NSGEU says publicly controlled sale of cannabis best for public health

"To protect and promote the health and well-being of Canadian communities, a publicly owned system is the optimal solution according to public health literature." — NSGEU report on cannabis distribution in Canada

Halifax (04 Oct. 2017) — The Nova Scotia government should protect public health and keep the sale and distribution of cannabis under public control, concludes a report commissioned by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE).

Publicly-owned system optimal solution for selling cannabis

“We have an opportunity to get this right,” says Jason MacLean, President of the NSGEU. “As the Premier and his government consider what the legalization of cannabis will look like in Nova Scotia and how cannabis should be sold, our research is clear that a publicly controlled retailing system best protects the public, including our children, from unnecessary harm associated with cannabis.”

The report, entitled Cannabis distribution in Canada: A literature review of policy options and potential implications for public health, was sent to the government for their consideration last week. 

“To maximize monetary gain for the cannabis industry, a privatized system would be ideal. To protect and promote the health and well-being of Canadian communities, a publicly owned system is the optimal solution according to public health literature," says the report. 

Recommendations support the need for regulations

The report also finds that public health can best be protected when the sale of cannabis is implemented alongside other key regulatory factors such as

  • high minimum-age restrictions
  • comprehensive marketing restrictions similar to tobacco-control mechanism
  • health-focused taxation and pricing
  • product restrictions (i.e., prohibiting products with a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol; THC)
  • restrictions on retail outlet location, design, and density.

“Nova Scotians all have a vested interest in protecting the health and well-being of our communities and children, and the time for making a decision on how cannabis is sold is rapidly approaching,” said MacLean. “The best approach is to keep it public.”

The literature review is consistent with aCorporate Reseach Associates (CRA) survey the NSGEU/NUPGE conducted in March, 2017, which found that 64 per cent of Nova Scotians believe cannabis should be sold in stores owned and regulated by government.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE