Pot task force recommends legal age of 18, higher taxes on potent products

Report lays out details around legal age, impaired-driving, and distribution.

The task force appointed by the government of Canada to study the implications of legalizing marijuana unveiled some recommendations Tuesday, including limiting the sale of cannabis products to people over the age of 18.

The report, which can be viewed here, lays out a framework for legalization that covers everything from a transitional period moving from current laws and establishing responsible production and supply methods to minimizing harmful use of products.

The liberal government is expected to table marijuana legalization by the spring of 2017.

Recommendations around sales include a proposed legal age of 18, which is lower than the Canadian Medical Association’s recommended age of 21. Under the guidelines of the marijuana task force, provinces would ultimately be responsible for setting their own legal age limits.

According to task force chair and former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, the lower age limit was recommended in an effort to curb the potential for young people resorting to black market methods of obtaining the drug.

“Now is the time to move away from a system that has, for decades, been focused on the prohibition of cannabis into a regulated legal market,” said McLellan. “I think we’re all aware of the challenges and societal problems that the existing system has created.”


The task force also laid out some guidelines around taxation and labeling of high-potency products.

We suggest that variable tax rates or minimum prices linked to THC level (potency), similar to the pricing models used by several provinces and territories for beer, wine and spirits, should be applied to encourage consumers to purchase less-potent products.

We also recommend labelling all products with clear indications of their levels of THC and CBD, as well as
appropriate health warnings. Such labelling must be based on mandatory laboratory testing that conforms to acceptable standards of accuracy.

It was also recommended that edible products move away from designs that appear “appealing to children,” so get ready to say goodbye to those loaded gummi bears.

So how do the task force’s recommendations stack up to your own expectations for the potential legalization of marijuana?