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Opinion

Best practices and pitfalls, how lessons learned stateside can inform Canadian cannabis legalization

By Dustin McDonald      

Canada is on-track to be the benchmark for recreational, adult-use legislation and policy. That’s an exciting prospect for those of us in the cannabis “think-tank” space, and one for all Canadians.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and the minister of health, pictured on Nov. 21, 2107, on the Hill. The Hill Times file photograph by Andrew Meade

Colorado and Washington are often referenced for pioneering the legalization of adult-use cannabis in 2012. Today, eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws legalizing cannabis for adult-use, with a total of 44 U.S. states providing legal medical or adult-use access or both. As recently as Jan. 1, sales of adult-use cannabis began in California and in Massachusetts retail sales will begin as early as this July. However, these states, along with others who have implemented legalization models, have crafted very different approaches. The diversity of these reform models, and the successes and failures from these legal jurisdictions have been and will continue to be informative to Canadian decision-makers as the government moves towards legalization.

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