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Canadian Nurses Association welcomes public health approach in cannabis legalization bill introduced today

Ottawa, April 13, 2017 — Barb Shellian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, issued the following statement following the introduction of new legislation on the legalization of cannabis.

“As the largest group of health-care providers, registered nurses and nurse practitioners are often the first point of contact among people who use cannabis. Nurses have a responsibility to provide support, education and referral as necessary for cannabis users regardless of whether they are using legally or illegally.

“We are pleased to see that the new legislation proposed today has a strong emphasis on harm reduction, consistent with recommendations put forward by CNA during the task force’s consultation on the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana.

“As components of a balanced and measured approach, the legislation proposes actions to minimize harm among youth, tools for the detection of impaired driving, as well as features designed to ensure safe and responsible manufacturing practices.

“We were also pleased to see that the legislation includes CNA’s recommendation for marketing and promotion restrictions of cannabis products. This is crucial to ensure that the use of cannabis does not become perceived as a normalized adult behaviour for our youth.

“We are hopeful that the federal government will follow through with their commitment to use cannabis revenue to fund prevention and education measures for youth and vulnerable people.

“Despite the legalization of cannabis, ongoing support of research into the appropriate use of medical cannabis is still needed.

“The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) will continue to support a careful and balanced approach toward the legalization of cannabis. We believe sufficient time is required to allow a system shift to take place that will focus on the impact of legalized cannabis on the public and vulnerable populations. We look forward to the opportunity — through our provincial and territorial counterparts — to advise and propose amendments in the future and continue our work with the federal government, parliamentarians and provincial and territorial governments.”

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The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice representing over 139,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

For more information, please contact:

Kevin Ménard
Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-266-8230
E-mail: kmenard@cna-aiic.ca