Recreational cannabis could be sold legally across Canada this summer, but where exactly should Quebecers be allowed to smoke it? The issue was debated at the National Assembly Monday.
Quebec’s opposition parties are demanding a total ban on recreational cannabis in public areas – that includes public parks and sidewalks.
Monday afternoon they accused the government of not taking the legalization of marijuana seriously. That’s where things got personal for the public health minister, Lucie Charlebois.
“I have eight grandchildren … no one can say that I don’t care about children and that I’m not taking cannabis seriously,” she said during a National Assembly health and social services committee meeting.
The committee is studying Bill 157, which would allow people to smoke cannabis in public places where they are allowed to smoke cigarettes.
Charlebois said that only 20 per cent of the people who testified during Bill 157 public hearings asked for a total ban on recreational cannabis.
“Eighty percent didn’t mention it at all,” she said.
The minister said municipalities will have the power to pass their own bylaws concerning marijuana. Already last month, the town of Hampstead banned all forms of smoking on all municipal property.
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However, opposition parties say the law needs to be stricter.
“We are talking about a different thing – we are in a different zone than tobacco,” said Parti Quebecois (PQ) MNA, Marc Bourcier.
CAQ MNA, Simon Jolin-Barrette said the fight against tobacco has gone on for years and the government should do everything it can to prevent smoking of cannabis too – allowing it in public places, he said, would only trivialize its use.