Canada’s Liberal Task Force that is investigating just how cannabis should be legalized has released what they believe is the right age limit. Currently, the provinces have been in charge of setting a legal age limit for alcohol and tobacco. Half of the country has it set at 19, while the other half is 18.
With this discrepancy, the Task Force wanted to avoid having the varying ages throughout the provinces and has recommended that the age limit should be set at 18 nationwide.
It seems that their rationale behind the lower age limit has been well researched and actually makes a lot of sense.
The Task Force had taken a noble approach to figuring out why 18 could be the best age to legally buy recreational cannabis. They actually talked to Canadian youth.
This is important because young adults aged between 18 and 24 actually have the highest rates of cannabis use in the country. So they went right to the source, and their findings were quite positive.
The Task Force heard broad support for establishing a minimum age for the sale of cannabis. However, the youth with whom we spoke did not believe that setting a minimum age alone would prevent their peers from using cannabis.
Somewhat obvious, but it’s good that the government knows that setting a high minimum age for purchasing cannabis won’t affect consumption.
We heard from many participants that setting the minimum age too high risked preserving the illicit market, particularly since the highest rates of use are in the 18 to 24 age range. A minimum age that was too high also raised concerns of further criminalization of youth, depending on the approach to enforcement.
This statement is the most important for understanding what would happen if an age limit of 25 was introduced. Simply put, if the populous that smokes the most amount of cannabis is cut out of the legal recreational market, they only have one other option.
Huge amounts of black market sales would continue and instead of the profits going to dispensaries and tax funds, it will be funneled into the pockets of dealers.
Others argued that, for the sake of clarity and symmetry, the minimum age for purchasing cannabis should be aligned with the current provincial and territorial ages for sales of alcohol and tobacco.
Many suggested that 18 was a well-established milestone in Canadian society marking adulthood. – The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation
If all goes according to plan when passing legislation, the Canadian age to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis should be 18. Let’s just say youth tourism from the US might skyrocket in the coming years.