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Canadian Nurses Association calls on Senate to support key amendments to strengthen federal cannabis legislation

Ottawa, June 4, 2018 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) believes the Senate has a unique opportunity to strengthen Bill C-45, An Act Respecting Cannabis and to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and Other Acts (the Cannabis Act), during this week’s third reading in the chamber.

“If senators want to really strengthen the proposed legislation,” said CNA president Barb Shellian, “they can do it by adopting two key amendmentsthat CNA recommended during an appearance in April before the Senate standing committee on social affairs, science and technology”:

  • Exempt medical cannabis from the application of sections 8 and 9 of Bill C-45 to preserve appropriate access within a separate medical cannabis regime.
  • Ensure that youth possession of cannabis not be subject to criminal penalties and that the government use restorative justice as the guiding principle for addressing youth possession.

“In CNA’s testimony before the Senate committee, we called for the need to preserve access to cannabis for medical purposes based on the principles of access and equity. This includes access to appropriate products, access without undue financial burden and access to care and clinical oversight for persons using medical cannabis. Without such clinical oversight, we are leaving patients to self-medicate and figure it out on their own,” said Shellian.

“Our second amendment would protect our country’s youth, especially those that are vulnerable. CNA believes a criminal record can lend itself to considerable harms. That is why we recommend that youth possession of cannabis not be criminalized and that an approach of restorative justice be adopted.”

These two amendments were also contained in CNA’s written submission to the committee [PDF, 194.1 KB].

“We encourage the Senate to include all of CNA’s recommendations, including those related to the sale and promotion of cannabis and cannabis accessories, with considerations around promotion and use related to alcohol,” Shellian said.

“Let’s get this right. Bill C-45 presents a unique opportunity for legislators to reduce the harms associated with non-medical cannabis and the illicit market.”


The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, 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:

David Granovsky
Lead, Government Relations
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-697-7497
E-mail: dgranovsky@cna-aiic.ca