A new bill in Quebec, Canada would officially raise the legal cannabis consumption age to 21, and many are not happy with this proposition.
According to CTV News in Montreal, Bill 2 would change the legal age for cannabis and ban it in public areas. However, many public health agencies in the province are against the new restrictions. Officials said that changing the legal age for cannabis consumption from 18 to 21 won’t actually help discourage youth from smoking cannabis. They also think banning cannabis in public places is marginalization, as it would keep people from consuming cannabis if their landlord had banned smoking.
According to CTV News, some public health organizations in Quebec are planning to suggest a compromise on the age limit. They would like to see restrictions placed on youth ages 18 to 20 to make sure that they consume cannabis gradually, rather than attempt an all-out ban.
“I am worried that we are going ahead and maybe transforming a law that sought to protect public health, towards a law that has more of a political flavor,” said Marianne Dessureault, spokeswoman for Quebec’s association of public health. “It’s concerning. It’s clear that [the bill] has a populist appeal, and that it doesn’t have its place in public health policy.”
“One hundred years of cannabis prohibition show that it’s not through banning it that we are going to eradicate the practice or prevent risky behavior,” added Bastien Quirion, professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa. “It will just put certain groups in a precarious position.”
Quebec opted in favor of recreational cannabis sales in 2018, and the province is attentive to the specific needs of local cannabis patients. With this in mind, Quebec is likely to come to a practical decision about age regulations.