In an effort to stop Canada’s black market for marijuana, the nation will set the legal age to use marijuana at 18, instead of 21. Those that support the decision say that an age threshold of 21 would leave ample room for a billion dollar black market to operate.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair oversees Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s marijuana legalization plan, reports ABC News. Canada’s task force found that 18 – 24 year olds have the highest marijuana use rate, so setting the age limit too high would only preserve the black market.
Blair said, “Taking this business away from them I think is an obligation.”
Health experts aren’t exactly on board with that idea.
Dr. Granger Avery of the Canadian Medical Association said, “Our recommendation is still to postpone as old as possible, ideally after 25.”
Christina Grant of McMaster University Ontario says that legalization will lead to more marijuana use by youths that think it’s not harmful. She said, “One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships.”
Colorado State Representative Jonathan Singer said, “If you are old enough to go to war then you should be old enough to be trusted to use a recreational substance.”
Singer supports Colorado lowering its legal age to use, possess, purchase marijuana to 18 too. He thinks it would help put a stop to the black market.
Canada’s Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said, “No product is without risk.” She mentioned that alcohol and tobacco are legal but pose serious health risks. “Just because a product is legal it does not mean it is advisable or recommended to use that product.”
David Hammond of the University of Waterloo says the Canadian government needs to focus on educating young people regarding the health risks of marijuana use. He did say, though, that those wanting to increase the legal marijuana age to 25 should do the same for alcohol and tobacco.
Hammond said, “It will be hard to argue that legalizing won’t normalize it to some extent. You are loosening the restrictions.”