Legal pot not a public health or safety threat, researchers tell Senate

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Doctors and researchers are telling Canadian politicians there is little evidence that legalized marijuana poses a threat to public health and safety.

Dr. M.J. Milloy with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use is one of the authors of a report submitted to the Senate this week, outlining the positive and negative impacts legalization has had in other jurisdictions.

The federal government has promised to legalize recreational marijuana later this year under Bill C-45, which is expected to go to a final vote in the upper house on Thursday.

Milloy says researchers did not find significant declines in road safety in American states where marijuana had been legalized, but they did find a drop in alcohol sales and in fatal opioid overdoses.

The report also outlines 28 indicators to watch for as Canada legalizes marijuana, including instances of cannabis-impaired driving, rates of use among youth and the number of marijuana-related calls to poison control centres.

University of Calgary public health specialist Rebecca Haines-Saah says monitoring those areas will be key to determining if marijuana policy has been a success.