FREDERICTON -- The president of the New Brunswick Medical Society issued a warning Monday that the coming legalization of marijuana in Canada doesn't mean that it is safe and the public needs to know the risks of consuming pot.

"There's somewhat of a normalization around marijuana use and I think some of the public really don't understand there are significant health concerns associated with marijuana use," Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck said Monday.

The medical society is launching a public education campaign on the health risks associated with marijuana consumption, ahead of Ottawa's commitment to make pot legal across Canada by July 2018.

Murphy-Kaulbeck said too often governments only look at the financial gains without looking at the long-term impact.

"It's very much like smoking or alcohol -- you have your tax and your revenue from that, but down the road there's great cost that comes with treating all the effects that come from these substances," she said.

She said the health risks inherent with the use of marijuana are clear, particularly for people under the age of 25, and include addiction, worsening of substance abuse and attention deficits.

"Marijuana use up to that point does have the potential to affect brain development. As well, the research does show the use of marijuana can be related in young people to psychiatric disorders," she said.

The society has created a new web site -- -- to highlight the various health impacts associated with marijuana consumption.

Murphy-Kaulbeck said the society will also be using different social media platforms, such as Facebook, to spread its message. It has also posted an editorial on the medical society's main website.

Earlier this year, the society released a position paper with 14 recommendations to government.

It said it would prefer marijuana not be sold to anyone under the age of 25, but recognizes that's unrealistic. It said it would accept the age of 21.

The New Brunswick government's Select Committee on Cannabis is conducting hearings around the province in advance of setting regulations governing the sale of marijuana.

The medical society will appear before that committee on Friday in Fredericton.