The Quebec government has employed a new police squad designated to halt and prevent illegal distribution and production of cannabis when it becomes legal across the country in less than a month.
The Sûreté du Québec announced the force on Tuesday, which will be modeled after existing programs that fight against illegal alcohol and tobacco products. The squad will begin operation on October 1.
Despite the Cannabis Act’s legalization on October 17, certain activities outside the legal market will remain criminal offenses. Production, trafficking, black market sales, import and export will be illegal and the government’s new task force will be employed to enforce it.
54 officers will form the squad, which will consist of mixed teams made up of police officers from the Sûreté du Québec and municipal officers. Monitoring online smuggling schemes will be the new squad’s priority.
Quebecers will only be allowed to purchase cannabis online or in stores of the provincially run organization, an independent subsidiary of the The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ).