With federal legalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon for this summer, the Quebec government has passed its long-awaited cannabis law.
The legislation outlines the framework for who can purchase cannabis, where it can be used and how it will be sold.
The Quebec Liberals and Québec solidaire voted in favour of Bill 157, while the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec voted against it.
“I am extremely disappointed with the attitude of the Parti Québécois,” said Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois, adding the party never showed signs of opposition against the bill.
She said she didn’t approve of the PQ using politics to block a bill that affects the public — especially Quebec youth.
“I will leave you with this, I am a little bit mad,” she said.
Both parties that voted against the bill say they do not agree with how cannabis will be regulated.
PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée said he wanted Quebec, not Ottawa, to control the production of cannabis. His party also wanted the Couillard government to prohibit consuming marijuana in public.
“This abandonment of Quebec independence when it comes to a legal agricultural sector, for us, is unacceptable,” he said.
The CAQ, for its part, has long been opposed to the legal age being set at 18 instead of 21 and has slammed the government for allowing municipalities to individually set rules on where marijuana can be consumed. The party said it also wants it to be outlawed in all public places.
“We have no control,” said CAQ MNA Eric Caire.
“What happens if people smoke cannabis just beside you? And what’s the effect for the people?”
How will it work?
In Quebec, the legal age limit is set at 18 to be able to buy marijuana.
Recreational marijuana will be managed and sold by Société québécoise du cannabis outlets across the province and it will also be available for ordering online once legalization is passed. The whole process will be overseen by the SAQ, the province’s liquor board.
Smoking cannabis will be permitted in public places where cigarettes are permitted. However, it will also be prohibited on school and university grounds.
While the federal government’s bill allows it, Quebecers are prohibited from growing marijuana at home.
They are allowed to have up to 150 grams of cannabis allowed at home.
Under the law, there is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of cannabis and workers are also forbidden from being under the influence while at work.
— with files from Global’s Raquel Fletcher and the Canadian Press