Pubdate: Thu, 14 Sep 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Andy Blatchford
Page: 8


OTTAWA - Youth health experts are warning the federal government that
its push to legalize recreational cannabis should be accompanied by
extensive public-education and prevention campaigns that spell out the
serious risks of pot consumption on adolescent brains.

Parliamentarians heard this message numerous times Wednesday during a
House of Commons committee hearing to study the Trudeau government's
legislation to legalize marijuana.

Ottawa plans to legalize cannabis for adults 18 and older within 10
months, but some provinces and police services have warned the federal
timeline is far too tight for them to properly prepare for such a
major change.

Now, the government is facing demands to do everything possible to
ensure young Canadians and their parents are ready for

Several witnesses said there's little chance stronger regulation will
deter youth from consuming pot. Therefore, they recommended the
government work hard to dispel the notion marijuana is a harmless substance.

"We have already legalized medical use and people automatically draw
the conclusion that all cannabis is the same: it's good for your
health," Dr. William Barakett, an advisory council member for Drug
Free Kids Canada, told the committee.

"Adolescents will procure and use cannabis regardless of the legal
restraints," he said, adding that makes creation of an elaborate,
public-education program essential.

"We need to educate people - people just don't understand."

- - with files from Sue Bailey in St. John's, N.L.
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