The federal government has announced a $1.4 million investment in cannabis research as the July 1 deadline to legalize the drug inches closer.
Member of Parliament Bill Blair made the announcement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Wednesday, where some of the research is taking place.
Blair said that the money will support 14 research projects across the country that he said will be carried out over the next year. He said that some of the work has been “ongoing for some period of time” and will ultimately help to inform “public education campaigns” and the training that is given to police as cannabis is legalized.
“These are funded on the basis of short term priorities. We need the evidence that they will provide to us in the near term to make the appropriate investments in public education so we can, for example, enable young people to know the risks of driving while impaired from cannabis,” Blair told CP24 following the announcement. “We need to make sure that we have scientific basis for the advice that we will give to people so Canadians can make safer, healthier and more socially responsible choices.”
Blair said that the research that will be funded with the money will look at “wide range of issues,” including the potential effects of cannabis use on drivers as well as the health of pregnant women and their children. The money will also support research into the effects of cannabis on adolescent mental health and health and safety in the work place, Blair said.
Though Blair conceded that cannabis is already widely available, he said that the research is will take on added importance as the government moves to legalize the drug.
“Armed with the results of this research we will be able to better based future decisions on solid science. The foundation of knowledge that we lay today will inform he policies, programs and interventions of tomorrow,” he said.
Once legislation is tabled to formally legalize marijuana, Canadians will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of the drug.
Ottawa has previously said that tax revenue from the sale of legal marijuana will likely be $400 million in the first year of legalization and eventually grow to $1 billion.