Canada faces ‘potential’ class action suit, ex-cannabis legalization chair says

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Canada’s federal government could face legal consequences for failing to facilitate research on potential health issues experienced by cannabis smokers, according to the former chair of the task force that laid the groundwork for recreational legalization in the country.

Anne McLellan, a former law professor at the University of Alberta, told The Globe and Mail newspaper the Canadian government could “potentially” face a class action lawsuit.

The federal health minister from 2002 to 2003, McLellan told the Toronto-based newspaper that any lawsuits could still be at least a decade down the road, meaning there’s still time to conduct research.

The Globe and Mail noted that Health Canada’s most recent report on cannabis emissions was published in 2013.

Canada legalized adult-use cannabis sales and consumption in 2018.

McLellan said she had wanted the government to incentivize the private sector to conduct tests on the chemicals released when cannabis flower is ignited in addition to research on the impact any related chemicals have might have on consumers’ health.

“The big disappointment coming out of the legalization project is that governments and researchers have not stepped up in the way that we had hoped after legalization to do a lot of that research,” McLellan told the newspaper.

“There is a lot that we do not know that we are going to need to know.”