A contentious bill in Quebec to raise the minimum age for using cannabis from 18 to 21 is now under consideration, with a legislative committee hearing kicking off yesterday.

The committee will be hearing from health and industry experts all week as the CAQ aims to deliver on a campaign promise made ahead of the party’s historic victory back in October.

Quebec association of public health spokesperson Marianne Dessureault and professor of criminology Bastien Quirion from the University of Ottawa are both due to speak today.

Both of those individuals have also gone on the record in the past as being opposed to prohibition or raising the minimum marijuana usage age.

Debate on the bill has already resulted in some fiery political theatre, with Liberal MNA André Fortin referring to the hearing as “a phony exercise” and “sideshow” yesterday, claiming that individuals with knowledge on the subject have been prevented from speaking to the committee.

Raising the cannabis use age has been a main campaign platform of the CAQ, with officials from the party repeatedly making it clear that they don’t want young people under 21 having access to THC products in any form.

MNA Geneviève Guilbault previously stated it was the party’s first priority and minister for health and social services Lionel Carmant recently fired off claims that the Liberal opposition party has unduly delayed this week’s committee to consider the bill.

Carmant has additionally stated he would like to see the bill adopted and the law go into effect by next month.

While seeking to raise the minimum consumption age to 21, the provincial government is also working to warn young people away from cannabis through an advertising blitz.

The CAQ-led Quebec government made headlines earlier this month with the launch of a $1.5 million cannabis health risk awareness campaign.

That campaign features a series of rotating ads featuring young Canadians with bizarre physical attributes to grab attention, with text reading “There’s no way cannabis can do this, but the risks are real.”

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