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British Columbia Sets Marijuana Consumption Age to Nineteen

Vancouver B.C. will permit adults 19 years of age and older to legally buy recreational marijuana next year.

Setting the age at 19 protects young folks from the illegal market.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Vancouver Sun reported on Tuesday that the Canadian province will permit adults 19 years of age and older to legally buy recreational marijuana next year. Canada plans to legalize marijuana next July and the government revealed regulation details regarding rules and legislative amendments needed yesterday.

Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth told the press “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done legislatively.” He added that setting the age at 19 protects young folks from the illegal market. "We know that the largest consumers of cannabis are young people. If you set it too high, for example at 25, you're not going to get rid of the black market because they're going to go and get it elsewhere," he said. The province modeled its regulations on other provinces that aligned their own cannabis laws with current alcohol and tobacco laws.

The Canadian government will supervise cannabis cultivation, laboratory testing and quality control. Canadian provinces will be responsible for all cannabis sales, distribution and law enforcement.

Legislation is still being written on the list of regulations. It remains to be seen if people will be permitted to grow any marijuana plants in their residence or on their property for their own consumption. Manitoba has already banned anyone from growing marijuana for personal use. Public consumption is likely to be banned except in designated places.

Both private and public retailers will be permitted once legalization is implemented, but more details regarding regulation were not yet available. It is also unclear whether distribution will take place in pharmacies and liquor stores. Liberals in the legislature are pushing for a prompt resolution on sales regulations. The government’s finished regulations are expected to be released by next February.

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