In the most authoritarian plan to date regarding the distribution and sale of legal cannabis in Canada, the province of Quebec tabled its legislation Thursday.
Similarly to Ontario’s sales regime, all cannabis retail from the top down will be handled through a government-run monopoly. These operations will be executed by Quebec’s liquor control board, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). The official name for the government outlets is the Société Québécois du Cannabis (SQC).
Mirroring the provincial drinking age, only people 18 years or older will be allowed to purchase cannabis. Medical specialists in Quebec recommended a minimum age of 21.
In a somewhat more lenient choice, consumers will be allowed to smoke and vape marijuana anywhere people are allowed to smoke cigarettes. Generally, in Quebec, people are allowed to consume tobacco outdoors with some exceptions.
In Quebec, you’re usually allowed to smoke outdoors. But there are many exceptions.
For example, you can usually smoke in a park but not in outdoor play areas, such as splash pads, wading pools, or skate parks. Also, you may not smoke on sports fields, such as baseball fields, outdoor skating rinks or outdoor pools.
Careful! Some municipalities don’t allow smoking anywhere in parks, so you’d better check the signs.
You’re not allowed to smoke on school grounds or on the grounds of a day-care centre.
You’re also not allowed to smoke on the terrace of a bar, restaurant or other place of business.
In a stark contrast to the federal legislation, Quebec has chosen to completely prohibit growing cannabis at home. Bill C-45 allows for up to four plants per household.
But perhaps one of the most rigid stipulations in the Quebec cannabis rule book is the zero-tolerance policy when driving.
If a police officer suspects someone is driving while high, they can administer a mandatory roadside saliva test. If any marijuana is found, the driver can lose their license for up to 90 days. There has been no word, however, on how this part of the legislation will be applied to medical cannabis patients.
It has not yet been announced how much cannabis will cost or the level it will be taxed in Quebec.
Alongside the announcement came a healthy dose of irritation and malaise directed toward the federal government from the provincial MPs. Quebec has frequently voiced its opposition regarding the short timeline that has been provided to enact cannabis legislation. On Wednesday, the province asked for a one-year delay on marijuana legalization.
The province of Alberta is scheduled to make an updated announcement regarding their cannabis framework at 5:30 p.m. EST.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett