Experts call on the state to do more to educate people about the risks of cannabis.
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Already among the largest users of marijuana in the world before legalization, Canadians have not increased the dose significantly since 2018, according to Statistics Canada.
But to keep control over the consumption curve and avoid drifts, more awareness is needed, believes Craig Jones, former spokesperson for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada.
“Educating, informing and encouraging responsible and moderate consumption must be a priority,” he says, indicating that the effort has been too discreet so far.
Mr Jones retired two years ago after fighting his entire life for the legalization of cannabis. He stressed that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“I would like to see a lot more campaigns, for example on the risks of consuming cannabis in combination with other substances such as alcohol, when you are pregnant or when you have a history of mental health problem”, lists Craig Jones .
For Rebecca Jesseman, of the Canadian Center on Addictions and Drugs, it is all the more important that the State engages in awareness that “we live in an area of disinformation”.
“It’s very difficult to distinguish advertising from public health messages. According to some websites, CBD [le CBD et le THC sont les principaux cannabinoïdes présents dans le cannabis] is a miracle cure capable of taking care of everything, ”she worries.
In Budget 2018, the Liberal government proposed to invest $ 62.5 million over five years to support community and Indigenous organizations that raise awareness of the risks associated with cannabis use.
This was in addition to the $ 46 million over five years already announced to support public awareness and monitoring activities.
In 2018-19, Health Canada spent $ 6.3 million on awareness campaigns, and Public Safety Canada spent $ 2.8 million, according to the annual report on federal advertising activities.
Scott Bernstein, policy director at the Canadian Coalition for Drug Policy adds that to fight a black market “you have to offer attractive products, but that is not the case now,” he said.
Mr. Bernstein also points to “structural problems” in the licensing rules by Health Canada that favor large producers. However, he believes, smaller players could offer artisanal products that would attract a clientele attached to illicit producers.
– With Sarah Daoust-Braun