Mixed reaction by interested groups over new Quebec marijuana legislation
Published Thursday, November 16, 2017 5:30PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 16, 2017 6:40PM EST
There’s mixed reaction in Quebec to the province’s new marijuana legislation.
While some Quebecers are applauding what they call a progressive stance, others say it will create more problems.
“Cannabis prohibition has been an abject failure,” said Adam Greenblatt, an outspoken advocate of legalized pot. “Under cannabis prohibition, cannabis has only become more potent and more widely consumed so obviously it has been a complete failure in that regard.”
Greenblatt stands to benefit from the sale of marijuana; he is the Quebec brand manager of Canopy Growth Corporation, the largest publicly traded cannabis producer in North America.
Legal cannabis could mean huge profits for Canada and Quebec, said Greenblatt.
“We shouldn't ignore the fact that the cannabis trade is a profitable one and that these profits can go into making our society better,” he said.
For every supporter, though, the new bill has its critics.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said it approves of the government’s plan to suspend the licence of anyone caught driving with even a trace of cannabis in their system, but remain concerned.
“We're hoping that the federal government will act before the legalization to give our police across Canada the ability to test for drugs using oral fluid testing,” said Theresa-Anne Kramer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
They say in 2013, there were 680 road deaths involving stoned drivers – almost twice the number of drivers who died with alcohol in their system.
Some doctors are also concerned, saying they worry legalizing marijuana does little to help their patients.
Sante Cannabis medical director Dr. Michael Dworkind said under the government plans, his patients who are prescribed cannabis will have to continue paying sales tax on it, which he’d hoped would be abolished (there is no sales tax for other prescribed medications).
“There is no insurance for this, nobody covers medical cannabis,” said Dworkind. “The chronic pain population who have limited income say some weeks, they can't eat. They would rather pay for the medical cannabis and get comfort than pay for the food.”
Landlords are pleased about one aspect of the legislation: Despite their concerned about tenants growing plants in their homes, the province has ruled there will be no homegrown weed allowed in Quebec.
Those caught growing plants at home could be fined up to $750.
“Clearly it's not enough. We need stronger measures to prevent people from breaking the law,” said Hans Brouillette of the Quebec Landlords Association.
Landlords, doctors and Mothers Against Drunk Driving plan to urge the government to tighten up the law.