Lowering the legal age for marijuana use will help to improve prevention, safety and education for young people.As the public debate on legalization of cannabis in Canada gains momentum, one of Bill C-45’s most contentious recommendations is to set the age of 18 as the floor for access. Because provinces have jurisdiction, we may see variations in the law when it is implemented across Canada.
I am one of a few vocal advocates for a harmonized policy with the age of access set at 18 years. I am a youth substance-use researcher with a PhD in behavioural health sciences and addiction studies. I have studied adolescent cannabis and tobacco use for more than a decade, and currently co-lead the TRACE program to understand teen cannabis culture.
Based on this, I believe a lower age is better for two key reasons: It will help to divert youth from illicit markets, and it will prompt an earlier start for cannabis prevention and education.