The Quebec, Canada government has raised the legal age for cannabis purchases from 18 to 21-years-old, CTV News reports. The new rule in the province takes effect on January 1 and will make Quebec the province with the highest legal cannabis purchasing age; most provinces set the age at 19, Alberta’s age is set at 18.
Francois Limoges, a spokesperson for the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association, told CTV that the industry is “totally disappointed” with the decision. In a press release following after the bill’s passage, the group said that the changes “will steer the most vulnerable consumers toward 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.” – Michael Timperio, QCIA president, in a statement
Limoges said raising the age tells younger consumers to “go back to your dealers.”
“… They’ve been buying legal cannabis for the last 12 months and as we know, when you’re a younger adult you’re not going to wait (to turn 21),” Limoges said to CTV, adding that it will be harder to bring those consumers into, or back into, the legal market.
The legal drinking age in Quebec in 18 – among the lowest in Canada.
In July, provincial officials announced a ban on cannabis edibles that have flavors or sweeteners that would appeal to children and capped THC levels for cannabis edibles at 5 milligrams per unit and 10 milligrams per package, along with a 5 percent THC cap for beverages. The government also banned cannabis-infused topicals “for the moment.” Those products are expected to be permitted for sale throughout Canada in December.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticized the provincial plan to raise the age, telling the Canadian Press that the move could leave an opening for organized crime in the illicit market.
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