Cannabis will become legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. This includes the legal use of non-medicinal cannabis.
The Health Unit has two main goals when it comes to cannabis use: to protect the public from the harms of using cannabis and to prevent and delay youth from using cannabis.
“In Ontario, any one 19 years or older will be able to use cannabis,” says Jacqueline Uprichard, public health promoter with the Huron County Health Unit. “We know that cannabis is an individual choice, but it is one that comes with risks and harms.”
If a resident chooses to use cannabis, the Health Unit recommends following Canada’s Lower Risk Cannabis Guidelines. This evidence-based tool, created by the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse, outlines 10 recommendations, including:
- delay taking up cannabis use until later in life
- don’t use cannabis and drive
- don’t operate machinery after using cannabis
- limit and reduce how often you use cannabis
- avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems or are pregnant
“We have strong evidence that decreased access to cannabis is associated with decreased cannabis harm” says Uprichard. “We will be talking with municipalities about what they can do to decrease harm from cannabis, including limiting where cannabis can be sold.”
To further decrease harm, the Health Unit will monitor the local situation with regards to cannabis, promote healthy coping and resiliency skills in youth, develop resources, foster community connections, support workplaces in policy development, and take other actions as needed to reduce risk to residents’ health.
For more information, visit huronhealthunit.ca.