Saskatchewan school boards want to have a say in marijuana legislation, starting with setting the legal age limit at 22.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) sent out a statement outlining six key points aimed at keeping pot out of the hands of kids ahead of the July 1 date set for the legalization of marijuana across Canada.
- The Saskatchewan Government controls and regulates the distribution of recreational cannabis with a minimum age of at least 22, and restricts the illegal cannabis market, all with the aim to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth.
- Any resources or financial gain from sales should be targeted to education and prevention by promoting healthy lifestyles, providing reliable and accessible information, as well as supporting ongoing monitoring and research.
- Any advertising of cannabis is prohibited.
- Any use of cannabis is prohibited in public areas.
- Cannabis outlets/vendors are prohibited to operate near schools.
- There is no use on school board property and at events where children and youth will be attending.
SSBA President Shawn Davidson said the school boards chose to recommend the age of 22 because that is the cutoff for the publicly funded education system in the province.
“In order to try to limit the access and ability of any students to bring cannabis on to schools or have it, then that was the rationale for that age limitation,” Davidson explained.
This week Manitoba and B.C. provincial governments outlined plans to set the legal minimum age for pot at 19.
Davidson said the Canadian School Boards Association has been looking into this topic and lobbying the federal government as well.
“Experts will tell us that the youth mind is still very much developing up to the age of 25 and since we’re in the business of nurturing minds in the education sector, we feel that a higher rather than a lower legal age would be appropriate,” Davidson explained.
The SSBA also wants revenues from marijuana sales spent on education and awareness about the effects of recreational drug use.
School boards want advertising to be banned along with smoking weed at public events where children are present. They also don’t want cannabis vendors to operate near schools.
Davidson said the SSBA has had some discussions with the provincial Ministry of Justice and hopes those consultations will be ongoing.