Quebec, The Province Stuck in the Past
Can you tell me when people started smoking cannabis? No? Then, let’s travel through time to find out how far we can find marijuana in the History. It’s well known that cannabis is one of the oldest plants on Earth, but it is still complicated to determine exactly when its wonderful proprieties have been discovered for the first time. Even if, at first, the plant was probably harvested for its fibers and seeds, the first testimonies about cannabis use for therapeutic and religious rituals are as old as 5000 years. At this time, marijuana was considered a magical and sacred plant that was pushing evil away. Native from Central Asia, it took until the 20th century for the plant to reach the United States. To this day, we can count more than 160 million cannabis users from all around the world. In Canada, this psychoactive substance has been banned from 1923 until 2001, when it was legalised only for medical use. It’s only in 2018, more precisely October 17th, that cannabis for recreational use has been legalised. Even if that decision from the Canadian Parliament is accepted and celebrated by the majority of the population, it wasn’t the case for our “dear” Prime Minister François Legault and his government. But how one person can decide to ignore thousands of years of cannabis use in the whole world and stigmatise it thus causing bankruptcies, thousands of patients who can’t get a license for medical use to self-medicate and most of all causing a delay in the advancement of the province’s economy? Here is how Legault’s government restrictive laws about cannabis contribute to keep Quebec in the past.
When the CAQ came to power in October of 2018, Legault send a very strong message that the legalisation of cannabis was something bad and imposed by the Federal Government. Probably due to a lack of research or knowledge about cannabis through History, the Prime Minister decided to put in place a list of restrictive laws to control the use of cannabis by the Quebec’s population. This is why we are the only Canadian Province that the legal age for cannabis use is 21 years old instead of 18 or 19 years old in the anglophone provinces.
Quebec is also the place where there are the least prescriptions given for medical cannabis use, counting only 21 692 of the 377 024 licenses in the whole Canada. The College of Medecins explains that gap with the overly strict directives given to its members, which are 3 times less numerous to prescribe medical cannabis than in Ontario. According to Marc-André Brissette-Hébert, director of the clinic Solution Cannabis Médical (www.solutioncannabismedical.com, @SCM.Clinique.Medicale), there is a demand for medical and recreational use of cannabis, but the restrictions put in place by the CAQ actually encourage patients to seek help from the SQDC or the black market to self-medicate or they simply get their license from other provinces where the laws are more permissive.
Also, the cannabis market is a great opportunity for the Quebec to improve its economy but we are still far behind the rest of the Canada in that field. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, since the legalisation in 2018, the cannabis industry brought 12 billions of dollars to the Canadian GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which Quebec contributed with only 800 millions of dollars (more than 3 times less than Ontario). One of the causes of this gap is that Investment Quebec has the permission to subsidize medical cannabis producers only after they get their permit form Health Canada. To this day, no project has ever been financed and many of them have never seen the light of day during the last two years.
Even though Legault changed his mind about smoking cannabis in public places and we are now allowed to consume it in the parks, the damages caused by his overly restrictive laws are already irreparable. Until the next elections, the only thing that can be done is to support our local producers as Hexo (https://hexo.com, twitter.com/hexo), Lot420 (https://www.instagram.com/lot420_/), 48North (https://www.instagram.com/48nrth/, https://www.48nrth.com) Origine Nature (https://www.instagram.com/origine.nature, https://originenature.com/#quebec), Fuga (https://www.instagram.com/groupefuga/), Emerald (https://emeraldhealth.ca) and many more.
If you like this article follow us for more!