Doctors Nova Scotia seeks restriction on marijuana use in public as Canada prepares to legalize cannabis

Doctors Nova Scotia seeks restriction on marijuana use in public as Canada prepares to legalize cannabis

Historic as it was, the U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 which placed marijuana in the category of Schedule I substances, the most restrictive of all categories.  This meant that it was in contravention of the law of the land to either use, possess or distribute cannabis and any violation would tantamount to criminal penalties.

However, after all these years, it seems that banning marijuana did not do much to curb its usage, addiction and misuse in the country. Realizing this, and the medicinal properties that it is known to possess, many states legalized its use for medical purposes in due course. In fact, some states went a step further legalizing its recreational use as well. As of today, medical marijuana stands legalized in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, of which 10 allow it for recreational purpose also.

With the U.S. fiercely debating over freeing marijuana under the federal law, now its northern neighbor Canada is also gearing up to legalize cannabis. Several organizations have made recommendations on how to regulate the process. The latest to join the bandwagon is Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS). In March 2018, DNS made six recommendations to the government ahead of its cannabis legalization due later this year. It believes that while decriminalizing cannabis will “remove some social harms,” “it does not address the public health concerns associated with its use.”

According to DNS, it’s paramount that cannabis use and its availability are restricted in public places, a practice already in place for tobacco products. In its proposal, the association has reiterated that the distribution of cannabis should only be through government monopoly with the prime objective of safeguarding public health and not revenue generation. Furthering its stance on the issue, DNS has proposed establishment and investment in necessary infrastructure to appropriately administer a government monopoly system and enforce restrictions.

An interesting recommendation of DNS is that a robust pricing and taxation structure should be in place to act as a stricture against the hefty demand. This should be further reinforced by setting the minimum age limit to 21 and implementing a comprehensive public education program designed to spread awareness.

Last but not the least, the recommendations also talk about the need for adequate monitoring and research from time to time, so that necessary adjustments can be made as and when needed. While DNS believes that such measures would do a great deal in protecting public health, those in the industry maintain a contrarian view and affirm that the outcome might not be that pleasing.

The lifetime use of cannabis by Nova Scotians is the fourth highest in Canada at 42.4 percent, which is more than the national average of 41.5 percent. With such widespread use and known harmful effects, Nova Scotians are rightly concerned about the impact legalization of marijuana is going to have.

Stepping into a safer future

A sweeping decision like legalization of cannabis entails that preventive and curative measures be implemented to avoid future misuse, be it in Canada or in the U.S. Cannabis has been described as a “performance-degrading drug,” associated with chances of increased dependence and adversely impacting the cognitive functions of the brain. It is imperative to identify addiction on time and ensure subsequent intervention with proper medical treatment.

If you or a loved one is addicted to cannabis or any other drug, reach out to California Drug Abuse Help. Our 24/7 drug rehab helpline can help you find the best outpatient or residential drug treatment in California. Call at our helpline number 855-980-1946 to know more about drug rehab centers in California or chat online for further advice.

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