Quebec's New Government Desperate to Justify Raising Legal Age

Wednesday, November 28th 2018
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Within days of the October election, the conservative CAQ government asked Ministry of Health staffers and the Quebec Institute of Public Health for research to justify the party's plan to raise the age of consumtion from 18 to 21. They were subsequently annoyed when the bodies delivered the same research they had given to the outgoing Liberal government--recommending the age be 18, as it remains for the time being. (Le Devoir--In French)

  • A forum of experts led by the Ministry of Health concluded in 2017 that it was "important" to "destigmatize" cannabis use. They chose the legal access age of 18 because it is the same as for alcohol and tobacco: "This age corresponds to the point at which society recognizes a person as an adult capable of making informed decisions."
  • University of Montreal crimonology professor Serge Brochu argued raising the age would encourage "criminal groups"--while also provoking another confrontation with the federal government, which has promised to challenge Quebec's raised age.
  • Brochu noted the heaviest cannabis users were between 18 and 25, and raising the legal age would encourage early cannabis users to begin their relationship with cannabis through illegal means.
  • University of Ottawa criminology professor Line Beauchesne argued raising the age would criminalize youth cannabis users rather than protecting them. (Le Devoir--In French)
  • The 42nd legislature of Quebec's National Assembly reconvened on Tuesday for the first time since the CAQ victory on October 1, and most expect their promised update to cannabis legislation will be among the first laws the new government tables. Whether they will bid to raise the age despite lack of support from health agencies remains uncertain. (Montreal Gazette)

Quebec cannabis consumers are signing a petition calling on the Société Québécoise du Cannabis to ban single-use plastic packaging.

  • The petition's author suggested a $1 deposit redeemable upon return of plastic packaging for reuse, options for consumers to bring their own containers, and packaging made from hemp-based plastics. (Global News)

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