To fully inform kids and their parents about toking, CBC is hosting an event in Vancouver on the eve of 4/20.
The free event at Vancouver Technical secondary will be hosted by CBC’s Gloria Macarenko. It will bring experts from youth workers, police officers to lawyers and scientists, covering a wide-range of topics as Canada inches closer to legalization.
“They haven’t rolled out enough information for teenagers and their parents,” said the event’s producer, Anne Penman. “It’s unreasonable to think that teenagers won’t try it.”
Penman said marijuana legalization this summer is “going to make [cannabis] it look like it’s harmless.”
She added: “Legalization of recreational cannabis is going to socially sanction cannabis like alcohol.”
In Canada, a 2017 study showed that about 33 percent of students in grade 12 reported use with the province of British Columbia (B.C.) having the highest prevalence of cannabis use at 17.3 percent.
In March, Bill Blair, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Health, lamented over the issue that Canadian youth have the “highest rate” of cannabis use in any country in the world.
The new Cannabis Act sets the minimum age as 18 or higher, depending on the decision made by a province or territory. The new act will also land offenders, who are illegally distributing or selling to the youth up to 14 years in jail.
Canadian activists criticize the new law for being extreme, saying people who give alcohol to youth don’t even face such charges given that alcohol is also harmful.
The Developing Brain
One of the thorny issues pertaining to the teen use of marijuana is its impact on the developing brain. However, there is no final scientific consensus if it is true.
University of British Columbia professor and researcher for the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, M-J Milloy says there is no causality between cannabis and harming brain development for teens but there is an association.
“There’s a great number of scientists worldwide working on this issue, but there’s been no smoking gun.”
Zach Walsh, another UBC researcher specializing in cannabis, concurs. “The evidence is weaker than the rhetoric.”
According to Walsh, there appears to be a link between schizophrenia and other psychosis and marijuana use, but this could just be an association rather than causal.