Ottawa’s Board of Health has recommended that the legal age for buying cannabis should be 25, according to a report by the CBC. The suggestion is one of 33 outlined in a report by a federal task force aimed at establishing ways to minimize harm, and produce and distribute marijuana safely.
The minimum age recommendation was not a consensus among the health agencies, but it is in line with the opinion of the Canadian Health Association. Some agencies who contributed to the report thought that having different ages for purchasing cannabis and alcohol was unrealistic and hard to enforce.
According to Gillian Connelly, manager of health promotion and disease prevention with Ottawa Public Health, the age recommendation is based on scientific research and that an age higher than that to buy booze, 19 in Canada, reduces cannabis access for youth.
“One of the things that the research clearly demonstrates is that early access to cannabis can have detrimental effects for brain development and the brain develops up to age 25,” Connelly said in the report.
The department also suggested that the age restriction should be “coupled with rigorous enforcement and penalties.”
Additionally, the report suggests that retail prices are based on THC content and are increased based on inflation; capping potency, with dosage requirements for edibles, and labeling packaging with “evidence-based health warnings;” restricting advertising and packaging aimed at children; and adopting uniform production methods across the country.
OPH also suggests banning public use and having a separate medical cannabis sector, in which prices are regulated to guarantee the drug is accessible to patients.
The federal government is expected to announce plans for legalizing cannabis, along with their own recommendations, in the spring.