Government officials in Quebec plans to refuse to sell cannabis and alcohol to unvaccinated people in the province.
As the coronavirus omicron variant rages across Canada, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has once again resorted to aggressive, controversial measures in hopes of clamping down on the virus’ spread.
In addition to reimposing a nighttime curfew that kept keepers at home after 8 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in some areas) for nearly five months last winter, CAQ Health Minister Christian Dube announced last week that QuEBEC’s vaccine passport system will now be expanded to county cannabis and alcohol stores.
The health minister hopes this ruling will spur non-vaccinators to get their first dose.
From January 18, residents will need a vaccine passport to go to a cannabis retail store. However, residents can still order online and have products delivered to their homes.
Cannabis remains ‘essential’ but only for vaccination
“It seems to the government that cannabis and alcohol are de facto changing,” he explainsUniversity of Montreal Professor Jean-Sebastien Valaud, expert in psychosocial maladjustment and substance use disorder.
“Last year when the government decided to manufacture essential products from cannabis and alcohol, there was great consensus among experts who agreed with this decision for various reasons.”
Upon hearing the update requiring vaccine passports to gain access to cannabis or hard alcohol, Vallow says, “The decision is really illogical. My first reaction was to ask: Isn’t that necessary? It clearly is. A vaccine passport is supposed to give access to Only non-essential goods and services.
“I’m not really sure that people who haven’t already been vaccinated will run to get vaccinated because they can’t get cannabis or strong alcohol,”
Professor Jean-Sebastien Valo,University of Montreal.
Fallow worries most about people who abuse cannabis or alcohol themselves. Those who depend on strong alcohol can experience potentially life-threatening symptoms of detoxification, which means they have a physical need for alcohol. There are those with an emotional need brought on by the ongoing COVID crisis.
“A lot of people adapt [with hardship by consuming] Medicines, especially during an epidemic,” Vallows shares. Health Minister Dube said he might exclude people with a prescription from strong alcohol. Well, I’m not sure how easy it would be to see a doctor and get a prescription for alcohol!”
Is Quebec government punishing unvaccinated?
As for the goal of reducing COVID transmission in QuEpic, Vallow wonders how these vaccine mandates will contribute to this cause. He noted that shoppers at SQDC and SAQ outlets are masked and distant, and few will stay in the store for more than 10 minutes.
“The reason for this is to punish the unvaccinated, to force them to vaccinate, to please the population — especially the CAQ voters,” says Vallow.
But how effective is coercion as a means of persuading the vaccine-restrictors to surrender and accept their blows? Fallow is skeptical that this new mandate will help reduce COVID numbers in counties, and now that it’s spiraling out of control, the government has lost count.
“I’m not really sure that people who aren’t already vaccinated will run to get vaccinated because they don’t have access to cannabis or strong alcohol,” Vallow says. with QuThe EBEC vaccination rate is 90%, and those who have not been vaccinated are more likely to choose to do so or have a medical reason that excludes them.
We know that coercion can work in a society where people may actually agree [with vaccination]But you’re talking about people who don’t Wants to be vaccinated. The more suppression we are subjected to, the less effective it becomes.”
Quebec loves weed. The government? Not really.
The situation is completely different from mandatory vaccinations- Fallow fears that the plan will backfire in a way that will burden the most marginalized population of Kohebec.
“[Among] People who are not currently vaccinated, there is an overrepresentation of the poor, the marginalized and the under-educated,” Vallow explains.
“For me, this decision is a deviation from other important issues. It is good for Premier Legault that people are angry about the unvaccinated – because they are not looking at other important issues the way the government is managing the pandemic.”
Finally, Vallow acknowledges CAQ’s deep hostility to cannabis.
When the party took power in 2018, two weeks before federal legalization, the CAQ made it clear that it opposed legalization, which they said ignored “cannabis control” and failed to “reduce the harmful effects of cannabis use.”
The CAQ took office, moments before Canada was legalized, with a regulatory framework they said was designed “to combat the deliberate consumption of this drug.” [and] Restrict marijuana use as much as possible.”
As such, Vallow suspects that CAQ was pleased to restrict access to SQDC—but at a cost.
As for enforcing vaccinations to enter stores, Vallow says, “It could be part of a continuum of interventions — but relying solely on repression and coercion is not enough. You need many other strategies, including education and harm reduction.”