Talking about Cannabis with Teens
Cannabis - legal or otherwise - is a hot topic. Parents who provide their kids with balanced information about the effects associated with cannabis can help them make informed decisions.1
Public safety and health protection, especially for children and youth, was a key priority in determining possession limits. It is important that the approach to youth possession balance the harm of criminalization while discouraging the unlawful use and possession of cannabis.
What is the minimum age to purchase cannabis?
19 years of age.
Need help talking to teens about cannabis?
Drug and alcohol use by teens should not be taken lightly. Talking to teenagers can be difficult to begin with. Talking to them about drugs and alcohol can be even harder, but if you keep the lines of communication open, it can make a big difference. There is no perfect 'script' for talking with your teen about cannabis, but there are some great resources available at Drug Free Kids Canada.
Why did the PEI government choose 19 as the legal age?
All other provincial governments in the region are setting their legal age for purchase and consumption of cannabis at 19 years of age. If we set the age higher (to 25, for example), it could mean people under that age would purchase cannabis from other provinces or from illegal sources related to organized crime.
What protections are in place for youth?
- Persons under the age of 19 are not allowed to buy, consume or possess cannabis.
- Islanders cannot give, sell or distribute cannabis to persons under the age of 19. It is an offence under the Cannabis Control Act for an adult to allow a young person under their supervision to consume cannabis.
- Cannabis must be stored and grown in a place that is not accessible to persons under the age of 19.
What will happen if a young person is caught by law enforcement with cannabis in their possession?
Law enforcement will seize the cannabis from the young person. The officer may also warn the young person, refer the person to an approved diversion program or issue a summary offence ticket. If a young person contests the ticket, and is found guilty, the judge may impose the fine or divert the young person to an approved program.
What will happen if an adult is caught buying marijuana for a minor?
Under provincial law, the penalty for an offence involving persons under the age of 19 is a fine of $500 - $1,250. For a second or subsequent offence, the fine is $1,250 - $2,500. There may be additional penalties under federal law.
Cannabis is often one of the first drugs a teen is offered.
What's the big deal about marijuana?
Highlights of Student Drug-Use survey PEI (grades 7 to 12)
- The first use of cannabis was most common among 12 to 13 year olds (approximately 35 per cent of users), followed by 14 to 15 year olds (approximately 22 per cent of users);
- Half of grade 12 students reported using cannabis at least once before;
- Students reported past-year use was 25 to 30 per cent, increasing with school grade.2
Of Islanders who have used cannabis, more than 50 per cent used cannabis for the first time before the age of 16 years.
The use of cannabis can be harmful for teens since their bodies and brains are still developing. Regular cannabis use in adolescents is associated with experiencing psychotic symptoms (changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours), especially when there is a family or personal history of psychotic disorders. Some studies have suggested that cannabis may also increase risk of anxiety and depression.3
As a parent, where can I find reliable information about how to talk with my kids about cannabis?
- Drug Free Kids Canada provides information for families who want to learn about cannabis, talk to their children about cannabis and the consequences of driving high. You can also download the Cannabis “Talk Kit” for parents/caregivers.
- Health Risks of Marijuana Use / Health Canada Fact Sheet
- Talking with Teenagers about Drugs / Health Canada
Start the conversation today with your teens about cannabis!
Provincial cannabis committee
1 Cannabis Talk Kit (2018) Drug Free Kids Canada.org
2 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (2105)
3 The Effects of Cannabis Use during Adolescence (2015), George and Vaccarino.