Municipal regulation of cannabis and public health in Canada: A comparison of Alberta, Ontario, and Québec
Canada legalized nonmedical cannabis in October 2018, but significant variations in municipal regulations exist. This study explored the variations that exist and pondered their potential public health consequences. A comparative analysis was completed on the regulations and guidelines that addressed retailers' location and public consumption in the municipalities of Alberta, Ontario, and Québec. Municipal regulations that addressed the location of retailers were more numerous and extensive in Alberta and Ontario (in the context of provincial private retail models) than in Québec (government-based model). Municipalities in Alberta added more restrictions to public consumption laws as compared to municipalities in Ontario and in Québec. These additions were made to Alberta's and Ontario's provincial-level smoking and vaping bans which used tobacco-inspired frameworks, and to Québec's ban on smoking and vaping in all public spaces. The comparative analysis showed the importance of considering municipal cannabis regulations when studying the impact of legalization, given the significant variations that exist. Policy makers should be made aware of these variations in the regulation of cannabis in order to limit health harms and further social inequalities.