- As of January 1, 2020 anyone under the age of 21 can no longer legally purchase weed at SQDC locations in Quebec.
- Despite the minimum legal age of 18 for alcohol and tobacco purchases, adults aged 18, 19 and 20 will now be lumped in with minors and unable to enter SQDC locations.
- The fine is set at $100 for possession when underage. Details about the new marijuana laws below.
Starting tomorrow, January 1, 2020 the CAQ's Bill no. 2, titled "An Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis," goes into effect across Quebec. The bill, which works to amend the Cannabis Regulations Act, now enforces a new minimum age for the legal purchase of marijuana in Quebec. Now, under the new marijuana laws, if you are under 21 years old in Quebec you can no longer make legal weed purchases at the SQDC.
Other amendments are also going into effect, including "prohibitions against smoking cannabis on public roads, on the ground of enclosed spaces where smoking is currently prohibited [...] as well as in all other outdoor places that are open to the public such as parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and the ground of day camps."
Before you start to freak out that next summer is ruined because we can't smoke a spliff in Park La Fontaine, the bill notes that municipalities are able to create bylaws that permit cannabis consumption within a municipal park, so long as the bylaw still prohibits smoking weed "within the perimeter" of a public event.
But, unfortunately, there's nothing Mayor Plante can do about the new minimum age of cannabis consumption.
Quebec Bar president Paul-Matthieu Grondin has been quoted saying that "from a legal standpoint, there very well might be a constitutional challenge," which could be made because the fixed age of civil majority in Quebec is 18.
You only need to be 18 to vote, purchase alcohol or cigarettes in Quebec.
But now you need to be 21 to purchase weed.
The fine for possession under the age of 21 is set at $100.
The CAQ's reasoning for this change to the legal minimum age to purchase cannabis stems from the desire to "protect young, developing brains from the risks associated with using marijuana," according to Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant, who tabled the bill.
However, many people have spoken out about the repercussions of making the substance illegal again for a population that is most at risk. Prime Minister Trudeau spoke out about the bill, citing the possibility of reigniting young people's use of the black market.
Moreover, if young people turn back to purchasing "street weed" they become the most susceptible to harmful additives as well as an ignorance of THC content.
Purchases at the SQDC are plainly labelled with THC and CBD content, which has done a lot to inform the public about the kinds of cannabis they prefer and provided the ability to avoid certain strains that are too intense or simply not a good fit based on personal preference.
This knowledge is lost to someone who is now forced to turn back to their dealer down the street.
Quebec's Bar put out a statement in February of this year, when Bill 2 was still just under discussion, stating that "it will come back to government then to demonstrate that the age of 21 is justified in a free and democratic society, by proving the existence of a rational connection between that rule and the legislative objective of the measure, which must be shown to minimally restrain the rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter and that there is proportionality between the beneficial effects of the rule for society in general and the prejudicial effect on guaranteed rights."
The bill goes into effect tomorrow so... stock up 18-to-20-year-olds.
We'll just have to wait and see how the fight against this bill goes down.