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

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

BC Hydro replacing hundreds of old power poles in Surrey

More than 10 per cent of BC Hydro poles are at least 50 years old

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

North Delta happenings: week of May 23

Events and community listings for North Delta

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Most Read