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Raising legal age will steer Quebec youth to black market, said QCIA


October 30, 2019
By Grow Opportunity staff

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The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association (QCIA) warns that the Quebec government’s Bill 2 to raise the legal age of cannabis consumption from 18 years old to 21 will only force young people to turn to black market products.

QCIA, which has 25 members from licensed cannabis companies throughout the province, released a statement Oct. 28 that said the government’s decision goes against the objective of legalization to improve public safety and the eradication of the black market.

“The government’s motives are surprising in this approach. Note that public health officials and safety experts who advised the federal government over the implementation of cannabis legalization in the country, as well as many Quebec organizations specializing in cannabis, have advocated for a harm reduction approach by recommending that the minimum age be set at 18 years old,” says Michel Timperio, QCIA president said in a statement.

Quebec now has the most restrictive cannabis laws in the country.

Premier Francois Legault’s government has voted to ban the consumption of marijuana in most public areas starting Nov. 2 and to raise the legal age from 18 to 21 years as of Jan. 1.

The law does allow cities to adopt their own bylaws allowing people to smoke cannabis in specific public areas where no children are present.

“The government is also about to pass its proposed edible cannabis regulation, which if accepted in its current form, would encourage consumers to purchase products from the black market that are legal and approved for sale elsewhere in Canada. We believe that Quebecers should have access to legal products that are controlled, properly labelled, packaged safely, and distributed by professionals who can properly inform consumers, not by the local drug dealer,” notes the president of the QCIA.

(With files from The Canadian Press)