Quebec bill would create state-run cannabis stores

Quebec – Canada’s second most-populous province – introduced recreational marijuana legislation that would funnel retail sales through 15 government-run stores and ban consumers from growing marijuana at home.

The bill, which must be approved by Quebec’s legislature, would allow consumption – which includes smoking – for anyone at least 18 years old, according to the Montreal Gazette.

In general, it would permit consumption where smoking tobacco is legal.

Consumption would be banned in bars, restaurants, workplaces and any place where people congregate.

If approved, private businesses would be barred from selling marijuana to almost two-thirds of Canada’s population.

Ontario, the nation’s most populous province, also plans to sell adult-use cannabis through government-owned stores.

Canadian marijuana entrepreneur Jodie Emery called Quebec’s legislation “the most restrictive model we’ve seen yet,” the Gazette reported.

What you need to know:

  • Recreational marijuana would be sold through the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC), which would serve as an arm of the Société des Alcools du Québec.
  • SQC employees would be subject to a criminal background check.
  • The agency would be allowed to sell dried marijuana, oil, concentrates, accessories and specialized cannabis publications.
  • Fines would be imposed on those who violate the ban on home growing. For example, those found to be cultivating four or fewer plants at home would be fined $250-$750 for a first offence.
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