Thank you, Michelle.
I'd like to start off by indicating our support for the federal task force on cannabis legalization and regulation's objective to protect young Canadians by keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and youth.
As I'm sure has been shared with you today and throughout this week, Canadian youth have one of the highest reported rates of use among developed countries, which we know is concerning, because research has found that the brain continues to develop until the early twenties.
To protect young Canadians, it's important that we consider some of these prevention measures. Health Canada recognizes that tobacco packages have been powerful promotional vehicles for the tobacco industry and has stated that it is committed to introducing plain packaging, which a lot of my fellow colleagues have also highlighted today.
We recommend that the same regulations be put in place for cannabis products as well. We recommend clear and restrictive requirements for the mitigation of the sale and promotion of products to youth, consideration of unintended exposure, and retail licensing requirements. We recommend that all cannabis and cannabis containing product labels include clearly displayed THC and cannabinol content, evidence-informed health warnings, harm reduction messages, and information on accessing support services.
Although plain and childproof packaging may reduce the risk of unintended exposure through regulation, it would not effectively reduce the risks for edibles. Children may mistake edible products as regular food when these products are not enclosed in their packaging. With that in mind, we recommend that regulations regarding edibles consider the impact of products manufactured that resemble candies, cookies, gummies, and other products typically marketed to children.
Last, given that a significant proportion of cannabis users are young adults, we encourage the federal government to facilitate discussions with all levels of government to ensure that the minimum age is consistent. A consistent minimum age would eliminate cross-border variation, which would limit the effectiveness of minimal legal age regulations in protecting young people.