As the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018, parents/guardians and educators may have questions about the steps Ontario is taking to protect children and youth, the impact this may have on schools and what information and supports are available to parents/guardians and students.
Rules for Minimum Age
In December 2017, Ontario passed legislation that establishes rules for the lawful use, sale and distribution of recreational cannabis.
The new law sets a minimum age of 19 to use, buy, possess and cultivate cannabis in Ontario. This is the same as the minimum age for tobacco and alcohol sales.
Even though recreational cannabis will be legal for adults, 19 and older, it will still be prohibited in schools.
In collaboration with the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Ministry of Education, School Mental Health ASSIST has developed an Info-Sheet for parents/guardians and caregivers on the topic of cannabis. The Info-Sheet is for parents/guardians and caregivers of youth in grades 6 to 12 and contains facts on cannabis, information on cannabis legalization, the health and social effects of cannabis use on children and youth, as well as where to find support and additional information.
- Although most youth in Ontario do not use cannabis, even occasional use has risks.
- For youth who use cannabis often and over time, it can be addictive, can affect brain development and may increase the risk for mental health problems.
- Cannabis will still be illegal for anyone under the age of 19 in Ontario, even after legalization.
- Youth are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis since brain development is not complete until about the age of 25.
- Parents/guardians and caregivers play an important role in their child’s life – stay connected by talking to your child, knowing their friends and being prepared to answer questions.
Parents who provide their kids with balanced information about the effects associated with cannabis (often called marijuana) can help them make informed decisions. It’s more important than ever for parents to protect their kids’ health and development by addressing this issue early and often.
Cannabis Information for Educators
As Ontario gets ready for the federal legalization of cannabis, educators may have questions about the steps Ontario is taking to protect children and youth, the impact legalization may have on schools, and what information and supports are available to parents/guardians and students. They may also be looking for resources that parents/guardians can use when talking about cannabis with their children.
Cannabis Laws Quick Facts
Youth Under 19 are not allowed to:
- Buy or consume cannabis
- Possess any amount of cannabis
- Share cannabis with anyone
- Grow or harvest plants
- Cannabis legislation in Ontario: www.ontario.ca/cannabis
- Canada’s Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (CAMHA)
- Statement by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Implementation of the Cannabis Act