Program and policy interventions can create conditions for “natural experiments” that represent rich but often untapped sources of information for comparing processes and outcomes, sharing lessons learned, and applying this knowledge to new and/or ongoing program and policy decisions. Population health intervention research involves the use of scientific methods to produce knowledge that attempts to capture the value, cost, and differential effects of these interventions, the processes by which they bring about change, and the contexts within which they work best. Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers are encouraged to work together to build the evidence base to support policy and program development and decision-making in health and other sectors.
Given the potential health and social implications of legalization and regulation, this funding opportunity will catalyse future population health intervention research involving new cannabis legalisation in Canada (i.e., the legalization and regulation of non-medical cannabis is the intervention to be studied). This initiative is an initial step aimed at supporting researchers to lay the foundation upon which to develop studies on the impact of cannabis legislation in Canada.
With the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada as the intervention under study, this funding opportunity will support the planning or implementation of projects relevant to advancing our knowledge or capacity in the following identified priority areas:
- Collection of data (both health and non-health) for the purpose of research that is relevant to cannabis consumption (both medical and non-medical), health/social outcomes related to cannabis consumption, or demographic and social characteristics of cannabis consumers (e.g., age, sex, gender, geography, socioeconomic status, indigenous status, and other social determinants of health).
- Developing data infrastructure related to the collection, storage, linkage, harmonization, sharing, and analysis of the above data.
- Surveillance, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of cannabis use as well as relevant health and social outcomes, building on new or existing data platforms.
- Understanding how specific groups may be impacted by the legalization and regulation of cannabis (e.g., youth, indigenous peoples, persons living with mental health issues or addictions) from a health and health equity perspective and what future interventions or strategies are best for maximizing benefits and minimizing harms amongst those groups (e.g., education, prevention, treatment).
- Understand how sex and/or gender may further affect the impact of cannabis legalization and regulation on health and other outcomes.
- Evaluating the federal and/or provincial governments’ chosen regulatory models for the implementation of cannabis policies, programs, and practices and generating evidence to inform the evolution of these activities in the future.