Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jul 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Rob Ferguson
Page: A6


EDMONTON - Ontario is on track to set the legal age for recreational
marijuana use at 19, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.

Wynne told the Star the age of majority should be the same for pot as
it is for booze once the federal government legalizes cannabis next
July 1.

"I have a hard time imagining Ontario will have a lower age for pot
than we do for alcohol," she said in an interview at the close of the
annual premiers' conference here.

The legal age for drinking beer, wine and spirits has been set at 19
in Ontario since 1978.

It's impractical for the province to have a higher legal age for
consuming cannabis than for alcohol, the premier added.

"I think that would be a challenge," Wynne said, as a smoky haze from
British Columbia forest fires blanketed Alberta's capital. Her
comments came as Ontario holds online consultations at, where citizens can fill out a survey until July
31, and through public hearings as the province develops its strategy.

As other provinces have, Ontario must decide where cannabis will be
sold and where it can be used; set an age of majority and protect both
road safety and public health.

The online survey asks participants a number of questions: if they
support 19 as the age of majority for marijuana; if landlords and
condo boards should be able to restrict pot smoking on their premises;
whether cannabis should be sold through government or private
retailers or a mixture of both, and whether stronger penalties are
needed for drug-impaired driving.

Wynne said she is keeping a close eye on what standards Quebec will
set, given that the two provinces share a boundary easily crossed by
thousands of people every day, particularly in the Ottawa-Gatineau

"It must be the case," Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said at the
premiers' conference, when asked if Ontario and his province should
establish the same age of majority for cannabis.

Couillard quipped "imagine the traffic" imagining the circumstances if
the ages were different, in light of the fact that several bridges
connect the nation's capital to Quebec across the Ottawa River.

Quebec's legal drinking age is now set at 18, a year lower than
Ontario's and that of most other provinces. Alberta and Manitoba have
also set 18 as their age of majority for alcohol.

A federal task force last year recommended 18 as the minimum legal age
for recreational cannabis product and said Ontario and other provinces
may want to set the age to 19 to match its age of majority for alcohol.

The Canadian Medical Association called for a minimum age of 21 for
legal consumption of marijuana, saying its use at younger ages can
damage teenagers' brains.
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