Article by Manisha Krishnan, Vice News
Yesterday, VICE published a piece calling out Quebec for unrolling the strictest proposed cannabis regulations in the country thus far.
To recap: Quebec is only opening 15 government-run dispensaries next year, is banning growing weed at home, and will implement a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who test positive for THC, despite the fact that reliable tests don’t exist yet.
A recent Télévision de Radio-Canada interview with Quebec’s Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, and Public Health Lucie Charlebois provides some clarity on what the province was thinking—and it’s not comforting.
As first reported by Lift News, Charlebois told Tout Le Monde En Parle that black market weed is contaminated with fentanyl, which is in part why the government opted to take privatization off the table.
“Those who sell on the illegal market care very little about the health of their consumers and about the quality of their product,” she said. “There are even people who told me that they (illegal sellers) had already started to incorporate fentanyl into cannabis. It’s really disturbing. I think people want a crown corporation that does not rely on profit, which is why they asked us not to go private.”
There is no evidence anywhere that suggest weed is being laced with fentanyl. It’s an idea that former federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has strongly debunked.
“I don’t know why this persists,” said Rebecca Haines-Saah, a public health policy expert and professor at the University of Calgary told VICE. “I think it’s creating a public health crisis where there is not.”
Haines-Saah pointed to a recent CBC report on drug seizures in Canada for the past five years. The data showed there was no fentanyl present in any weed samples tested over that time period.
When asked why people can make their own wine but won’t be allowed to grow weed Charlebois said she was concerned about the possibility of children—specifically her own grandkids—being able to eat cannabis plants.
“I do not grow cannabis, but my neighbour grows it. If my grandchildren go to my neighbour’s house and inadvertently get into the marijuana plants and eat them, that’s not good,” she said. She also noted that four plants at home could keep two people “stoned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”