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

Committee to oversee expansion of Teck coal mine in Sparwood

Socio-Community Economics Effects Advisory Committee formed; plus other District of Sparwood news

Accused in Fernie stabbing case remanded in custody

Livan Chris Barnett is scheduled to appear in Cranbrook Law Courts via video on December 17

Hosmer woman victim of a broken health system

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Law professor owes career to Legion scholarship

Forty years after receiving an invaluable scholarship, Nancy Banks has paid it forward

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Christmas comes early for Fernie Ghostriders

Riders take massive 6-0 victory at home, acquire pro player from Denmark

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Fernie pair shares learnings from life-changing experiences in the mountains

Martina Halik and Todd Weselake host Q&A at special screening of This Mountain Life

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Most Read