Quebec's New Marijuana Laws Make No Sense
A survey of some of the strangest regulations
Recreational marijuana will be legal nationwide on October 17th, 2018. But despite the blanket legalization, individual provinces and municipalities will be able to apply any new regulation they see fit.
As local governments scramble to put together marijuana laws, a patchwork of regulation has emerged across the country. Consumers will have to pay special attention to difference as they cross provincial and local borders.
To help consumers navigate the long list of new regulations, we've compiled a list of some of the strangest and most contradictory new rules in the province of Quebec:
Edibles are still illegal
That's actually according to federal law. Marijuana-infused food or drink will be forbidden for at least one year after the legalization of other types of weed-consumption. That's supposedly so officials can find a way to regulate edibles. But just how a Canadian consumes their marijuana seems arbitrary. In some provinces, possession of a cannabis plant will be illegal outside of government-run retailers. So if and when edibles become legal, we can expect government-run bakeries and cafés to pop up. I can't decide if a "government-run café" sounds fun...
You can have less marijuana if you have a roommate
According to the new regulations, only 150 grams of weed are permitted in a single residence. The law makes explicit that while a person who lives alone may have 150 grams, the total amount of weed in a dwelling that houses multiple people must also not exceed 150 grams. So in an apartment with three weed-smokers, each individual may only have up to 50 grams.
No marijuana stores within 250 metres of a school...except in Montreal
That's probably because the dense city presents specific zoning challenges. If the 250-metre radius applied to Montreal, it might very well be impossible to find a location to open a marijuana retailer. Instead, government retailers can open within 150 metres of a educational facility. Still, the difference in radii is odd. It is illegal to sell or give weed to a minor. So what does proximity matter? According to the logic of the law, Montreal students will have more access to marijuana because they are physically closer to the retail locations. This is an inherent contradiction.
Marijuana consumption is discouraged...but the government still wants you to shop
The same government-run agency charged with selling marijuana is also charged with informing consumers of the health risks. Ad campaigns have already begun to discourage marijuana consumption. According to the new website of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the agency plans on quickly turning a profit. So the same institution that needs to profit from marijuana also wants to deter people from consuming it.
You can't grow plants yourself
The SQDC will have a monopoly on marijuana distribution. Only liscensed contractors that supply to the SQDC will be able to grow. But as long as indivuals don't sell their product, what does it matter if a private citizen wants to grow their own supply?
There are actually few places where smoking is actually allowed
Marijuana consumption is forbidden in any and all "enclosed spaces" open to the public, including "common areas in residential buildings." You may only be able to smoke in your own home and in remote areas of parks, far away from popular paths or any space children might gather.
Marijuana consumption is forbidden in tents
That might seem like an odd clause, but in combination with the previous item on this list, this means that consumption will not be allowed at music festivals. While some festivals planned to construct tents at venue peripheries for pot-smokers, that will be impossible in Quebec. Montreal is the unofficial festival-capital of North America, so this regulation will be disappointing so weed enthusiasts hoping to take full advantage of the heightened sensory experiences at music festivals.
No smoking within 9 metres of a vent
This one is just weird. It's meant to prevent marijuana stench from reaching neighbours, but the regulation does not take into account devices that mask the smell of the drug.