FREDERICTON - A legislature committee is recommending New Brunswick sell marijuana through government-operated stores to anyone 19 years or older.

The report from the select committee on cannabis, released Friday, says the province needs to keep weed away from young people, and shut out organized crime.

All 10 provinces are trying to be ready with regulations by July 2018, when the federal government plans to legalize recreational marijuana possession and use.

The committee said most presenters at hearings held across New Brunswick agreed 19 is the appropriate legal age, harmonizing it with alcohol and tobacco.

It said setting it any higher could fuel the illegal market.

The committee said Colorado and Washington State have struggled to regulate private operators.