Premier Philippe Couillard says setting the age to buy legal marijuana at 21 may not be realistic given Quebec’s proximity to Ontario, which has set the age at 19.
And there are signs Quebec may be headed for a marijuana sales price of around $7 or $8 a gram in its stand-alone pot stores — again to stay close to the price Ontario is envisions, which is $10 a gram.
Both provinces are aiming to undercut the price organized crime charges.
On the same day Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was making an official visit to Quebec — she became the first Canadian premier in history Thursday to address the National Assembly — Couillard had a debate with opposition Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault, who argues the legal age should be 21.
Answering Legault, who said setting the age at 21 would be a clear signal that pot is dangerous for young brains and thus to be discouraged, Couillard asked Legault to think about the bigger picture.
“Does he seriously think he will prevent youths from 18 to 21 from smoking pot?” Couillard asked. “Get real. I think they are smoking already and will continue to smoke.
“What we want to do is prevent organized crime and the black market from profiting from the situation. He (Legault) has not thought this through.”
Couillard then said there are other considerations, including the fact Quebec and Ontario are neighbours and Ontario has set the legal age at 19.