Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, December 16, 2016
Trudeau Comfortable With Minimum Age Of 18 To Buy Legal Pot
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks Canadians old enough to drink alcohol are old enough to smoke marijuana legally.
Trudeau made the comment a press conference in Ottawa Thursday, days after a federal task force on marijuana legalization recommended the national minimum age to buy recreational marijuana be set at 18. The report also suggested provinces and territories be permitted to raise the age to harmonize with alcohol consumption laws.
In most provinces, the legal drinking age is 19. In Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta, the age limit is 18.
The Canadian Medical Association had urged the task force to recommend a minimum age of 21, pointing to evidence that brains are still developing until the age of 25.
The prime minister, who has long said pot legalization is about keeping the drug away from children and profits away from criminals, told reporters the task force’s recommendation felt like a “reasonable” compromise.
“We know the largest misdeeds of marijuana use happens at a lower age than 18, 19 years of age, and I think this is a responsible approach that we have found in terms of balance that is both practical and useful,” he said in French.
The task force, chaired by former Liberal justice minister Anne McLellan, acknowledged in its report that there are a range of views on the right age to be able to buy legal pot.
Setting the age too high risks “preserving the illicit market,” the report reads, and raising the possibility young Canadians will face criminal records since “the highest rates of use are in the 18 to 24 age range.”
The report also said a minimum age of 25, as recommended by the CMA, was “unrealistic” and would force many young Canadians to turn to the black market. (Source: Huffington Post)