Legal age to buy cannabis in Quebec is now 21, the highest in Canada
Change comes as restricted selection of edible products are set to hit shelves
As of Jan. 1, 2020, the legal age to buy or possess cannabis in Quebec is 21, giving the province the highest minimum age for cannabis use in Canada.
Elsewhere in Canada, cannabis is permitted at age 19, except in Alberta, where the legal age is 18.
The Quebec law, passed by the Coalition Avenir Québec government on Nov. 1, also means people under 21 aren't allowed on the premises of any Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) outlet.
The government rules state that people under 21 will be prohibited from possessing cannabis, even if they bought it legally before the new year.
It amounts to a "total prohibition for minors to possess cannabis" — compared with federal rules that prohibit a minor from possessing the equivalent of more than five grams of dried cannabis.
People under 21 found in possession of cannabis or caught purchasing cannabis can be fined up to $100.
The legislation also includes greater restrictions on the public consumption of cannabis, though municipalities will have leeway to determine their own rules.
The rules say that "a local municipality may, by regulation and under certain conditions, permit the smoking of cannabis in a municipal park, except in those areas of the park where it is already prohibited to smoke or vape tobacco."
What about edibles?
As of January, some edible products will be hitting the shelves at the SQDC, but they will have to follow tight regulations.
The Quebec government has banned chocolates, sweets, candies and desserts containing cannabis that could be considered attractive to people under 21.
While edible products became legal across the country in December, Quebec delayed its rollout until January to give producers more time to make sure their products conform to all the province's rules.
The first products to hit the shelves in Quebec will be liquids such as sparkling water, tea and non-alcoholic beer infused with cannabis.
Next up will be edible products like granola bars and muffins.
According to the province's restrictions, cannabis edibles cannot contain nicotine, caffeine or alcohol and must come in plain, childproof packaging.