Canada

Subsections:

Page last updated June 9, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

1. Legalization of Marijuana for Adult Social Use

"When it will be legal
"The Cannabis Act has received Royal Assent. Until October 17, 2018, it remains illegal to buy, possess or use cannabis for anything other than authorized medical or research purposes.

"Between now and coming into force, there will be a transition period for:
"the federal government
"provinces and territories
"the regulated industry and
"law enforcement
"Law enforcement will continue to enforce existing laws.

"Reasons to legalize and regulate cannabis
"The new legal framework takes a public health approach to cannabis legalization and regulation.

"The new law will help to:
"better prevent youth from accessing cannabis
"displace the illegal cannabis market
"protect public health and safety with product quality and safety requirements for cannabis

"What is legal now
"Cannabis for medical purposes is legal if you are:
"authorized by a health professional and
"registered with a licensed producer or Health Canada.
"Access to cannabis for medical purposes will continue to be permitted after the Cannabis Act comes into force.

"Health Canada remains committed to maintaining a distinct system to provide patients with reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes. Under the new Cannabis Act, individuals will still be able to:
"purchase cannabis directly from a federally licensed producer
"register to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes
"designate someone to produce it for them

"Laws in your area
"Each province and territory will have the ability to set its own rules for cannabis, including:
"legal minimum age
"where you can buy it
"where you can use it
"how much you can possess
"You must respect the laws of the province, territory or Indigenous community you are in, whether you are a visitor or live there.

"Individual municipalities may also pass bylaws to regulate the use of cannabis locally. Check your municipality for local information.

"It is illegal now and will remain illegal to take any amount of cannabis across Canada's international borders."

"Cannabis in Canada: Get the Facts." Government of Canada. Last accessed August 8, 2018.
https://www.canada.ca/en/...

2. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Among Canadians Aged 15 and Older

"The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among Canadians aged 15 years and older was 10.2% in 2012, unchanged from 9.1% in 2011, but lower than in 2004 (14.1%). There was an increase in past-year cannabis use among adults aged 25 years and older to 8.4% in 2012 from 6.7% in 2011, and no change from 2011 among youth aged 15 to 24 years. However, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use among youth (20.3%) remains higher than that of adults (8.4%). Youths initiated use of cannabis at an older age in 2012 than in 2011 (16.1 versus 15.6 years).
"The prevalence of past-year cannabis use in 2012 was lower than in 2004 among males (13.7% versus 18.2%), females (7.0% versus 10.2%) and youth aged 15 to 24 years (20.3% versus 37.0%), with the prevalence among males remaining twice as high as that of females (13.7% versus 7.0%, respectively). Prevalence among adults aged 25 years and older was unchanged between 2012 and 2004."

Health Canada, "Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) Summary of Results for 2012" (Ottawa, Ontario: Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, June 2013), p. 3.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d...

3. Prevalence of Use of Drugs Other Than Marijuana Among Canadians Aged 15 and Older

"In 2012, past-year use of the most commonly reported illicit drugs after cannabis was estimated to be about 1% for each (ecstasy (0.6%), hallucinogens including salvia (1.1%) and cocaine or crack (1.1%)). Past-year use of speed, methamphetamine or heroin is not reportable. There were no changes in prevalence of any of these drugs individually, between 2012 and 2011 or between 2012 and 2004.
"Use of at least one of five illicit drugs excluding cannabis [cocaine or crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens (including salvia) or heroin] was reported by 2.0% of Canadians and is not different from 2011 (1.9%). The reported rate of such use by males (3.1%) was almost triple that reported by females (1.1%), while the rate of use by youth (6.5%) was five times higher than that reported by adults (1.2%). Rates are not comparable to 2004 because salvia was not included in the CAS [Canadian Addiction Survey].
"Users of illicit drugs were asked how easy it would be for them to get that specific drug if they wanted some “now”. Most users of cannabis (84.5%) and cocaine (77.8%) said it would be easy or very easy to get. Results for other drugs are not reportable due to low numbers and small sample size."

Health Canada, "Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) Summary of Results for 2012" (Ottawa, Ontario: Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, June 2013), pp. 3-4.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d...

4. Prevalence of Cannabis Use in Canada, by Province

"Provincial prevalence of past-year cannabis use ranged from 8.5% in New Brunswick to 13.8% in British Columbia. There were no year-to-year changes in provincial rates of cannabis use. Each province’s past-year cannabis prevalence was compared with the average prevalence for the nine remaining provinces. Of these, only British Columbia shows higher than average prevalence."

Health Canada, "Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) Summary of Results for 2012" (Ottawa, Ontario: Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, June 2013), p. 3.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d...

5. Prevalence of Alcohol and Cannabis Use Among Young People in Canada

"Some key findings from the report are as follows. Among students in grades 7, 9, 10, and 12 (i.e., those approximately 12–18 years old):
"• Alcohol use is almost twice as prevalent as cannabis use (46–62% of students report alcohol use and 17–32% report cannabis use in the past year, depending on the province);
"• 19–30% report consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion in the past month;
"• 12–20% of Grade 12 students report driving within an hour of drinking alcohol in the past year;
"• 26–38% of all students report that in the past year they have been a passenger with someone that had been
drinking, and 17–20% report that in the past year they have been a passenger with someone who had had ‘too much’ to drink;
"• 2–5% report using cannabis daily or almost daily;
"• 14–21% of students in Grade 12 report driving within an hour of using cannabis, and more than 33% of Grade students report having been a passenger with someone who had used cannabis; and
"• Among the drugs assessed by the surveys, aside from alcohol and cannabis, ecstasy is the most prevalent drug (4–7% report lifetime use) followed by inhalants (2–4% report lifetime use)."

