Article by Hamilton Spectator
Considering that the Trudeau government already has a growing problem with election promises, the last thing it wants is to wobble on marijuana legalization, which will come to fruition sometime in early to mid-2017. A task force, bureaucrats and politicians are working a legislative framework to go before Parliament next spring with a rollout plan to follow.
But there are a couple of large flashing yellow lights on the road to legalization that the government needs to come to grips with first.
First is modern pot potency and its impact on the human brain, particularly in people 25 and under, whose brains are not yet fully developed. This is not your father’s marijuana. It contains much higher levels of THC — the strongest and most addictive element. New and frightening research suggests frequent and prolonged use is more likely to trigger severe mental health issues and illness in those predisposed than previously thought. And heavy use is increasingly linked to cognition issues, anxiety and depression.
Some argue this is a reason to reconsider legalization, but there’s a big stopper in that position — the status quo, in which growing numbers of the most vulnerable people are using modern pot without regulation, and without adequate understanding of the risks. Legalization with regulation offers the opportunity to take some control over potency. If, for example, the legal age ends up being 18, potency could be legislated for legal buyers under 25 to mitigate health risks. This isn’t about stopping or promoting marijuana use — that’s already endemic in the population, particularly young people. Appropriate regulation, which can only happen with legalization, can almost be equated with harm reduction strategies. At any rate we can’t go forward with legalization until this is dealt with.