Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec's plan to raise the minimum age for marijuana could be good news for the black market.
Last week the newly elected Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) announced plans to raise the legal age to buy and consume cannabis in Quebec from 18 to 21. A move the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says will leave a key demographic of cannabis consumers with nowhere else to turn but 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 yesterday.
While Trudeau says he understands the province's concerns around protecting the health of their citizens, pushing the consumption age up also creates opportunities for a black market to flourish. He also plans to discuss the issue with Premier-designate Francois Legault, who officially takes power on October 18, one day after legalization becomes law. But Trudeau isn't interested in trying to force Legault's hand.
"The government of the CAQ hasn't even established its cabinet yet, so (there are) a lot of decisions to make," Trudeau noted. "We'll share our perspective...and we'll have the necessary conversations at the right time and place."
The new age restrictions won't be in place come the nationwide legalization of cannabis on October 17. So Quebecers aged 18 to 20 will still be allowed to buy and consume marijuana legally for at least a few weeks before the law changes over. And with any luck Trudeau can push the SAQ to keep the lower limit, which is the same minimum age for alcohol consumption in the province.