The Government is taking a public health approach to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis to keep it out of the hands of youth and to keep profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. To support the new legislation, the Government has an ongoing robust public education campaign to inform Canadians, especially youth, about the health risks associated with cannabis use.
This week, Health Canada launched the Pursue Your Passion travelling engagement tour at the Buskers on the Bay festival in Saint John, New Brunswick and at the Folk on the Rocks Music Festival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Ambassadors at the exhibit will engage visitors in conversations to learn about the health impacts of cannabis. Through participation at creative, physical and digital stations at the exhibit, young Canadians will be encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices and pursue their passions, such as physical activities, music or creative arts, rather than using cannabis. The interactive exhibit will travel to local events, festivals and fairs across the country from July until late fall 2018. A second wave of the tour is being planned beyond fall 2018.
Canadians are encouraged to visit Canada.ca/cannabis to get the facts about cannabis in Canada, and to find out when the engagement tour may be coming to their region.
“I am pleased to launch the Pursue Your Passion interactive engagement tour. This tour builds on the national dialogue on cannabis health impacts that we started more than a year ago,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Tayalor, “This initiative is one of many public education efforts underway and provides an important opportunity to educate youth and young adults directly as we prepare for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.
- The Cannabis Act has received Royal Assent and will come into force on October 17, 2018.
- The Pursue Your Passion travelling engagement tour follows other extremely successful engagement tours such as the recurring Break-it-Off smoking cessation campaign and recent opioid public engagement activities which help audiences better understand important public health information.
- Despite the fact that cannabis has been illegal, 12% of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21% among youth, aged 15 to 19, and 30% among young adults, aged 20 to 24.
- The 2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey showed that students in grades 7-12 who consume cannabis were an average of 14 years old when they first used cannabis.
- The same survey also showed that almost 10% of Canadian students felt there was no risk in regular cannabis use.