British think tank declares Canada's cannabis legalization a 'modest success' — but has suggestions for improvement

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Canada’s federal legalization of cannabis is a success – at least, according to a British think tank.

Prominent UK drug policy think tank Transform, which has been observing Canadian cannabis reform efforts with great interest since the country legalized the drug for adult use in October 2018. The organization has now compiled a comprehensive report on Canadian legalization.

“Legal regulation in Canada is still a relatively new project, but an extremely important one,” reads the report’s executive summary. “With the eyes of the world watching, the legal market has seen modest successes and is providing a valuable case study for regulators seeking to reduce the harm caused by drugs and drug markets.”

But as many Canadians know, legalization hasn’t been perfect – and this is also noted in the otherwise glowing report.

Canada’s “failure to incorporate comprehensive social equity measures” was highlighted by the organization, which notes that “little has been done to support access to the retail market among social groups who were disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

It also takes a dim view of Canada’s slow and limited criminal record expungement process and takes a swipe at the power “afforded to large, corporate producers,” which the report’s authors say come “at the expense of smaller suppliers, and those who were previously subject to criminalization for supply.” Lastly, the report also notes that the country’s efforts to include Indigenous peoples into the industry have been subpar.

There are a few errors in the report – for example, it lists Quebec as a province that prohibits home cultivation, which is no longer the case (at least for now), despite outdated info posted the government’s website.

Ultimately, however, the report paints a thorough and overall positive picture of Canada’s cannabis legalization.

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