Pubdate: Sat, 12 Mar 2016
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network
Author: Bill Kaufmann
Page: A7


Government Should Look Closely at Research Before Deciding to 
Legalize Marijuana Use

With research showing harmful effects of marijuana on developing 
adolescent brains, Ottawa should tread carefully in how it legalizes 
the drug, including considering 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 how regular marijuana use negatively affects adolescents many 
ways should colour the debate over the cannabis legalization.

Knowledge cannabis affects the developing brain until age 25 should 
influence 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?" Tibbo asked.

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.

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

"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."

Vaccarino said a trend in the 1980s to view drug risks seriously led 
to lower use of certain substances and a dark public perception of 
their use. That has since been reversed, he added.
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