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Quebec Fails to Pass Bill to Raise the Legal Age for Cannabis

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Lawmakers in Quebec failed to pass a bill that would have increased the minimum age for purchasing and consuming cannabis from 18 to 21 before the end of the legislative session.

When the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) was elected to power in Quebec last year, they brought with them a promise to raise the legal age for buying and consuming recreational cannabis. Right now, anyone 18 or older can legally purchase cannabis in Quebec, which is tied with Alberta for having the lowest legal age for recreational cannabis. Every other province has set the minimum age to 19, but Quebec would have had the oldest minimum age had the CAQ prevailed. That won’t happen for the time being, at least, as the bill to raise the legal age failed to win approval from the provincial legislature.

Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant blamed the bill’s defeat on a lack of support from Liberal lawmakers, who form the Official Opposition in the Quebec legislature. The Quebec Liberals worked with the government on other revisions to Quebec’s cannabis laws, but they didn’t back the province’s plan to change the age limit.

Meanwhile, the Liberals have pushed back and said the reason the bill progressed slowly was because of a number of flaws that needed to be addressed.

Despite this setback for the CAQ, the age debate isn’t dead yet. The bill is expected to be resurrected once the legislature resumes sitting in mid-September. If they are successful, then the legal age to buy and consume cannabis could be increased to 21 come the end of this year.

h/​t Montréal Gazette

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