Task force will consult across the country with experts in various fields
By Gilda Salomone, MUHC Public Affairs
World-renowned pain specialist and medical cannabis researcher Dr. Mark Ware, director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), has been nominated vice-chair of an important federal task force that will provide guidance to the Canadian government as it prepares to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in spring 2017.
Dr. Ware, who is also an associate professor of Family Medicine and Anesthesia at McGill and a scientist in the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program of the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC), has been studying the use, safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis for the last 16 years. He is also involved in population-based studies on the impact of pain and the evaluation of complementary therapies in pain and symptom management.
“As a physician and researcher, I am aware of the important issues that health professionals of Canada will have to consider regarding cannabis use,” says Dr. Ware. “I have a balanced view of the subject and a strong ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders.”
Led by former cabinet minister Anne McLellan, the task force, which was announced by the federal government today, will consult across the country with experts in various fields and make recommendations with respect to the production, distribution, retail and consumption of marijuana.
Dr. Ware praises Canada’s intention to take a leadership role on the world stage to regulate cannabis. “The model of prohibition has been unsuccessful in controlling cannabis use and in adequately identifying and preventing harms,” he said. “It has also created an enormous black market that is impossible to regulate. I think this a very positive and important step globally.”