As the concluding event to a three-year policy evaluation research project, the Cannabis Health Evaluation and Research Partnership (CHERP) team presents their Evidence-to-Policy Symposium: “Working together to foster safe cannabis use”.
Over the past three years, CHERP has been engaging in research and provincial policy evaluation to build a better understanding of how cannabis legalization has affected public health and safety in NL. This symposium is intended to disseminate our findings and collaborate with various stakeholders and members of the public to discuss policy implications moving forward. More specifically, the purpose of the symposium is bring together stakeholders, knowledge users, and members of the public with diverse perspectives to 1) discuss what this province has learned since the legalisation of cannabis (i.e., through research and lived experiences); 2) engage in meaningful discussions about ways to support public education, reduce stigma, and improve cannabis policies and regulations in a way that supports consumers and prioritizes public health and safety; 3) establish collaborations with internal and external stakeholders; and 4) mobilize knowledge, expertise, and resources in support of the public good.
The Evidence-to-Policy Symposium will take place at the Memorial University Signal Hill Campus and will include a virtual attendance option. The symposium will feature presentations and round table discussions on five specific topics in relation to public health and safety in NL: 1) The cannabis retail market; 2) Regulations on places of cannabis consumption; 3) Medical cannabis use; 4) Public education and awareness; and 5) Youth substance use education. We will feature presentations from our team members, cannabis retailers, cannabis regulators, educators, healthcare providers, citizen representatives, and youth representatives. The roundtable discussions will address topics introduced in each presentation. Each round table will feature diverse perspectives, and will be guided by facilitators. We will work with our partners at the Office of Public Engagement and Planning to provide key point summaries of each discussion session. Also, a notable aspect of the day will be the launch of our new harm reduction drug education curriculum project, titled “Drug Education Centred on Youth Decision Empowerment (DECYDE). Finally, we will hold a panel discussion that features reflections on the day from a knowledge user from the department of health, a local cannabis retailer and producer, a social worker and harm reduction advocate, a medical cannabis healthcare specialist, and a law enforcement representative.
There will be space for approximately 60 in-person attendees and 6 virtual attendees at this event. The backgrounds of attendees include (but are not limited to): knowledge users within the provincial government, representatives of regulatory bodies (i.e., the NLC), healthcare providers, educators, cannabis retailers and producers, medical cannabis patients, non-medical cannabis consumers, youth, and researchers. Notably, the honourable minister Tom Osborne will provide opening remarks at the symposium.
Overall, we hope that this Evidence-to-Policy symposium will be an opportunity for collaboration and engagement in meaningful discussions about cannabis in NL through a lived experience and public health and safety lens. We hope to utilise our research findings and these discussions to build frameworks for positive policy change that centres the public health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
Department of Health and Community Services, Gov NL
Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association (NLTA)
St. John's, NL
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addictions (CCSA)
Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP)
Memorial University of Newfoundland