Cannabis and Youth: Implications for Legalization in Ontario

On October 30, 2017 Pine River Institute hosted a symposium examining the policy implications for legalization of recreational cannabis as it pertains to Ontario youth. An array of speakers from both Canada and the United States, as well as an audience of policymakers, service providers, and other key stakeholders exchanged thoughts on a variety of subjects.  

The Federal Government was represented by Bill Blair, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, responsible for the cannabis legalization file. We were also very pleased to have Senator Tony Dean, formerly Cabinet Secretary in Ontario, spend the day with us. The Ontario government was represented, among others, by the Premier’s Health Care Policy Advisor, Adrienne Spafford.

Other speakers included the keynote Beau Kilmer, Co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in San Francisco; Lewis Koski, a former advisor to the government of Colorado who worked on their legalization; the Uruguayan Ambassador to Canada, Martin Vidal, and a Senior Policy Analyst at CAMH, Jean-François Crépault, who is the lead author of the CAMH Cannabis Policy Framework report that served as a guide to the federal government. We also heard from Pine River’s Director of Research & Evaluation, Laura Mills, and PRI Board member Michael Bryant, who highlighted the effectiveness of treatment for youth and the tremendous need to increase treatment availability.

Our partners, St. Michael's Hospital, Ryerson University, and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, also made contributions to the balanced and wide-ranging discussions that included doctors, community workers, and a youth panel on “Youth Experiences.”

Many of our speakers have generously provided their presentations for us to share with you here:

One More Kid: An Ontario Public Health Plan for Cannabis Legalization by Michael Bryant
One More Kid – presentation slides

Preventing Cannabis Related Harms by Chiachen Cheng, MD, FRCP(C), MPH Mae Katt, NP

The Regulation of Cannabis in Ontario: Views from CAMH by Jean-François Crépault

Youth-centred Cannabis Education & Harm Prevention: Lessons from TRACE research by Rebecca Haines-Saah

Ontario’s Approach to Federal Cannabis Legalization (government of Ontario)

Does Substance Use Treatment Work? by Laura Mills

The Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence by Amy Porath, CCSA

McCain Centre Youth Engagement Initiative: Adapting Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines to be Youth-Friendly by Jackie Relihan and Jessica Rong

Understanding Youth Perceptions on Cannabis by Katie Fleming, CCSA



Federal Government: Cannabis Education

Ontario Preparing for Federal Cannabis Legalization

Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017

 New developments in cannabis regulation:

Recreational Cannabis — Minimizing the Health Risks from Legalization

European Drugs and Addiction Library