The implementation of Canada’s Cannabis Act is deep into the implementation process. After watching this process in Oregon, I can only imagine how long the roll out might take in entire country (as opposed to one state). One piece of the Cannabis Act that has not been given much attention so far is the fact that the country would allow anyone 18 and older to use cannabis. This is quite different from the U.S., where all of our legalized adult-use/recreational marijuana laws only allow for people ages 21 and older to consume cannabis.
Canada’s Cannabis Act definitely calls for strict regulation regarding youth, however, stating that no person could sell or provide cannabis to any person under the age of 18 and that if one is found giving or selling cannabis to youth or using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offense, they could receive maximum criminal penalties of 14 years in jail.
Additionally, in order to prevent youth from using cannabis, the Act would also prohibit products, packaging, or labeling that are appealing to youth, selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines, or promoting/advertising cannabis (except where the promotion could not be seen by youth).
While still tightly regulated, there are still mixed opinions about the age at which young people should be able to consume cannabis, particularly if it is being done so for recreational purposes (rather than medical).
According to Paste, Senator Jonathan Singer of Colorado would like to see the age in his own state lowered to 18. Repeating the feelings of many young adults, Singer said, “If you are old enough to go to war then you should be old enough to be trusted to use a recreational substance.” He added that lowering the age to 18 would help reduce widespread underage use.
There is no doubt that outcomes from the results of this Canadian cannabis roll-out could influence the future of marijuana legalization in America. We will wait and see!