Quebec Raises Minimum Cannabis Purchasing Age to 21 Amid Strong Criticism
In a move that can only be described as hypocritical, impractical and politically-charged, Quebec went through with its move to pass Bill 2.
As CTV News reports, Quebec’s alleged goal is to protect youth from marijuana’s adverse effects. While there is no denying that, as a drug, cannabis has its risks, most critics argue that this is not the way to go.
But as we have seen before, Quebec is not known for its common-sense approach to marijuana, which leads many to believe that the government is simply pandering to a socially conservative voter base.
Nonetheless, the bill sparked fury among industry representatives, advocates and health critics.
“Protect Young, Developing Brains”
Quebec Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant’s – the mastermind behind the bill – says it aims to “protect young, developing brains.” But he has essentially gone against that goal.
One of the reasons for legalization was to provide a safe, regulated alternative to the black market. It is no secret that illegal cannabis has no safety or manufacturing standards, leaving the door open to harmful microbes, fungi, heavy metals, and pesticides. The recent vaping epidemic based on illegal THC vape pens and cartridges is a prime example.
Francois Limoges, who is a spokesperson for the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association (QCIA) says:
“You’re pretty much telling the younger generation that you wanna protect, well, ‘go back to your dealers’ — or ‘find a dealer’ — because 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 [until age 21].”
Limoges is also concerned that, once they reach legal age, disenfranchised consumers will be less likely to use legal marijuana.
It could be argued that Carmant is misguided, but his apparent disregard for the clear flaws presented about Bill 2 indicates that he has his agenda.
CTV News explains:
“Quebec’s association of public health has also criticized the bill, with spokesperson Marianne Dessureault saying it lacks a scientific basis. In an interview earlier this year she 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.’
She described the bill as having a “populist appeal,” which “doesn’t have [a] place in public health policy.’”
Based on Stigma
Despite tobacco being the leading cause of preventable death and alcohol having a massive kill count of its own, both products are legally consumable by age 18. Yet cannabis, which to date has no recorded deaths related to THC consumption, is considered the worst of the three.
Strangely, voters are fine with declaring that 18-year-olds are adults when it comes to tobacco and alcohol. But cannabis is in a league of its own. It is quite clear that this is just an old Reefer Madness mentality that, to this day, people everywhere cannot shake.
Francois Limoges puts well when he says Bill 2 is based on “social conservatism from the government … [which] appears to be stuck in the old ways of thinking.”
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Common Sense Policy
We understand the importance of protecting youth from the potential health risks of marijuana. But the Quebec government’s restrictive policies will do little – if anything – to support that goal.
Unless something changes, the negative impacts of this supposedly well-meaning bill will show themselves in the coming years, especially when it comes to the black market