Article by Johanna Weidner, Waterloo Region Record
Lots of questions remain as marijuana legalization in Canada looms.
“Even for users, I think it’s going to take a while to get your head around it,” said Prof. David Hammond of the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems.
“People have legitimate questions.”
To help people better understand this “once in a lifetime change in drug policy,” UW is hosting a free public lecture and panel discussion on Monday.
Anne McLellan, who was chair of the government’s marijuana task force on legalization and regulation as well as the former federal justice minister and deputy prime minister, is the invited speaker. The panel will also have local experts, including Hammond and the region’s medical officer of health.
“I think we’re going to have a really interesting mix of opinions,” Hammond said.
They’ll discuss what legalization will mean for public health and safety, and what a new regulated market will look like as Canada becomes the only G-20 country to legalize and regulate cannabis at the national level.
“Countries around the world are going to be watching what’s happening,” Hammond said.
“It’s not about creating a market. We have a market.”
That includes both medical and recreational users, Hammond said. Twelve per cent of adults report using marijuana in the past year. That climbs to 20 per cent for youth and 30 per cent for young adults.