Canada has begun trials to test the implementation of a legal age minimum for marijuana, a move that could ultimately make the North American nation just the world’s second country to legalize the drug nationwide.
The drug is currently illegal in Canada, but new legislation, called the Cannabis Act, would set the minimum age at 18 for consumption and possession.
A task force charged with researching the drug cited the continued easing of access to marijuana, as well as the criminal profits of selling the substance, as reasons for legalizing weed.
“Possession of small amounts of cannabis would no longer be a criminal offense and would prevent profits from going into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs,” the task force said in a statement announcing the proposed bill in April.
Outcomes from the task force’s results could influence the future of marijuana legalization in America. In the U.S. states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and in these locations the minimum age is 21.
Senator Jonathan Singer of Colorado would like to see the age in his own state lowered to 18. Repeating the feelings of many young adults, Singer said, “If you are old enough to go to war then you should be old enough to be trusted to use a recreational substance.” He added that lowering the age to 18 would help reduce widespread underage use.
However, in 2016 Ottawa’s public health agency recommended that if marijuana was legalized, the minimum age of use should be 25. The greatest factor in this decision may be mental health, as the brain does not fully mature until the mid-twenties.
The push and pull from both sides could be quelled by the outcome of the studies and tests currently being performed by Canada’s task force, and maybe nationwide legalization will serve as yet another reason for people to tack on their “Why I should move to Canada” lists.
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.