Once recreational marijuana is legalized, it will still be illegal for anyone under the age of 19 to possess or use in Saskatchewan. The same goes for alcohol and for those under 18, tobacco. However, that doesn’t stop some teenagers.
With recreational cannabis being legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, what do Regina teens think?
“I don’t particularly care, because I don’t do it. That’s pretty much how I feel about it,” Grade 10 student Alexander said.
“I worry about the driving conditions on the roads, feel like there’s going to be some more accidents and all that,” Grade 10 student Cohen said.
Others, like Grade 11 students Sage and Shalese, see more positives with legalization.
“Honestly, I think it’s a good thing because some people have diseases, like mental and physical that it helps with. Sometimes, it can be harder to get if it’s not legal, but now that it is, it can help them,” Sage said.
“I agree with that because when it wasn’t legal, it was like you’re trying to help yourself but can’t get it for yourself,” Shalese added.
Marijuana can have medicinal benefits, but it is not without negative side effects, especially with still-developing teenage brains.
These side effects are areas the Regina Police Service School Resource Officers (SRO) can help inform students.
“We’ll talk about THC content and how it affects you, we’ll talk about concentrates, we’ll talk about edibles. All of the information that we provide is to educate them so they can make that educated decision on whether they want to participate in that or not,” Cpl. Andree Sieber said.
Sieber currently works in the traffic unit, but was a SRO last year. Each high school in Regina has a SRO assigned to it.
She said with internet access, kids can find information to support any position on something like marijuana. A goal of the SROs is to build relationships with the students, so they feel like they can ask the SROs questions about a wide variety of topics, including drugs.
Current SRO, Const. Renee Venne, said they work to give students a full picture of the consequences.
“Not only the education pieces on the substance itself, but also the harms it can do onto your body and the criminal consequences of it all,” she said.
Even with it being illegal, kids still get their hands on marijuana. There is a major focus on keeping it out of the hands of minors once legal, such as stiff penalties for supplying it to anyone under the legal age.
However, both the police and students don’t see much changing once it is legal and the hype dies down.
“I don’t anticipate any more than what we already see and what we already deal with. I think that when all this comes into effect, it will just be business as usual,” Venne said.
“I don’t really see that much change. Because pretty much like most kids in high school do it already. Just for like the fun of it,” Shalese said.
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