By Simon Day
| Partnerships Editor
July 13, 2017 | Sponsored content

Former Canadian deputy prime minister Anne McLellan was in New Zealand last week to present at the NZ Drug Foundation symposium about her role in guiding Canada’s drug reform. She spoke to Simon Day about the road to legalisation, growing Canada’s ‘worst pot ever’, and the potential Baby Boomer weed market.

In July 2018 Canada will become the second country in the world to universally legalise cannabis (Uruguay took the plunge earlier this year). With one of the highest rates of youth cannabis use in the world, drug reform was a Justin Trudeau campaign promise in 2015. So after it was elected, the Liberal government appointed a panel to study how cannabis could legalised and regulated in Canada.
At the head of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation was Anne McLellan, a former minister in the Liberal governments from 1997 to 2006, and Deputy Prime Minister from 2003. During this time McLellan was no friend of reform. As she acknowledges, she was part of a generation that was raised to be opposed to cannabis, distrustful of an illicit drug and its reputation. Even as minister of health she was wary of the lack of scientific evidence around its benefits. Ten years later, cannabis activists were alarmed when McLellan was appointed as chair of the Task Force.

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