Pubdate: Thu, 09 Feb 2017
Source: Charlatan, The (CN ON Edu)
Copyright: 2017 Charlatan Publications Inc.
Author: Sarah Macfarlane


Carleton students shared their opinions on upcoming pot regulations,
Sarah Macfarlane wrote.

The federal government is on track to legalize marijuana later this
year, which has some people debating the minimum age one should be
able to use and possess the drug legally.

A task force appointed by the government to investigate cannabis
legalization released a list of recommendations from its final report
in December, suggesting that cannabis should only be sold to people
who are 18 or older.

While some believe the drug is comparable to alcohol and should be
given similar rules, others are concerned about the effects of
marijuana on the brains of users under the age of 25.

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP), an organization
devoted to educating and empowering youth in regards to the
legalization, has recommended age restrictions around cannabis be "as
low as possible," without exceeding legal drinking ages across the

Jenna Valleriani, a strategic advisor for CSSDP, said she fully
supports legalization.

"I believe legalization is where progressive drug policy needs to
move, prioritizing harm reduction and realistic drug education,"
Valleriani said.

"Often we hear a lot about 'protecting youth,' but oftentimes those
are the initiatives which do more harm to youth than good. Youth
should not be worse off under legalization than they are under
prohibition," she added.

Students from Carleton University weighed in on the potential age
restrictions surrounding marijuana legalization.

Andrew Flores, third-year computer science

"I support the legalization of marijuana because I believe in adults
having the right to choose what they put in their bodies," Flores said.

"I think it should be left to the provinces to regulate the age, as is
done with alcohol. The more localized regulation can be done, the
better it will suit the communities," Flores added. "If any rules must
be made, I'd like to see it in making abuse and addiction support
services more available."

Julia MacKinnon, second-year neuroscience

MacKinnon said she thinks pot should be restricted to people 25 and

"Scientists aren't trying to take away smokers freedom by raising it
to 25 . . . It's a health measure. THC is a very potent chemical and
no one really understands the impacts it has on the brain," she said.
"Many frequent smokers, after years of smoking, have ended up saying
they've developed anxiety disorders, have panic attacks, and even
hallucinations [and] schizophrenic symptoms."

MacKinnon said legalization should come with serious

She said there should be "restricted access to it, so that the chance
of young children [and] preteens getting access to the drug is
extremely unlikely."

Zack Budge, third-year environmental science

"I am [in support of the legalization]. The medical benefits have been
more or less proven through research and trials, and the economic
benefits would be exponential . . . the state of Colorado generated
millions in the first year of recreational sales to adults over 21,"
Budge said.

He said he believes the minimum age should be 18.

"[It] would generate much more money and provide legal access to kids
who will smoke one way or another, [and] minimize the black market,"
he said.

Tim Coxford, second-year physical geography and geomatics

Coxford said he is "absolutely in support of legalization."

"I believe it's a better alternative to alcohol. I would also prefer
to see money spent on marijuana go to the government rather than some
grower that could be located in any number of places around the
world," he said.

He said he thinks 19 would be the "ideal age" to legally purchase

"This keeps it off limits to high school students, while making it
available to most of the people who voted for its legalization to
begin with," he said. "I also think that all the money the government
makes off of the sale of marijuana should be publicly [available], and
how they spend that money should be explained to the general public."

Casandra Barrett, first-year humanities

Barrett said she is concerned about legalization.

"Legalizing [cannabis] is going to open it up to becoming heavily
regulated and extremely overpriced. Right now, with decriminalized
weed, I don't have to worry about going to jail for having weed on me,
and I can get weed without having to pay taxes or provide ID," Barrett

"The buying and selling of weed products and paraphernalia is all
literally based on a love of weed and weed culture. All legalization
is likely to do is alienate the people that have been profiting off of
it and going to jail for it ever since it was first criminalized," she
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