Article by Tonda MacCharles, The Toronto Star
Teens as young as 18 could soon be able to legally buy and smoke pot, even order it online, if a new report is adopted.
A federal task force has gone against the advice of Canada’s doctors and called for the national age for legalized recreational pot smoking to be set at 18.
The panel that studied a Liberal campaign promise on how to legalize marijuana says provinces that have a higher minimal age for alcohol consumption, like Ontario at 19, could match their legal pot smoking and drinking ages.
That’s still far lower than the Canadian Medical Association had urged based on fears of damage to teenage brains. Physicians say up to age 25, young brains are susceptible to harm even from occasional pot use. It suggested a strict minimum legal age of 21 could help protect youthful marijuana users while more research is done.
However the task force, saying it wanted to minimize harm, opted to recommend a broader legalization and regulatory regime.
It made a series of recommendations it hopes will discourage casual young users, boost research and treatment into the effects of cannabis use and improve the ability of law enforcement to detect drug-impaired driving.
Chaired by former Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, the nine-member task force makes 80 recommendations in a 106-page report released Tuesday.