In 2002, the Canadian Senate recommended amendments to the Controlled Drugs And Substances Act, “to permit persons over the age of 16 to procure cannabis and its derivatives at duly licensed distribution centers.”
The wisdom behind this recommendation is that it is more important to protect teens from the black market than from cannabis use. Those who understand human nature have always held similar beliefs.
Back in 1969, anthropologist Margaret Mead told US senators that marijuana should be legalized for anyone over 16, and that drinking and voting ages should match the draft age. She said marijuana “doesn’t have the toxic effects that cigarettes have” and is milder than liquor. Therefore, she said, it should be permitted at a younger age than tobacco and alcohol.
“It is a new form of tyranny by the old over the young. You have the adult with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other saying ‘you cannot’ to the child. This is untenable.” – Margaret Mead
Having a lower age limit than alcohol would send the right message to teens – that cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol. Teens 15 or younger could still use cannabis with parental or doctor supervision, just like parents can give their minors children alcohol. This could prevent a situation like the one currently suffered by teens in Washington State, who now face a five year maximum felony rather than the 90 day maximum misdemeanor they used to face before legalization occurred in 2012.