Health ministers to talk cannabis, opioids during Edmonton meeting

Canada’s health ministers will discuss the ongoing opioid crisis and the pending legalization of cannabis when they kick off a two-day meeting in Edmonton Thursday.

Deaths from opioid abuse are expected to surpass 3,000 this year, and the ministers say they need to compare notes on what is working and not working in other jurisdictions.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor is to deliver an update Friday on plans to legalize recreational use of cannabis by July 1.

REALITY CHECK: Marijuana shortages will plague first year or so of legalization

Premiers and police organizations have warned that it’s an ambitious timeline that requires significant help from Ottawa.

The federal government has set 18 as the minimum legal age to use cannabis, although provinces are free to set the age higher.

READ MORE: Alberta government details pot plan, proposes 18 as minimum age

Some ministers say they are concerned, given studies suggest cannabis can impact brain development in youth and legalizing marijuana can lead to more youth taking up smoking.

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