Quebec Raises Cannabis Age Limit
The Quebec government has passed a bill that raises the legal age limit for cannabis consumption and purchase from the age of 18 to 21. Thus, the province now has the strictest rules in place regarding recreational cannabis use.
In the rest of Canada, the legal age to consume cannabis is 19, with the exception of Alberta where 18-year-olds can buy and use cannabis.
The bill was adopted on Tuesday by the National Assembly of Quebec. Members of the ruling party, Coalition Avenir Québec, all voted in favor of the law. All parties of the opposition, on the other hand, voted against.
The new legislation will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Junior health minister, Lionel Carmant, said that the goal of the new law is to protect teenagers, who are the most at risk of the dangers of cannabis.
There have been numerous reactions to the new legislation, all of them negative.
The Quebec Association of the Cannabis Industry (AQIC) stated that this bill contradicts the very goals of the legalization process, which was adopted to ensure safe consumption and to eliminate black market trade of cannabis.
A spokesperson for the opposition said that the new bill will discriminate against young people and create two new classes of adults: adults over 21, and adults between the ages of 18 and 21 who can vote, smoke, and drink alcohol, but won’t be able to legally purchase cannabis.
Young people are also criticizing the new bill. They say that they do not want to buy cannabis illegally off the street and, instead, wish to enjoy all the benefits of legalization, such as purchasing cannabis from a store where they feel safe and protected.
In addition to the new bill, the province of Quebec will also attempt to ban the sale of cannabis edibles, which will become legal across Canada in December. It also tried to ban homegrown cannabis, although this procedure is still being settled in court.
Cannabis is a profitable business in Quebec. In the first five months, the government cannabis store network raked in $71 million from the sale of cannabis. Will these new changes keep profits high or will they contribute to the growth of the grey and black cannabis market? Time will tell.