New Brunswick

Legal age for buying recreational pot will be 19

The legal age for buying recreational pot in New Brunswick in July 2018 will be 19, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Age was favoured by working group, most presenters during public hearings

The legal age for buying recreational pot in New Brunswick will be 19, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

This was the favoured age among those who made presentations to the government's select committee on cannabis during hearings held over the summer, according to its report.

Nineteen was also the age proposed by the New Brunswick Working Group on the Legalization of Cannabis, which was made up of senior bureaucrats from the departments of Justice and Public Safety, Health and Finance, as well as the New Brunswick Liquor Corp. and Opportunities New Brunswick.  

The group suggested 19 so the post-buying age would be in synch with the legal age to purchase alcohol and tobacco.  

Dr. Dharm Singh, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said he was disappointed by the announcement Wednesday as the society had been pushing for an older legal age because of the drug's potential impact on developing brains.

He pointed out that many studies suggest the brain keeps developing until age 25.

In a news release, Health Minister Benoît Bourque said the government recognizes that there are some concerns over setting the legal age at 19, but it is committed to educating "those most at risk, such as our youth" about the potential harms of the substance.

"As we move forward with this legalization we will continue to work with all partners on ensuring children, youth and at-risk adults have the necessary information to make informed decisions around cannabis consumption," he said.

Recreational pot is expected to be legal across Canada as of July 2018.

Last week, the province announced that NB Liquor will oversee the sale of recreational cannabis in New Brunswick, through a network of tightly-controlled, stand-alone stores.