False start for the commission on the cannabis

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The canadian Press
The deputy minister of Health and social Services, Lionel Carmant, filed its bill in December.

It is a false start for the commission in charge of examining the draft law caquiste to increase from 18 to 21 the legal age to consume cannabis.

At the end of the day Monday, a few hours before the beginning of the work, only a handful of experts had confirmed their presence.

Some, such as the Association of specialists in emergency medicine of Quebec, the quebec Council on tobacco and health and the Association of police and provincial police of Quebec (APPQ) simply dropped out.

The APPQ regrets having been invited ” at the last minute “. “To participate in this kind of audience there, it takes memory, it takes a lot of research, it is too little too late,” said his spokesman, Laurent Arel, in a telephone interview.

It is that the liberal Party of Quebec led the hard life in government in a major splash among watch on the guest list, replied Maude Faniel-Méthot, press attaché to the minister for public Health, Lionel Carmant.

“It was an extremely difficult negotiation with the liberal Party, while it went well with the Parti québécois and Québec solidaire, she said. We consider that we invited a very wide range of groups that have many opinions. “

The official opposition liberal recalled on Monday that the government Legault has attempted to limit the number of experts opposing the age increase of the consumption of cannabis at 21 years.

“The minister [Carmant] had indicated as early as the filing of the bill that he wanted it to be adopted as early as the month of march, then it leaves very little room for discussion on possible changes,” said in the interview, the spokesperson of the QLP health, André Fortin.

Thanks to the liberals, he says, several groups that were not invited, including the City of Montréal, will ultimately be able to testify.

At the end of the day Monday, seven groups had only confirmed their presence at the consultation, which should normally extend over four days.

For the day of Tuesday, only one group is scheduled on : Portage, a non-profit organization whose goal is to help people struggling with substance abuse problems.

There is also a second series of consultations on the cannabis in Quebec in less than two years. Last June, the former liberal government had set the legal age to inhale the substance controversial to 18 years of age, after having heard more than 12 000 people and 120 organisations.

The liberals had justified their decision by saying that the age of 18 years was a consensus in Quebec, and explain the reasons for not wanting to engage young people in organized crime.

At the time of filing his bill in December, the minister Carmant, who is interviewed, made reference to the damage to the brain of cannabis use on young people.

He recalled that the scientific community advised against using cannabis before the age of 25, to reduce the risk of psychosis.

Not less than 35 % of adolescents aged 14 to 18 years of age already consume cannabis, according to him, and to supply on the black market.

The fact of raising the legal age will send a message to the young people in the direction of avoid trivializing the negative effects of this drug on their mental health, he added.

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