Health ministers to talk cannabis, opioids during two day meeting in Edmonton

By on October 19, 2017


Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Photo by Government of New Brunswick - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnbca/34873511164/, CC0)
Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Photo by Government of New Brunswick – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnbca/34873511164/, CC0)

EDMONTON — Canada’s health ministers kick off a two-day meeting in Edmonton today, and topics on the agenda include the ongoing opioid crisis and the pending legalization of cannabis.

Deaths from opioid abuse are expected to surpass 3,000 this year, and the ministers say they need to compare notes on what is working and not working.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor will join them on Friday to deliver an update on plans to legalize recreational use of cannabis by July 1.

The federal government has set 18 as the minimum legal age, although provinces can set the age higher.

Some ministers say they are concerned, given that studies suggest cannabis can impact brain development in youth and legalizing marijuana can lead to more youth taking up smoking.

The ministers will also meet with Indigenous leaders, as well as discuss prescription drug reform and a national pharmacare program.