• The Legalization of Cannabis: How can First Nations communities get ready?
Oct 03, 2018

In May 2018, more than 80 interveners and representatives from 25 First Nations communities and several organizations (the Youth Network, the Institut Tshakapesh, Quebec Native Women, treatment centres, Native Friendship Centres, etc.) took part in a regional meeting entitled Cannabis: A Topic that Concerns Us All. During this meeting, participants voiced their concerns about the legalization of cannabis and identified avenues for education and prevention efforts for First Nations. Participants emphasized the importance of involving all stakeholders and working with leaders, band administrators, elders and youth, schools, the police forces, interveners and all the communities’ members.


Here are a few of the suggestions for how to prepare for the legalization of cannabis and how to launch public education and prevention efforts in our communities:


  • Organize focus groups that target participants by group (e.g. 12–17 year-olds, 18–25 year-olds, parents, etc.) to provide them with adapted information about the legalization of cannabis (possession, use, growing, etc.).
  • Solicit the cooperation of various community sectors and interveners to educate the population about the effects of cannabis and the substances it contains.
  • Develop tools and training sessions to promote healthy behaviours among young people and encourage them to use cannabis safely.
  • Train community interveners and professionals (public safety, nurses, educational advisors, etc.).
  • Discuss your community’s current situation and prevention needs for cannabis use, and draw up a community action plan.
  • Publish information capsules in your community on social media and via other means of communication, such as community radio or website.


Communities and organizations are invited to consult and use the guide Cannabis: A tool for discussion in Indigenous communities. This informative tool spurs community dialogue by proposing 10 different approaches. To receive your copy, please contact Natacha Hervieux, Wellness and Addiction Prevention Advisor, at 418-842-1540, ext. 2806, or nhervieux@cssspnql.com.