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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Cannabis Control Policy

 Cannabis Control Policy: A Discussion Paper

 Health Protection Branch

Department of National Health and Welfare

January 1979

Joint Federal-Provincial Control of Cannabis

Assuming that the political problems associated with the negotiations could be overcome, Parliament and the provinces could agree to adopt a single legislative policy regarding cannabis. The provinces could agree not to enact cannabis legislation pursuant to their health power, if Parliament's criminal cannabis legislation contained certain provisions. Similarly Parliament could partially or totally repeal its cannabis prohibitions on condition that the provincial cannabis law met stipulated criteria. The only limit on these kinds of arrangements is that the body enacting the legislation have the constitutional power to do so.

Parliament has often used its spending power to encourage the provinces to enact legislation which is consistent with federal policy.54 The federal government could offer financial inducements to encourage the provinces to adopt consistent legislative policies on cannabis. Although the issue was not central to the decision, the court in Mercer v. Attorney-General of Canada, [1971] 3 W.W.R. 375, at 384-385 (Alta. S.C.) suggested that such arrangements are not constitutionally assailable.

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