New police squad will crack down on contraband cannabis in Quebec

The new Sûreté du Québec unit is to include 54 new members from provincial and municipal forces across the province who will combat smuggling — including online smuggling.

Unit will target unlicensed producers and sellers once marijuana is legalized

As Quebec prepares to open legal retail cannabis stores, a new task force will target contraband suppliers. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Quebec provincial police say they'll continue to crack down on the illegal production of cannabis as consumption is set to become legal across the country in less than a month.

The Sûreté du Québec announced today the establishment of a new unit to fight illegal cannabis modelled on programs that already exist to combat alcohol smuggling and illegal tobacco products.

It will include 54 new members from provincial and municipal forces across the province who will combat smuggling — including online smuggling.

The Cannabis Act comes into effect on Oct. 17, making recreational use of cannabis legal.

But certain activities that fall outside the legal framework will remain subject to criminal or penal offences such as production, possession for the purpose of trafficking, selling on the black market, as well as importing and exporting cannabis.

In Quebec, a provincial law adopted in June stipulates that cultivating cannabis for personal purposes is illegal.

Quebecers will be able to purchase cannabis online or in stores of the provincially run corporation, an independently run subsidiary of the Société des alcools du Québec.