Research to Policy Dragon’s Den 2017

2017 Edition ***CANCELLED***

Please note that this event has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience.

In the 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberal party led by Justin Trudeau promised to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.” In early April 2017, the Liberals took a giant step toward fulfilling that promise, introducing a bill aimed at regulating the recreational use, sale and cultivation of marijuana, along with a second bill to bring marijuana use under the ambit of the impaired driving laws.

From May 29-June 2 2017, the Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP), located at McGill University in Montreal, will be hosting its third annual summer policy workshop, focusing on the plan to legalize marijuana in Canada.

The program is a unique training opportunity for participants to do an intensive, deep dive on a pressing policy challenge.  Mentored by a select group of academics, policy, practice and media experts, participants will work in teams to develop a concrete proposal for policy change and an effective strategy for putting it into place. 


  • International and cross-disciplinary research and policy approaches to the central challenges of marijuana legalization.
  • Team development of concrete proposals for marijuana policy at all levels of government, supported by expert mentors.
  • Discussions with policymakers, practitioners and/or community leaders to validate and refine policy proposals.
  • A field trip to a medical marijuana production facility.
  • Team development of strategies for reaching and influencing policymakers and the media, supported by expert mentors.
  • Dragon’s Den! Team pitching of policy proposal to prominent policy and media leaders.

This is a non-credit training open to advanced students, practitioners and policymakers.

Participation fee: $250 CAD.  A limited number of travel bursaries are available. 

Please note:  No prior experience or knowledge of marijuana policy is required to participate in this program.

To Apply, please send an email with a brief statement of interest to: ihspdragonsden.ihsp [at]

Program Objectives


Based on the IHSP’s proven standards as a multidisciplinary centre for research and training on issues of health and social policy and moving evidence to policy, this unique program provides training in: 

  • Using research to impact policy
  • Working and thinking across sectors and disciplines
  • Developing policy proposals at community, local, provincial and national levels
  • Validating and refining policy proposals with input from practice and policy experts and from individuals who would be impacted by the policy
  • “Selling” an idea to prominent policy, practice, community and media leaders

Participants will be mentored by a cross-disciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, experienced journalists and policy leaders from all levels of government.

Workshop poster