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The past week has seen Canadians celebrate the dramatic transformation in both law and culture, many of who waited for their first pot deliveries with great anticipation.  Cannabis users both young and old – provided they had attained legal drinking age, which is 19 years in most provinces – qualified to join the pot movement. However, in the province of Quebec, the laws concerning the legal age of weed consumption may potentially soon increase to 21 years of age. Although three years more than the legal drinking age, authorities in the province argue that the amendment will benefit its youth. They support their argument with recent research which claims the use of weed among adolescents may result in development issues.

More Regulations Imposed

Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana, buying weed in Canada is still a hassle. Analyst Jason Zandberg of PI Financial says that marijuana producers may not be in a position to meet the high demand that is being experienced in the first weeks of legalization. He points out that many retail shops won’t be ready to sell legal weed due to the unreliable supply chain. Another issue that may make cannabis hard to find in Canada is the slow process of licensing cannabis producers.

Each province has come with its rules and regulations as far as the Cannabis Act is involved. Cultivating of cannabis will be legal in some provinces and illegal in others. For instance, Quebec is on the verge of implementing a law that will see the cultivation of homegrown cannabis banned. This regulation will apply despite the decision by the federal government to permit a maximum of 4 home-grown marijuana plants.

Still, in Quebec, the maximum amount of weed that a user can legally buy or possess at any given time is 150 grams. Weed smoking regulations are a bit similar to cigarette restrictions. For instance, Quebecois citizens can’t smoke weed in or near school properties, public buildings, facilities, or parks. The Quebecois government controls the sale of legal pot. The organization responsible for controlling the sale of weed is la Société Québécoise du cannabis (SQC), which operates under la Société des alcools du Québec. Many marijuana enthusiasts in Canada have voiced their complaints regarding the harshness of some of these regulations. However, provincial authorities continue to come up with amendments to the Cannabis Act to suit what they think is perfect for their citizens.

The countrywide legal age for weed consumption in Canada is 18, but that isn’t true in every province. Quebec plans to diverge from other provinces in Canada by illegalizing homegrown bud.  Initially, Quebecois politicians were comfortable with the legal age of 18, but now they believe they have a genuine reason to amend the age. Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard has in the past argued against increasing the age above the nationwide legal age. He claimed that if marijuana is not legal for youths between 18 and 21 years, they could turn to the black market. It now seems that the strategy has taken the opposite direction. By putting the legal age 2 years more than Ontario, where it is currently 19, lawmakers in Quebecois believe they will promote youth development. They argue that the use of cannabis among young people could put their cognitive development at risk.

Are the Kids Safe?

Kids are the center of this decision to adjust the minimum legal age. For politicians like Lionel Carmant, who is in charge of the Junior Health and Social Services docket, their goal is to make sure the government plays its role of protecting its citizens, particularly its young people, effectively. As a medical professional, Carmant mentions the risks of consuming the newly legal drug before age 25, pointing out that, there may be a likelihood of psychiatric disorders.

His views may have scientific backing from a recent study in Montreal that observed young individuals consuming both alcohol and marijuana. The researchers observed late responses, poor recall memory, and slower cognition in the sample population. Most worrying, they found out that marijuana had a worse impact on participants compared to alcohol. The findings of this study may push politicians to maintain the minimum drinking age at 18 while increasing the age for weed.

Although some studies have revealed negative effects on young people consuming marijuana, some have conflicting findings. Without a doubt, weed can slow cognitive functions and response time in regular pot users at young ages. However, these negative effects can go away completely if the pot user abstains from consumption for 72 hours.

Weed in Canada isn’t Perfect, But it Will Work

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Legalized marijuana in Canada isn’t perfect. Due to recent legalization, many issues surround cannabis in Canada. For instance, the country has the illegalized all weed-infused edibles. Another hot-button issue that the new cannabis act has brought up is whether the federal government will pardon hundreds of thousands of citizens with a criminal record for simple marijuana consumption.

Fortunately, the federal government has laid the foundation that every province can build upon when it comes to determining the fate of weed in their territory. How cannabis legalization and consumption will affect the youth is a topic at the top of the minds of politicians.

Canadian lawmakers should focus on keeping young people safe through appropriate cannabis education.  They should speed up implementation of laws that support the introduction of a comprehensive cannabis education program in schools. These new, straightforward curriculum’s should shift from the abstinence-only message. Instead, they should focus on offering thoughtful, truthful education on cannabis instead of painting it as an unsafe drug with health and legal effects. Moreover, it is imperative for all Canadians to hold an honest conversation about cannabis with their kids. They should be ready to talk about marijuana and new laws. Some Canadian cities understand that parents need help. For instance, Ottawa provides pot info assemblies for parents. Whether perfect or not, Canada sets a good example for other countries across the globe in its newly approved cannabis law.