Photo by Wendy McCormick
Montreal, QC- The Quebec government tabled its cannabis legislation Thursday morning, delivering long-awaited answers to questions regarding key issues such as who can buy marijuana, how and where it will be sold and whether Canada Day in Quebec can be anything more than a tense melange of sweat, moral outrage and Roman candles.
The bill, set to become law on July 1, 2018, outlines what many are describing as a fairly conservative plan for the regulation and sale of marijuana that includes a legal purchasing age of 18, a ban on homegrown plants and the hope for many Quebecers that next year’s neighbourhood street party won’t be a fucking nightmare for once.
“Usually my husband and I just white-knuckle it through the debates about how long Canada has been around,” said Jane, 32. “There’s always beer and stuff but it’s not really enough to cut through the noise, and definitely not enough to unpack colonialism,” she went on. “But now that pot is gonna be legal, I’m hoping maybe we can just eat some cold hot dogs, talk about Game of Thrones and agree to disagree like they do in Ontario.”
In other communities, parents of young children are discussing how they might be affected by the new legislation.
“I want to be able to take my kids to public spaces and not worry about them being exposed to harmful substances,” said Mark, 40, father of two young girls. “Unfortunately they really love bouncy castles,” he went on, “But at least this Canada Day I can bypass my usual panic attack legally as I wait two hours to watch them jump around in a veritable norovirus incubation chamber.”
Many Quebec citizens are discussing one of the key facets of the cannabis bill: a zero-tolerance policy for smoking and driving.
“Road safety is number one,” said Sebastien, 56, a former long-haul truck driver. “And for Quebecers, marijuana is literally the only thing keeping us on the road,” he remarked. “Scientifically speaking, the only thing that can prevent a complete sensory overload from the mind-boggling pylon graveyard in our periphery is to smoke a modest doob before taking the wheel,” he went on. “Not to mention weed has been shown to reduce cross-vehicular franglais rage-screams by 85 per cent,” he explained. “With a few tweaks to the legislation, this has the potential to be the first functional moving day in Quebec’s history.”
While the introduction of the Société québécoise du cannabis is a welcome change for many citizens, some are concerned about what the plan to eventually open 150 SQC outlets will mean in the long run.
“There will be more SQC stores than St-Hubert BBQ restaurants,” remarked CAQ justice critic Simon Jolin-Barrette. “Yet I see nothing in this plan about building more restaurants,” he continued. “Does the Liberal government really think this kind of disparity between dope dealerships and Quebec’s most prestigious supplier of delicious BBQ chicken is in the best interest of its people? Give me a goddamn break.”
Overall, though, the reaction to the legalization of pot in Quebec is garnering a positive response.
“This is an important step toward Canada being recognized as ‘cool as hell’ on the global stage,” said Justin Trudeau, expertly juggling a hacky sack with one foot at a press conference in Montreal Thursday afternoon. “Just like me.”
Though the majority of the bill has been announced publicly, many are predicting the following details will be revealed in the coming days:
-Citizens will not be allowed to publicly display symbols of marijuana except historically relevant ones
-Joints rolled in English must be 30 per cent smaller than those rolled in French
-Smoking marijuana publicly in a niqab or burqa will be banned, aviator sunglasses highly encouraged
– 100 per cent tolerance policy for racial profiling will increase to 200 per cent
-Tam-Tams will proceed as usual ■