According to the former chair of the Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, the most effective way to combat the illegal sale of cannabis isn’t on the streets, but on store shelves.
Anne McLellan joined Steele and Drex to discuss the Task Force’s recommendations to the federal government, and give some suggestions as to how provinces can prepare as legalization looms.
LISTEN: Former cabinet minister Anne McLellan talks pot
McLellan says the single most important part of keeping cannabis sales legal is to price it effectively.
“We make it clear in our Task Force report that price point is key here. If you want to strip out a significant part of criminal activity, pricing is going to be a key issue.”
In fact, McLellan says that selling cannabis at a higher price could inadvertently push those most at risk toward illegal methods.
“You could very quickly end up pricing yourself at a point where you’re actually going to drive people – especially younger users who have less disposable income, between 18 and 25 – out of the regulated legal market.”
However, when it comes to how and where cannabis is sold, McLellan says that the final decision isn’t the Federal Government’s to make.
“In our report we acknowledge the fact, and we are respectful of the fact that constitutional jurisdiction over wholesale and retail distribution rests with the provinces and territories, not with the government of Canada.”
McLellan concluded by stressing that, particularly in the early years of legalization, those provinces should keep a close watch on how their markets are developing.