime groups operating in Canada. Approximately 85%  are involved in an estimated $45 billion dollar drug trade, accounting for approx. 57% of Canada’s total black market for drugs. Cocaine, it says, is Canada’s most prolific illicit drug, although heroin and other opioids are also popular, in part due to an increase in “consumer demand.”

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