The government says the illegal marijuana industry is estimated at $7 billion per year and costs Canadian governments $2.3 billion to enforce, and that Canada has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world among children and youth.

Canada Moves Toward Marijuana Legalization

The public consultation continues through Aug. 29 and will seek input on all key areas of inquiry for the task force, including effective prevention and harm reduction, ensuring safe and responsible production, and enforcing public safety.

The government of Canada took a step toward marijuana legalization and regulation June 30, announcing the creation of a task force and starting a public consultation while promising it will restrict access to marijuana, work to ensure it is kept out of the hands of children, and profits aren't going to criminals. The government also released a discussion paper that outlines key areas where expertise and public input are needed.

Members of the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation are nine experts in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement, and justice, according to the announcement, which said the task force will meet with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and experts in relevant fields, and that all Canadians will have an opportunity to share their views on the design of this new system at www.canada.ca/Health until Aug. 29, 2016. The public consultation will seek input on all key areas of inquiry for the task force, including effective prevention and harm reduction, ensuring safe and responsible production, and enforcing public safety. Its report to government ministers is due in November 2016 and the final report will be made public.

"We have confidence that the individuals who make up the task force have the expertise, knowledge, and credibility necessary to provide us with thoughtful advice on the design of a system of strict marijuana production, distribution, and regulated sales," said Jody Wilson-Raybould, minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada.

"Our government is moving forward with an approach to marijuana that is both comprehensive and evidence-based. We are committed to moving ahead in a responsible way, acknowledging and addressing the health risks associated with recreational use of marijuana, especially the health risks to young Canadians," added Jane Philpott, minister of Health.

The government says the illegal marijuana industry is estimated at $7 billion per year and costs Canadian governments $2.3 billion to enforce, and that Canada has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world among children and youth. Until new legislation comes into effect, current laws and rules remain in place.

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