Abbotsford school trustees are concerned about the effects cannabis legalization will have on students.Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Set pot buying age at 19, Abbotsford trustees tell province

Recreational cannabis set for legalization by July, 2018

Abbotsford school trustees are urging the provincial government to set the minimum age to buy cannabis at 19 when recreational use of the drug becomes legal next year.

The federal government has promised to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018, but has left it to the provinces to regulate age minimums, sales, impaired driving and public consumption.

READ: B.C. cities, police want money to enforce new pot laws

“Continuing to ensure our schools are safe learning environments needs to be of the utmost importance,” chair Shirley Wilson wrote to B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth, on behalf of the Abbotsford board of education.

The letter was also sent to local MLAs, MPs and Premier John Horgan.

Trustees also asked that Farnworth ensure new regulations uphold existing school policies banning drug use in and around schools.

Wilson told Farnworth that setting the minimum purchase age for cannabis at 19 (above the federal minimum of 18) would help keep Abbotsford school district policies and provincial regulations in tune with one another.

Trustees are worried legalizing pot could lead students to think it’s safe and could make it more accessible at home. They may also use the drug to self-medicate, rather than reach out for medical assistance, Wilson wrote.

The potential increase in cannabis availability may require an increased education effort around its dangers, Wilson wrote.

“The compelling research about the potential negative impacts of cannabis use in youth under the age of 25 suggests that a detailed action plan for educating students is warranted.”

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