Legalization of Marijuana in Canada –Youth at Risk

48 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018 Last revised: 28 Mar 2019

Date Written: October 23, 2018


Today’s generation of young people (age group 10-24), the largest cohort in history at present, holds great potential for economic and social progress. Unfortunately, misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs is contributing to large numbers of deaths and disabilities for young people in developed nations. Neither a policy of criminalization of drug use nor a policy of legalization are likely to bring any desired changes. The legal production costs of cannabis are likely to drive down the wholesale prices, which together with the lower perceived risk in the legalized sales environment, are likely to spur consumption substantially, and with it, increased risk of marijuana use by minors. This increased consumption is likely to result in an increase in emergency room visits, higher road fatalities, and increased environmental damage. The purported revenue gains have to be set off against increased public health and safety costs, in addition to the health dangers to adolescent users. Prevention of substance use disorders necessitates an entirely different and evidence-based approach to address the fundamental structural causes of adverse health behavior as well as the range of community-level risk factors. In this study, the application of partial least squares to cross-sectional data on OECD countries revealed the role of the availability of drugs, income and wealth inequalities, child poverty, and employment conditions for youth in explaining the prevalence of drug disorders in OECD countries. The active involvement of youth in the nation-building task requires governments to design a broadly based, inclusive development strategy to usher in a new era of shared prosperity and healthy youth.

Note: Disclaimer: Due Care has been taken to acknowledge the contributions of several scholars used in this study. If certain contribution has gone unnoticed or not appropriately cited, please bring to my notice.

Keywords: Marijuana, Cannabis, Legalization, Canada, Social Determinants of Drug Use, OECD countries, WHO, DALYs, Youth, Adolescents, Partial Least Square, Income and Wealth Inequalities, Inclusive Growth Starategy

JEL Classification: A1, I1, O1, Y1, Z28

Suggested Citation

Bhardwaj, Ramesh, Legalization of Marijuana in Canada –Youth at Risk (October 23, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Ramesh Bhardwaj (Contact Author)

George Brown College ( email )


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