Quebec lawmakers gave their final approval to Bill 157, legalizing recreational cannabis sales in the province, but with heavy restrictions. Sixty-one members of the National Assembly of Quebec voted in favor of the bill with 46 against.
Quebec’s approach to recreational cannabis, however, is among Canada’s most conservative. Quebec residents will not be permitted to grow cannabis at home, even though Canada’s federal Bill C-45 would allow Canadians to grow up to four plants at home.
Adults will be able to purchase up to 30 grams per visit and possess a maximum of 150 grams of dried flower at home. A zero tolerance policy on drivers will be enforced. The bill outlines the creation of the Société québécoise du cannabis, or SQDC, which will oversee the sale of cannabis in dispensaries across the province.
Parti Québécois and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) voted against the bill. CAQ rejected the bill because its members believe that the legal age to consume cannabis should be 21 instead of 18, as the provinces law currently stands.
Lucie Charlebois, the minister for rehabilitation, youth protection and public health ,was not happy about last-minute changes from Parti Québécois “They made nice speeches last night (in the house) and today they completely change their mind,” Charlebois, told reporters. “I deplore that people are playing petty politics with a bill affecting public health, especially that of our youth.”
The passage of this legislation makes Quebec ready once the Canadian government legalizes cannabis under Bill C-45. So far, there have been 138 amendments to the bill under 197 articles. Cannabis has been illegal in Canada for 95 years, but things are changing quickly.
Cannabis is expected to sell for around $6 per gram. Around 20 dispensaries will be ready to open doors once Canada’s federal bill is enacted. Quebec’s entire bill will be revisited in three years.