Quebec Legal Age for Pot will be 18 - Looks to SAQ for 'Expertise'
Although the Quebec government has yet to reveal its full plan for the regulation of sales, distribution and manufacturing of cannabis - it has announced the legal minimum age to buy and consume pot will be 18 years old. As well, the sale of cannabis will be controlled by the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ).
Health organizations and medical professionals want the minimum age for marijuana to be 21 years old - because of research showing its potentially negative effect on the developing brains of youth up until the age of 25. But according to Premier Phillipe Couillard, making the age higher will not prevent youth who are already smoking pot from doing so, and instead they will continue to turn to the black market.
“What we want to do is prevent organized crime and the black market from profiting from the situation," he said to the media. He also pointed out the legal age of 19 years old in Ontario and the proximity of the two provinces, making it easy for youth to just cross over and get what they want.
Rumors have it that Quebec would sell pot at around $7 or $8 a gram, which would make it competitive with the illegal market.
As for how and where it would be sold, the province would create a Crown corporation using the 'expertise' of the SAQ. Employees would be acting as 'pot counsellors' not salespeople and instead will be making youth aware of the potential health consequences of using it.
The private sector, including dépanneurs, will not be allowed to sell pot as they hoped for and instead the government will maintain control. What exactly that entails or where the profits will go is not yet clear - but many are calling for it to go into awareness and prevention programs.
The bill on cannabis legalization is expected to soon be introduced in the National Assembly, with pot scheduled to become legal in Canada in July of 2018.
What do you think the legal age should be? And should the private sector be allowed to sell pot?