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May 18, 2016
Public health approach recommended on the legalization and regulation of non-medical cannabis
Following the Government of Canada's recent commitment to legalize and regulate the non-medical use of cannabis, Toronto Public Health is presenting a report to the Toronto Board of Health recommending a public health approach to regulation. The report will be presented to the Toronto Board of Health at its May 30 meeting.

"Designing a regulatory approach for non-medical cannabis is complex," said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "We are therefore urging the federal government to use an evidence-based public health approach that builds on the lessons learned from regulating tobacco and alcohol. This approach will help reduce potential health harms for the population as a whole."

While there are therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis, there are also health harms, particularly for frequent and heavy use of cannabis, including:
• health and safety impacts associated with impaired driving
• exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and other harmful byproducts associated with cannabis smoke
• poor respiratory health, including bronchitis and some cancers, linked with long-term
cannabis smoking
• impacts on mental health from frequent and heavy cannabis use, especially if there is a genetic predisposition, and
• impacts on adolescent brain development.

The approach to regulating non-medical cannabis that is being proposed to the Toronto Board of Health includes providing strong government regulatory control on availability and accessibility, setting a minimum purchase age, minimizing promotion, ensuring strong impaired driving policies, and restricting use in public places.

More information is available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Lenore Bromley
Toronto Public Health



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