Pubdate: Sat, 12 Mar 2016
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Bill Kaufmann
Page: 18


With research showing harmful effects of marijuana on developing 
adolescent brains, Ottawa should tread carefully in how it legalizes 
the drug, including consideration of a high minimum age for usage, a 
panel on substance abuse said Friday.

Two members of a panel speaking in Calgary said updated research 
about the ways regular marijuana use negatively affects adolescents 
in numerous ways should colour the debate over the cannabis 
legalization promised by the new Liberal government.

Knowledge that cannabis affects the developing brain until age 25 
should influence any legalization age restrictions, said Dr. Philip 
Tibbo, director of the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis program.

"With a drinking age at, say, 18, does that mean we have to have the 
same age for cannabis as well?" said Tibbo.

The increasing content of cannabis' active ingredient, THC, 
complicates regulating the drug, said Dr. Franco Vaccarino, a 
chairman of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, which hosted 
Friday's discussion.

"What percentage of THC are we talking about?" said Vaccarino.

"Given the increasing amount of knowledge, we owe it to ourselves to 
elevate the conversations - there's not one simple thing we're 
talking about in legalization."

Social acceptance of marijuana use, particularly among the young, has 
reached troubling proportions driven largely by the discussion 
surrounding it, said Dr. Kim Corace of the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

"In my discussions with them, they believe marijuana use is already 
legal," she said.
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