Editorial: For cannabis, good intentions aren’t the same as good law

Despite the concerns being raised, the CAQ government appears determined to pass this bill. That would be a mistake.

Quebec Junior Health and Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant tables Bill 2 proposed cannabis legislation on Wednesday. Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS

It seems clear that the Quebec government’s heart in the right place when it comes to its proposed restrictions on cannabis consumption. But good intentions should not be confused with good law.

Bill 2, An Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis, was introduced on Dec. 5, quickly making good on a Coalition Avenir Québec election promise. It would raise the legal age for consumption in Quebec to 21 (from 18), as well as prohibit smoking cannabis in public, including in parks and at festivals (the current law’s smoking prohibitions are similar to those for tobacco).

The government’s stated motivation is to protect youth. There is considerable research that suggests consumption of cannabis by younger people, whose brains continue to develop until age 25, can be harmful, among other things increasing the risk of mental illness. The bill’s sponsor, junior health minister Lionel Carmant, is himself is a physician and the former head of neurology at Ste-Justine’s Hospital.

While discouraging consumption by youth is a good objective, the government would be better to concentrate its efforts on education about consumption’s risks and downsides.

Its proposed law seems likely to do more harm than good.


First of all, anyone who thinks that a 19-year-old is going to refrain from consuming cannabis because he or she is underage is not living in the real world. All raising the age would do would be to turn back the clock to days that the federal government’s legalization aimed to end: more business for illegal suppliers; unreliability of information about the quality of the product; more cannabis consumers clogging the court system; more people facing criminal records.  As well, raising the legal age for cannabis might cause some youth to turn to alcohol, hardly an improvement, given all of the known harms and hazards associated with that.

Second, as Mayor Valérie Plante has pointed out, leaving cannabis smokers with no place to smoke is not a reasonable or workable proposition. Such a law would be likely to be defied by youth and adults alike, leaving police with little choice but to enforce it. A majority of Montrealers are renters, and many landlords ban cannabis smoking in their premises. Carmant suggests that tenants can always opt for oils or edibles, but that is not always a good option. Edibles, which are not yet legal, have their own hazards — the delay in effect can cause people to over-consume.

Despite these and other concerns being raised, the CAQ government appears determined to pass this bill. That would be a mistake.

Источник: Montrealgazette.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life


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