October 29, 2018, Quebec
The last fortnight in Canada was all about celebrating the nationwide legalization of cannabis. The strain becoming a legal commodity is indeed a momentous milestone for the law and cultural history of the country. Adult Canadian cannabis consumers of all ages were eagerly waiting for October 17 to use the strain unabashedly and without any apprehensions of legal prosecution.
It is worth mentioning that the rules pertaining to cannabis legalization are a provincial matter, as prescribed by the Federal Cannabis Act. For that matter, deciding the legal age for the use of cannabis will continue to rest with the administration of each province. As of now, the majority of provinces have set the legal cannabis use age of 18, same as it is for alcohol.
However, regulators in Quebec have some other plans. It has been reported that the province is going to raise the legal age limit for cannabis consumption to 21. As per the rationale pushed by the administration, the decision has been taken to serve the youth of the province in a better manner. They have based this decision on a recent research work that suggests that the use of cannabis in adolescents can lead to some developmental issues.
Provinces are molding the legislation accordingly
The power given by the Cannabis Act to formulate their own rules and regulations has been on full display in many provinces. Ontario, for instance, has set the legal age of 19 for cannabis use. In addition, it looks like Quebec is making the most of this jurisdictional power. Apart from deciding to set the legal age of 21, the province has also adopted a local legislation draft to ban home cultivation of the plant. It is important to note that the federal legislation allows the domestic cultivation of up to four cannabis plants.
Quebec’s age saga
Quebec initially agreed to set 18 as the legal age for consuming cannabis. However, after realizing the detrimental side of cannabis for kids, the administration has decided to revise its decision. A recent study conducted in Montreal also played a significant role in moving the administration to increase the legal age.
This study is centered on the use of alcohol and marijuana among teens and concludes that the consumption of both of these psychoactive elements has detrimental effects on the mental health of young people. Poor memory recall, slower cognitive activity, and late response are the recurring problems among the young cohort using alcohol and marijuana.
Cannabis advocates have also responded to the findings of this study. They admit that the use of cannabis affects cognition function of younger people, but maintains that these effects are temporary and go away after 72 hours.
The legalization scenario in Canada is not ideal, but then nothing is. Every new development of this immense scale faces initial hiccups. But, all the problematic stuff is eventually ironed out when put through the sieve of trial and error. And advocates are hoping the same for the legalization in Canada.