Quebec finds Ottawa's marijuana legislation plan short on details, funding

Quebec Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois says she would have liked to see more specifics included in the federal legislation.

Public health minister says provinces will need additional money since they are to manage plan

The federal government is expected to introduce legislation Thursday that would legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Quebec government argues Ottawa's plan to legalize marijuana falls short on details — and funding.

Quebec Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois says she would have liked to see more specifics included, such as information on marijuana by-products and threshold levels for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Speaking shortly after the federal government tabled its long-awaited legislation on Thursday, Charlebois said she's concerned there is no additional money for the provinces, even though they will play a big role in managing legal marijuana and its impacts.

"We've got to make sure we protect the population as a matter of public health and security," she said.

Quebec's minister of youth protection Lucie Charlebois said under the new act foster families will also be more involved when important decisions are made for the child's well-being. (CBC)
While many of the rules will be determined by the federal government, it will be up to the provinces and territories to set the price for marijuana and decide how it is distributed and sold.

"All the things that we're going to have to put in place are going to need some money," she said.

The Liberal government's pot plan comes with two new bills:

  • The first, to regulate the recreational use, sale and cultivation of marijuana.
  • The second, to strengthen measures to prevent impaired driving.

Ottawa's proposed legislation would allow people to possess up to 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis and sets the minimum age of possession at 18, although provinces and territories can set a higher legal age.

Charlebois said an interministerial committee will now take an in-depth look at the federal legislation in depth.

Following that, she will table her own bill.

​The province is expected to develop its approach in conjunction with neighbouring Ontario. 

PQ calls for public hearings

The Trudeau government's goal is to make legalization a reality in Canada on or before July 1, 2018.

The Opposition Parti Québécois has called on the government to hold a series of consultations across Quebec, listening to both experts and the public. 

PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée likened his party's vision of the hearings to those held on assisted dying, which were held starting in 2010, four years before the provincial government passed Bill 52, its right-to-die legislation.