Montreal, Quebec

Marc-Olivier Jodoin

Quebec May Outlaw Public Cannabis Consumption, Raise Age to 21

On Wednesday, the Quebec provincial legislature began discussing a bill to outlaw public cannabis consumption and raise the legal age for possession to 21, CTV News report.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec party campaigned on the promise to raise the age of consumption to 21 and is following through on that promise with the new legislation. The proposal would also prohibit any public use of cannabis in parks or on the street.

The legislation poses potential problems for the city of Montreal, where a large percentage of the province’s residents. Additionally, 60 percent of Montreal’s population are renters. Current laws allow landlords to prohibit cannabis consumption in their properties and, if the right to consume outside is also removed, it will leave many people with no ability to partake at all.

Some also argue that raising the age limit is a mistake, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who championed cannabis legalization during his campaign.

“An 18-year-old this week could buy cannabis legally, but in a few months maybe he’ll just have to buy it from Hells Angels.” — Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, to reporters in Ottawa

Quebec public health officials say the dangers of cannabis for developing brains have been made clear via research and that the ideal age to start consuming cannabis is 25. Therefore, their goal is to, “delay the first consumption as much as possible.”

Quebec already has some of the strictest cannabis laws in Canada, having already removed the possibility of home grows, which are allowed under federal law. Federal officials say they have no interest in intervening and will allow Quebec to set its own policies, as provided for by the federal law.

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