The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association has accused the provincial government of jeopardizing the health and safety of its residents by opposing cannabis edibles and concentrates.

Canada legalized edibles, beverages, extracts and vape pens in October in a move dubbed Cannabis 2.0. Health Canada is currently assessing licensing applications from producers and the first products are due to hit shelves in the next few weeks.

However, Quebec plans to defy the federal government by prohibiting many forms of edibles, certain extracts and topical products such as creams. The province has declared that it is trying to safeguard the children of Quebec, but it also said it hopes this move will reduce consumption among adults.

The QCIA, a trade body representing licensed retailers and producers in the province, said the proposed regulations would go against the objective of Cannabis 2.0 – improving public safety and eradicating the black market.

It said Quebecers would continue to buy potentially dangerous products on the black market if they cannot purchase them in stores, and urged the government of “ignoring reality”. Quebec has the lowest legal consumption rate in the country, according to Statistics Canada, as the province has implemented such strict regulations, but the QCIA points to a flourishing illicit market.

“Access to illegal edibles online continues to grow, and the black market is becoming increasingly more sophisticated by misleading consumers with fake brands and professional-looking websites,” said QCIA chairman Michael Timperio.

He pointed to illegal products that arrive in the mail within a few days of order, but that do not meet any hygiene standards, deter children or indicate correct THC levels. Timperio added that edibles, topicals and extracts would offer Quebecers a healthier alternative to smoking weed, while a ban would only help criminal gangs thrive.

The QCIA called upon Quebec to ensure edibles and other concentrates are regulated, monitored, properly labelled and controlled.

Earlier this month, the province decided to raise the legal age for recreational cannabis consumption from 18 to 21. It has also launched a bid to outlaw home growing as it continues to defy the push back against the objectives of federal cannabis laws.

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