Trudeau says Quebec cannabis plan leaves opening for organized crime

Speaking to reporters on the last day of a trip to Armenia, Trudeau said increasing the legal age could fail to eliminate the black market

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Saturday morning the incoming Quebec government’s plan to raise the legal age for smoking cannabis to 21 could leave an opening for organized crime.

Speaking to reporters on the last day of a trip to Armenia, Trudeau said increasing the legal age could undermine one of the federal law’s key aims — eliminating the black market.

“If we eliminate the segment of the population between 18 to 19 and 21 years, which is a population often in university, often in areas where they’ll try to consume, we’re keeping an important segment of potential consumers for the black market,” he told reporters in Yerevan.

Trudeau said he hopes to discuss the matter further with Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault, whose party was elected Oct. 1.

The federal law sets the minimum age at 18 but leaves it open to provinces and territories to establish their own rules.

In all provinces and territories, the legal age will be 18 or 19 when cannabis becomes legal next Wednesday.

But Legault has promised to raise the age to 21 from 18 in Quebec. Trudeau said he personally agrees with a legal age of 18.

The prime minister said he understands that some people would like to prevent those under 25 from consuming marijuana due to the substance’s impact on brain development, but that doing so would “maintain a black market.”

“We believe that setting the legal age to (match) the age of alcohol consumption is a compromise that makes sense,” he said.

Despite their differences, Trudeau appeared reluctant to begin a quarrel with the newly elected Quebec premier.

“The government of the (Coalition Avenir Quebec) hasn’t even established its cabinet yet, so (there are) a lot of decisions to make,” he said.

“We’ll share our perspective … and we’ll have the necessary conversations at the right time and place.”

While Legault has promised to raise the legal age to 21, those changes won’t be in place when cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday.

Therefore, Quebecers between the ages of 18 and 20 will be able to legally consume cannabis for at least the first few weeks.

The party has said it intends to begin the process of modifying the law once the legislature session begins.

Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Duncan family seeks return of stolen Crosby jersey

Hockey community rallies to replace boy’s gear after theft

Editorial: RCMP have their focus in the right place: drugs

There’s a lot of money involved in illegal drugs; some are doing very well off the misery of others.

Duncan Christian hosting Island girls A basketball championships

Five teams battle for two spots in provincials

LAKE FLASHBACK: Forest land sell-off, environmentalists a threat, and sewer system fix costly problem at L

TimberWest selling, a forest industry report scares locals, and sewage in the basement. Yikes!

Three men arrested after assault in Duncan

Victim suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Coming up in Cowichan: Bowl for Kids; Leaders of Tomorrow

Bowl for Kids Sake coming up in Cowichan Valley on March 3… Continue reading

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

Most Read