Pubdate: Fri, 22 Sep 2017
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Philip Authier
Page: A7


Premier Philippe Couillard says setting the age to buy legal marijuana
at 21 may not be realistic given Quebec's proximity to Ontario, which
has set the age at 19.

And there are signs Quebec may be headed for a marijuana sales price
of around $7 or $8 a gram in its stand-alone pot stores - again to
stay close to the price Ontario is envisions, which is $10 a gram.

Both provinces are aiming to undercut the price organized crime

On the same day Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was making an official
visit to Quebec - she became the first Canadian premier in history
Thursday to address the National Assembly - Couillard had a debate
with opposition Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault, who
argues the legal age should be 21.

Answering Legault, who said setting the age at 21 would be a clear
signal that pot is dangerous for young brains and thus to be
discouraged, Couillard asked Legault to think about the bigger picture.

"Does he seriously think he will prevent youths from 18 to 21 from
smoking pot?" Couillard asked. "Get real. I think they are smoking
already and will continue to smoke.

"What we want to do is prevent organized crime and the black market
from profiting from the situation. He (Legault) has not thought this

Couillard then said there are other considerations, including the fact
Quebec and Ontario are neighbours and Ontario has set the legal age at

"What will happen on the bridges over the Outaouais River Saturday
night if the ages between the two provinces are very different?"
Couillard asked. "I guess he (Legault) will go and police them to be
sure young Ontarians don't cross into Quebec."

But Legault said as a doctor, Couillard should know about the effects
of marijuana and play it safe with the legal age, to which Couillard
said if Legault has a plan to stop youth from smoking, he should
present it now.

The Parti Quebecois earlier this week said it believes the legal age
to buy marijuanashould be 18.

But there are other signs Quebec's plan will be similar when it comes
to price, too.

"Yes, we want to protect public health and safety," Public Health
Minister Lucie Charlebois told reporters later when asked to react to
Ontario's plan to charge about $10 a gram. But what we want to
counter, to halt to the maximum, is the black market. So if our prices
are not competitive with the black market, we will be in trouble."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt