Eighteen, or 19 as decided in Ontario, is a good political compromise, I'd say. It's a good political compromise because it makes the age limits consistent with alcohol and tobacco regulations. It wouldn't make sense otherwise. It wouldn't make sense to let people drink at age 19 and consume an overall less hazardous substance at a higher age.
At the same time—and I've used this term before—I think there's a certain sense of, if you allow me, political naïveté in the sense that we think we will legalize and regulate and set an age limit, and all of a sudden all the young people below the age of 19 who used cannabis under prohibition, when the age limit was 500 years or 0, will all of a sudden stop using cannabis. We have to be very realistic and aware of that.
The best we can hope for under the age limit of 19 for people under the age of 19 is that we will have trickle-down beneficial effects on that age group that will make their use of cannabis less risky and less harmful through regulated products, safer distribution, etc., combined with more effective, more realistic, and evidence-based prevention. Please, do not fool yourselves that legalization with the strictest and best possible regulation will eliminate cannabis use by the people under age 19. We would all fool ourselves if we thought that. It will not happen. That is the Achilles heel of the current policy and law proposed. Politically it wouldn't be more defensible to lower the age limit. I understand and appreciate that, but we have to put everything in motion to reduce the risks and harms of what will certainly be ongoing cannabis use at the highest levels, relative to other populations, in the age groups below 19.