The Ottawa health unit’s advice to the federal government on how to legalize marijuana is meant to be scientific, not political, which explains a lot about it.
Scientifically speaking, you really shouldn’t smoke or eat pot for fun, and that’s what Ottawa Public Health’s submission to the federal task force on legalizing pot for fun reflects. The task force is collecting opinions, as part of the Liberals’ plan to bring in legalization legislation in the new year.
The quick summary of Ottawa Public Health’s view: Take the restrictions we have on cigarettes (no advertising, plain packages, warning labels), plus the restrictions we have on alcohol (government monopoly sales, strict production and content standards, regulated prices, dosage labelling, no driving while high). And then add some more.
Gillian Connelly, the health unit’s manager of health promotion, said Wednesday that the submission is based strictly on science. For instance, research has made it clear that pot is bad for young brains, she said, so the health advice is to keep pot out of young people’s hands. “The minimum age for purchasing and possessing marijuana should be 25,” the health unit advises.
It’s a highly, highly restrictive vision. Whether it would turn out to be a viable way to regulate legal pot use is questionable at best, given that total prohibition is a massive failure, which is why we’re having this discussion in the first place.