Young, M.M., Saewyc, E., Boak, A., Jahrig, J., Anderson, B., Doiron, Y., Taylor, S., Pica, L., Laprise, P., and Clark, H. (Student Drug Use Surveys Working Group) (2011). Cross-Canada report on student alcohol and drug use: Technical report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, p. 3.
http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/topics/...
http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20...

6. Prevalence and Trends in Use of Selected Drugs in Canada 2004-2012

Data from the Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS) and Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS).

Click here for the complete datatable of Estimated Prevalence of Use of Selected Drugs in Canada

Health Canada, "Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) Summary of Results for 2012" (Ottawa, Ontario: Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, June 2013), pp. 1-2.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d...

7. Prevalence of Daily Cannabis Use Among Youth in Canada

"Eight of the nine provinces with student drug use surveys ask about daily or almost daily use of cannabis in the past month. Overall, 2.2–5.3% of students report smoking cannabis every day or almost every day in the past 30 days (Table 31 and Figure 31). In four of the eight provinces, the prevalence of daily or almost daily cannabis use was significantly greater among males than females (Table 32 and Figure 32). When examined by grade, the same pattern as noted in all previous indicators emerges. In Grade 7, very few students report daily use - so few that most estimates for Grade 7 students are suppressed. In Grade 12, however, 3.3–10.0% of students report using cannabis daily or almost every day (Table 33 and Figure 33)."

Young, M.M., Saewyc, E., Boak, A., Jahrig, J., Anderson, B., Doiron, Y., Taylor, S., Pica, L., Laprise, P., and Clark, H. (Student Drug Use Surveys Working Group) (2011). Cross-Canada report on student alcohol and drug use: Technical report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, p. 22.
http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/topics/...
http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20...

8. Trends in Age of Initiation of Cannabis and of Alcohol Use in Canada

Data from the Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS) and Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS).

Click here for complete datatable of Trends in Age of Initiation of Cannabis and of Alcohol Use in Canada

Health Canada, "Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) Summary of Results for 2012" (Ottawa, Ontario: Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, June 2013), pp. 1-2.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/d...

9. Prevalence of Use of Drugs Other Than Cannabis Among Youth in Canada

"The reported prevalence of drugs (other than alcohol and cannabis) such as cocaine or heroin among students is relatively rare. That said, provinces routinely measure use of these substances. British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario estimates are for lifetime use. Atlantic provinces, Québec and the YSS [Youth Smoking Survey] ask about use in the past 12 months. Therefore, the two sets of prevalence estimates are presented separately in different tables. In addition to the different time frames used in the survey questions, there is also considerable variation in the terminology used in referring to these drugs as noted where appropriate in the tables below.
"All the surveys ask about ecstasy. Estimates for ecstasy use range from 3.4–7.2% reporting past-12-month use
and 4.4–7.1% reporting lifetime use (Tables 43 and 44). Following ecstasy, inhalants are second overall in reported
use with estimates ranging from 2.6–4.4% for past-year use and 2.2–3.8% for lifetime use. However, not all surveys ask about use of inhalants; some ask about ‘solvents’ or ‘glue’. These differences in terminology result in different prevalence estimates (Tables 45 and 46). Estimates for steroid use range from 1.4–1.7% for past-12-month use and 1.2–1.4% for lifetime use (Tables 47 and 48). Estimates for lifetime heroin use in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario range from 0.8–1.3% (Table 49). Atlantic Canada does not ask students about heroin use. The YSS asks about past-12-month use of heroin [1.3% (1.0, 1.6)]."

Young, M.M., Saewyc, E., Boak, A., Jahrig, J., Anderson, B., Doiron, Y., Taylor, S., Pica, L., Laprise, P., and Clark, H. (Student Drug Use Surveys Working Group) (2011). Cross-Canada report on student alcohol and drug use: Technical report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, p. 28.
http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/topics/...
http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20...

10. Success of Overdose Prevention Sites In Response to a Public Health Emergency

"The rapid implementation of OPSs [Overdose Prevention Sites] in the province of British Columbia, Canada during a public health emergency provides an international example of an alternative to drawn-out, cumbersome sanctioning processes for SCSs [Supervised Consumption Services]. Unsanctioned SCSs provide alternative evidence to inform the implementation of SCSs that are more inclusive and responsive to PWUD [People Who Use Drugs]. Our research adds to this evidence. In particular, we found evidence that shifts in the outer context facilitated rapid implementation of a more user focused and driven intervention. We found innovation and inclusionary practices that typically define unsanctioned sites were possible within state-sanctioned OPSs. Community-driven processes of implementation involve centering PWUD in service design, implementation and delivery. Overdose prevention sites provide an example of a novel service design and nimble implementation process that combines the benefits of state-sanctioned service and community-driven implementation. As described by those individuals implementing the services, OPSs effectively provide supervised injection services and overdose responses while addressing many of the documented limitations of existing sanctioned SCSs implementation processes and resultant service designs. However, OPSs lack permanency and ongoing funding due to enactment under a Ministerial Order that is limited to the duration of the public health emergency. Specific attention needs to be paid to the development maintenance of OPSs as primary points of contact and entry into the health system and as part of an ongoing system of substance use services."

Bruce Wallace, Flora Pagan, Bernadette (Bernie) Pauly, The implementation of overdose prevention sites as a novel and nimble response during an illegal drug overdose public health emergency, International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 66, 2019, Pages 64-72, ISSN 0955-3959.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drug....
http://www.sciencedirect.com/s...

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