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globe editorial

When the Trudeau government vowed to legalize the consumption of marijuana, there may have been those who believed the process would be straightforward. The final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation proves it will be anything but.

Here are just a few samples of the task force's slightly hallucinogenic recommendations:

The minimum age for cannabis consumption should be 18, even though science says young-adult brains are still developing at that age and can be damaged by excessive pot-smoking. The government must therefore also encourage people to refrain from using legal pot until they are 25, when their brains are fully formed. Which will be tough, because by far the biggest cohort of pot users are people aged 18-25.

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Any taxation or regulation aimed at encouraging people to put off consumption until 25 must be weighed against the possibility of making the legal product too expensive or difficult to buy, which would encourage illicit sales.

In fact, the "paramount" objective of keeping "cannabis out of the hands of children and youth and profits out of the hands of organized crime" will only succeed if the legal stuff is priced at a magical number that is somehow low enough drive away criminals but high enough to drive away 18-year-olds.

Every regulation the government imposes on cannabis products must be based on science and fact, but "cannabis policy, in its many dimensions, lacks comprehensive, high-quality research."

People should be able to grow cannabis in their homes for personal consumption, but only if they limit themselves to four plants that are under one metre in height, and if they have proper security measures in place and don't use "dangerous" growing methods.

Basically, the task force says the government should make pot more available, at a competitive price, but without increasing consumption. For health reasons, Ottawa must limit the consumption of the biggest cohort of users, 18- to 25-year-olds, while making it their legal right to consume as much as they want. Oh, and the government should police the height of houseplants.

Screw it up, and Canada gets increased pot use, damaged brains, a thriving illicit market and annoying semi-legal grow-ops on every block. No pressure, Ottawa.