The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association (QCIA) thinks that the province’s increased legal cannabis age will steer youth towards the unregulated market when it comes to buying their product.
The QCIA calls young cannabis users “the most vulnerable consumers.”
According to the QCIA, which represents companies working in the cannabis space and has over 25 members throughout Quebec, the decision to raise the legal consumption age goes against the chief objectives of legalization. The organization believes the increased age barrier will do little to improve public safety and continue to provide money to unregulated sellers.
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“The government’s motives are surprising in this approach,” says Michel Timperio, president of the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association. “Note that public health officials and safety experts who advised the federal government over the implementation of cannabis legalization in the country, as well as many Quebec organizations specializing in cannabis, have advocated for a harm reduction approach by recommending that the minimum age be set at 18- years-old.”
The association also thinks the government’s desire to ban edibles goes against safety measures and will steer consumers to illegal markets to get food-related cannabis products.
“The government is also about to pass its proposed edible cannabis regulation, which if accepted in its current form, would encourage consumers to purchase products from the black market that are legal and approved for sale elsewhere in Canada,” says Timperio. “We believe that Quebecers should have access to legal products that are controlled, properly labelled, packaged safely, and distributed by professionals who can properly inform consumers, not by the local drug dealer.”
Quebec’s new legal consumption age rises to 21 on January 1, 2020.