The Canadian Mental Health Association says when marijuana is legalized in the country, there should be strict rules on marketing cannabis products and a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to using marijuana in vehicles.
In a report released Monday, the Ontario division of the CMHA provided a number of recommendations for the Ontario government to consider surrounding marijuana regulation.
“The risk is that legalization of cannabis may lead to an increase in use among Ontarians,” Camille Quenneville, the CEO of CMHA Ontario, said in a news release issued Monday.
“When taken together our recommendations can minimize the harms associated with cannabis use and support a public health approach to this issue.”
The association recommends that consumption of cannabis should not be permitted in any motorized vehicle and the ban should extend to both drivers and passengers.
Restrictions placed on advertising pot should be similar to the current rules in place for marketing tobacco products, the report adds.
The CMHA suggests that the minimum age to purchase marijuana should be set at 19 and that those who distribute cannabis should be forced to take part in a cannabis education program similar to Ontario’s Smart Serve course.
The revenue from marijuana sales should also be set aside to fund mental health and addictions services, public awareness campaigns and research and enforcement issues, the report continued.
The report also called for “enhanced access” to mental health and addictions treatment, particularly for youth.
“More research needs to occur about the impact of cannabis on a young person’s development,” Quenneville said.
“We know frequent cannabis use can harm a developing brain but there is no evidence that indicates a specific age when cannabis use is safe for youth or young adults.”
The report also says that more research is needed to understand the connection between pot use and mental health and addictions.