Various jurisdictions, including Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, and various US states, are considering the legalization of non-medical cannabis. As you can imagine, policymakers first have to contend with various considerations before this can happen.
Among other things, this includes setting the minimum legal age for the consumption of cannabis. Setting it too low will discourage the underground trade, it is said that cannabis consumption below the age of 25 can affect brain development negatively.
BMC Public Health released a study showing that 19 years old might be the perfect trade-off. The research involved studying how Canadians, who began cannabis use at various ages, compare in various important outcomes.
In October 2018, Canada became known as the second country to pass the legalization of non-medical cannabis. After consultations, most provinces set the minimum legal age at 19. Alberta and Quebec were the exceptions to the rule by setting it at 18 instead. However, Quebec eventually revised this to 21.
According to the study, those who began to use cannabis at the age of 19 had better life outcomes than those who started at 18. There was no significant difference between the former and those who started anywhere from 20 to 25 either.
This suggests that the optimal minimum legal age for cannabis use is 19. At this age, people are old enough to deal with concerns over possible adverse outcomes. Despite this, it is still young enough to discourage the underage black market. Moving forward, these findings should be considered as policymakers discuss the legalization of non-medical cannabis.
At any rate, it should undoubtedly remain the priority of the government to keep an eye on trends in the future. This way, the black market will be regulated, and children will be kept safe.