FORSETH – What happened to ‘scientific evidence’ for legal age on pot?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, like a kid in a candy store. (Image: CPAC)

AT THE AGE of 18, without parental consent, what legal rights do individuals in British Columbians have?

Well it’s pretty minimal. Basically you have the right to vote in a municipal, provincial, or federal general election.

However, without parental consent, you must wait until the age of 19 for the following rights as an individual:

• to get married

• to get a drivers license

• to join the Armed Forces

• to purchase alcoholic beverages

• and to purchase tobacco products

As many are aware, this week,  the federal government announced it will be making it legal to purchase pot (cannabis) by July 1 of next year; the wheels are fully engaged to have that happen by that date.  So then, at what age has the Justin Trudeau Liberal government decided that Canadians will be able to purchase cannabis/ marijuana?

Despite repeated warning from the Canadian Psychiatric Association, urging the federal Liberal government to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase cannabis, the age will be set at 18.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association actually went further than suggesting an age of 21.  They also wanted to restrict the quantity, and potency, of cannabis products that young people would be able to be purchase while still between the ages of 21 to 25.

The (CMA) was also in agreement stating strict regulation, and a minimum age to purchase of 21, be implemented as well.

And both the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Medical Association set those ages based on solid scientific evidence regarding brain development.  A submission by the CMA stated, “Since that development is only finalized by about 25 years of age, this would be an ideal minimum age based on currently accepted scientific evidence.

Last year, Health Minister Jane Philpott told the UN General Assembly in New York, “I am proud to stand up for our drug policy that is informed by solid scientific evidence and uses a lens of public health to maximize education and minimize harm.

If that was the case, then why have the guidelines changed over the past 12 months?  Changed from a government minister stating legislation would be guided by ‘solid scientific evidence’ … to instead preparing legislation that will allow the purchase of pot at the age of 18?

It certainly seems, as noted above, that all other major rights have been settled at least at the age of 19, and those rights make a lot of sense — they have also  stood the test of time.

Meantime, Justin Trudeau carries on, in government, like a child gone wild in a candy store, spending money recklessly, and enacting legislation (such as what is about to happen around purchasing pot), with no real though to future consequences.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada, the B.C. Reform Party and the B.C. Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

About Mel Rothenburger (9641 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on FORSETH – What happened to ‘scientific evidence’ for legal age on pot?

  1. The CPA and CMA are mentioned suggesting an age near 25 where the brain is finished developing, which is 7 years more development than the government figure of 18, that has no mention of brain development stages. With approximately 1/3 of it’s growth / development ahead of it would we say a cake, cookie, wine, wheel, pump, motor, airplane is beyond influence by this last third of its development process. Looks like greed for tax dollars and “freedom” wins again.
    Where is common sense?

  2. Your reinterpreting the facts Alan, and your argument is pure rhetoric.

    This federal age law, creates a federal law that limits the age to the youngest drinking age in Canada. Purchase of Alcohol is provincial in jurisdiction regarding age, some are 18, most are 19. No different to tobacco products, 18 via Health Canada, 19 in many provinces. With the proposed federal increase of tobacco to 21, I would not be surprised to see pot take the same step eventually.

    By making this initially 18, it allows the province latitude to incorporate sales through established retail locations, utilizing staff that are trained and accustomed to requiring ID. If provinces choose to increase this age, they can.

    I’m not arguing the dangers of pot use in youth that are too young. I am not debating the health risk at all. I am debating that your argument from the perspective of federal responsibility is misplaced and simply wrong.

    This is all provincial jurisdiction. If you don’t like the age of availability that is offered in your home province … any province, take it up with the province. None of this is directly within the purview of the federal government, which does not regulate and license retail sales. That is the responsibility of the provinces. The real federal responsibility is legislation and enforcement via the criminal court (driving under the influence, trafficking and import/export via Canada in this case), and law enforcement directives and training (RCMP), as well as federal laws regarding advertising and packaging etc. EVERYTHING regarding sales and licensing to do so, is provincial.

    All the feds did was set a standard that the provinces must start at, like smoking. If BC want to make it 21 … or 25, so be it, it is welcome to, and a province can actually refuse to allow sales as well. Lets ask our campaigning provincial politicians where they stand on it, and vote accordingly.

    Jumping all over the federal government, on an issue it does not inherently control on the ground, is pointless and just soundbite rhetoric. You have fallen for the noise, and forgotten how jurisdictional law and regulation works in Canada.
    Maybe a little more research before you cut/paste?

    • Alan Forseth // April 16, 2017 at 8:45 AM // Reply

      No cut and paste. You want fact? Then I seriously recommend you read this report released less than one week ago. It’s as legit as you can get.

      • Alan Forseth // April 16, 2017 at 8:52 AM //

        Sorry got away before I was done. I DO NOT buy your arguement the age issue isn’t something the government doesn’t control. That’s pure crap and you know it. If that was the case, why was there a need for an age to be set at all for purchases to be made? And yes, I know, this is a seperate issue from legislation around criminal offences which will also be put in place

      • “I DO NOT buy your argument the age issue isn’t something the government doesn’t control.” Never said that, and I have no idea how you pulled that from my comment. My point revolves entirely around ‘WHICH’ govt has the final say regarding age issues. Both alcohol and tobacco ages are set by the provinces, not the feds. A difference between those two is alcohol has no federal age, but smoking does, yet most provinces sets it higher than the federal age of 18, as they are free to do so and will be free to do so with this as well.

        “why was there a need for an age to be set at all for purchases to be made?” Health Canada via legislation created the smoking age from a health perspective, and this is being treated the same way, which is possibly the only direction that the feds can take, as they have jurisdiction over health legislation, but not a lot regarding product manufacture, sales and retail. Tobacco is an oddity, but they can under Health Canada (within health legislation) can control advertising, packaging, taxation and even product placement in stores (tobacco behind doors out of view), but that’s all they can do. I expect the same done here by the time it hits the stores.
        Every other product sales regulation regarding tobacco, alcohol and pretty much everything else we buy, is provincial jurisdiction. You can not deny this.

        The history lesson one liner is; if there is a proven health risk from product use, the feds will create an age and other standards as listed above (and use taxation as both a revenue stream as well as a deterrence). There is no other product (from my memory anyway) that the federal govt has set an age, and there is no other product outside of Health Canada’s control that they can control directly in this way (guns just came to mind, but thats linked to criminal law, so it makes sense).

        All this … is repeating myself, as you seem to have misunderstood what I wrote. I politely ask you to read it again from the intended perspective.

        I used the word rhetoric from the point of … we all know the health risks as detailed in your (very legit) link, no argument. But the link and your column argues that the federal government has final responsibility, and legally, in our commonwealth … it does not. So blaming the federal govt is pointless and rhetorical. The direction of your writing completely negated the point of jurisdiction … and that was my only point.

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