COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

A tale of two jurisdictions. Can Australia and Canada learn from each other's experience with cannabis control?

Steve Kisely
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2005, 39 (3): 154-60
15701064

OBJECTIVE: To compare public health and legal policies to reduce the harm associated with cannabis use in Canada and Australia, given similarities between both countries.

METHOD: A review of the epidemiological and health policy literature.

RESULTS: Although both countries have adopted harm minimization, a continued heavy reliance on legislative and punitive approaches in both Canada and Australia has failed to arrest the increase in cannabis use, especially among young people. A Senate inquiry in Canada has recommended the liberalization of laws on the possession and use of cannabis, while tightening legislation against operating vehicles or machinery while intoxicated.

CONCLUSIONS: Existing policies are not evidence-based and lead to adverse outcomes such as criminalization of otherwise law-abiding citizens and diversion of resources from more effective policing or health service initiatives.

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