Trudeau says Quebec cannabis plan leaves opening for organized crime

Speaking to reporters on the last day of a trip to Armenia, Trudeau said increasing the legal age could fail to eliminate the black market

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Saturday morning the incoming Quebec government’s plan to raise the legal age for smoking cannabis to 21 could leave an opening for organized crime.

Speaking to reporters on the last day of a trip to Armenia, Trudeau said increasing the legal age could undermine one of the federal law’s key aims — eliminating the black market.

“If we eliminate the segment of the population between 18 to 19 and 21 years, which is a population often in university, often in areas where they’ll try to consume, we’re keeping an important segment of potential consumers for the black market,” he told reporters in Yerevan.

Trudeau said he hopes to discuss the matter further with Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault, whose party was elected Oct. 1.

The federal law sets the minimum age at 18 but leaves it open to provinces and territories to establish their own rules.

In all provinces and territories, the legal age will be 18 or 19 when cannabis becomes legal next Wednesday.

But Legault has promised to raise the age to 21 from 18 in Quebec. Trudeau said he personally agrees with a legal age of 18.

The prime minister said he understands that some people would like to prevent those under 25 from consuming marijuana due to the substance’s impact on brain development, but that doing so would “maintain a black market.”

“We believe that setting the legal age to (match) the age of alcohol consumption is a compromise that makes sense,” he said.

Despite their differences, Trudeau appeared reluctant to begin a quarrel with the newly elected Quebec premier.

“The government of the (Coalition Avenir Quebec) hasn’t even established its cabinet yet, so (there are) a lot of decisions to make,” he said.

“We’ll share our perspective … and we’ll have the necessary conversations at the right time and place.”

While Legault has promised to raise the legal age to 21, those changes won’t be in place when cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday.

Therefore, Quebecers between the ages of 18 and 20 will be able to legally consume cannabis for at least the first few weeks.

The party has said it intends to begin the process of modifying the law once the legislature session begins.

Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Are there windier days ahead?

Tales from the Bear

Man caught in fatal avalanche ID’ed as Alberta man in his 20s

Outdoor guides warn against high winds in the mountains Family Day weekend

Road conditions for Feb. 14

More compact snow and slippery sections

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Cougars take bended knee for injured Osoyoos player

Vernon coach commends Barriere Cougars for showing respect to injured player

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

B.C. firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Most Read