Quebec aims to tighten cannabis rules

The Quebec government has tabled legislation to impose the strictest cannabis controls in the country.

It would raise the legal age to 21 from 18 and outlaw consumption in public.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec government campaigned on the promise to increase the age, and it followed through with a bill that would also see consumption prohibited in all public places, including parks and streets.

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

He told a news conference that studies have shown cannabis can cause damage to brain neurons until age 25, and he personally would have preferred setting the limit at 25.

He said he rejects the ``fatalistic argument'' that the higher age limit will push teenagers and young adults to illegal sources like criminal organizations.

But that is exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned of yesterday.

He told reporters in Ottawa, ``These are questions the Quebec government will have to answer, but they will make their decisions as they are entitled to do.''