Earlier this year, the Canadian Medical Association conducted a survey amongst thousands of its members in a bid to uncover how they felt the recreational marijuana market should be accessed and what products should be made available.
Naturally, findings varied from doctor to doctor, however, the results were compiled into a submission, which was sent to the marijuana task force along with a long list of suggestions.
One of the most prominent concerns was what the age limit will be for people purchasing the drug. This is an area of legislation that must be carefully considered. After all, the main goal of legalising recreational cannabis is to quash the black market, but if age restrictions are set too high, then underage users will use illegal dealers to access the drug, thus making the entire legalisation process counterproductive.
In the submission, the Canadian Medical Association said that they would like to see the legal limit set at 25 years of age because brain development continues until around that time. However, they stated that the age of 21 would be acceptable if the goal is to keep young people from buying the drug illegally.
It was also noted that, in all of the US states where recreational cannabis has already been legalised, the legal age was set at 21.
The CMA also suggested that the amount of marijuana a user can buy should be set to discourage people from sharing it with people who are underage. They also felt that the potency of the weed should be taken into account. However, once again this raises the issue that, if users aren’t able to buy enough or strong enough weed to make them high, they will once again turn to the black market.
The report also stated that the legal age of 21 should be a national standard, unlike the Provincial system of alcohol regulation, which sees some areas of the country permitting alcohol consumption at 18, whilst in others it’s 19.
Other points of interest from the submission include a possible phase-in period of legal cannabis, rather than legalising it everywhere all at once. The CMA also proposed a database of marijuana-related Emergency Room visits, as well as a ban on marketing marijuana, similar to the bans already in place on marketing alcohol and tobacco.
According to the submission, cannabis dispensaries were the second most popular choice in regards to where cannabis should be sold, just behind non-healthcare businesses such as liquor stores.
Interestingly, in the submission as well as in the survey itself, the CMA did not provide an opinion on whether or not marijuana should actually be legalised at all. After all, it is already happening so their opinion one way or another would make no difference. They did, however, state that the current system isn’t working and that there is “considerable harm to society” by giving people criminal records for non-violent drug offences, not to mention feeding the black market.