CMA Statement on Report of Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased that the final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends that the government take a broad public health policy approach to address the legalization and regulation of marijuana for non-medical use.

A public health approach places an increased focus on:

  • preventing drug abuse and dependence;
  • lessening the impact on vulnerable groups such as children;
  • ensuring the availability of assessment, counselling and treatment services for those who wish to stop using; and
  • promoting harm reduction to increase the safety for those who are using.

This approach also seeks to ensure that the harms associated with enforcement are not out of proportion to the direct damages caused by substance abuse.

Monitoring, surveillance and research of marijuana use are essential to this approach so that we can better understand the short and long-term harm as well as to develop policy options to address prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement.

While pleased that the report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation strongly recommends enhanced research and education, the CMA is disappointed that the Task Force has called for a separate medical access framework in Canada.

The CMA recognizes that some individuals suffering from terminal illness or chronic disease for which conventional therapies have not been effective may obtain relief with marijuana used for medical purposes. However, clinical evidence of medical benefits is limited.

There is also very limited guidance for the therapeutic use, including indications, potency (levels of THC, CBD), interactions with medications and adverse effects. Health Canada does not approve of marijuana as a medicine, as it has not gone through the approvals required by the regulatory process to be a pharmaceutical. The present system poses a serious challenge for physicians in providing the best care to patients.

The CMA continues to recommend that there be only one regime for marijuana, following legalization of non-medical marijuana, with provisions for the medical needs of those who would not be able to acquire marijuana in a legal manner, such as those below the minimum age or those who require a more potent product than legally available.

Dr. Granger Avery,
CMA President

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 83,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. The CMA's mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care.

 

SOURCE Canadian Medical Association

For further information: To schedule an interview or for further information, please contact: CMA Media Relations: MediaInquiries@cma.ca, 613-806-1865

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