Quebec takes hard line on cannabis with bill raising legal age to 21

The Quebec government tabled legislation this morning that would raise the legal age for consuming cannabis in the province to 21.  

Bill 2 would also prohibit cannabis consumption in all public places, including parks and streets.

Increasing the legal age to 21 from 18 was one of the Coalition Avenir Quebec's main campaign promises leading up to its Oct. 1 victory.

Lionel Carmant, the junior health minister, has said he is worried about the effects of cannabis on the still-developing brains of young adults.

Carmant, a neurologist, has said he hopes to have the law adopted by March.

The opposition parties are speaking out against the move, saying people aged 18, 19 and 20 will just go elsewhere to get their weed. 

"They will stay in the hand of the black market, and for us it's not acceptable," said Quebec Solidaire's Manon Massé.

"The Hell's Angels, or the mob, gonna sell the product to them, so it's not a good thing at all," said the PQs Pascal Bérubé. "You don't have any guarantee in the quality and we feel that it's a bad message to send to the society.

The federal law legalizing cannabis consumption sets the minimum age at 18 but gives provinces the power to increase it. In all other provinces and territories, the legal age is 18 or 19.