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Canada has been very progressive when it comes to their cannabis laws. In 2018 Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use. Medical marijuana has been legal since 2001.
Canada Cannabis Laws – Recreational
On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act legalized cannabis in Canada for recreational use. The following are some of the Act's main clauses.
The majority of jurisdictions have a legal minimum age of 19 to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis; however, Alberta and Quebec have a minimum age of 18.
Limits on Cannabis Possession
People are only allowed to carry up to 30 grams, or about one ounce, of dried cannabis in public (or its equivalent in other forms).
Adults may grow up to four cannabis plants at home for their own use (per household, not per person). Yet, this might differ in other provinces or areas.
Sales and Distribution of Cannabis
The only approved outlets for the selling and distribution of recreational cannabis in Canada are licensed merchants and online stores.
Driving While intoxicated
Driving while intoxicated with cannabis is prohibited, and there are severe consequences.
Although the Cannabis Act establishes a framework for national cannabis legalization, each province and territory has its own laws and rules regulating how to use the drug.
Canada Cannabis Laws – Medical
In Canada, medical cannabis is legal and regulated under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Here are some key provisions of the ACMPR:
- Medical authorization: To access medical cannabis in Canada, individuals must have a medical document signed by a healthcare practitioner who is authorized to prescribe cannabis. This document is similar to a prescription and includes information about the type of cannabis, the dosage, and the duration of treatment.
- Licensed producers: Medical cannabis can only be obtained from licensed producers who are authorized by Health Canada to grow and sell cannabis for medical purposes.
- Possession limits: Individuals authorized to use medical cannabis can possess up to a maximum of 30 times their daily dosage or up to a 30-day supply, whichever is less.
- Consumption: Medical cannabis can be consumed in various forms, including dried flower, oils, capsules, and topicals.
- Taxation: Medical cannabis is exempt from federal excise taxes, but it may be subject to other taxes at the provincial/territorial level.
- Workplace safety: Employers are required to accommodate employees who are authorized to use medical cannabis, but workplace safety remains a priority and individuals who work in safety-sensitive positions may be subject to additional restrictions.
It's important to note that the rules and regulations surrounding medical cannabis in Canada are subject to change, and individuals are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.
Is it Legal to Travel to Canada with Cannabis?
Even though cannabis is legal in Canada it is unlawful to bring cannabis into Canada with you unless you have a prescription for medical cannabis authorized by Health Canada. If you enter Canada with cannabis you must declare it at customs.
Age Requirement in Canada For Cannabis
According to federal law in Canada, the age requirement for using marijuana is 18 years or older. However, each Canadian province is allowed to set their own restrictions as it relates to age. Therefore, you may find that in a few provinces, the legal age may be between 19 to 25. It all depends on the decision made by each province.
With an age limit, there will be restrictions in cannabis sales to minors. There could be strict penalties if any licensed marijuana dispensary or business owner advertises or promotes to anyone under the required age. The young person caught with marijuana would receive civil sanctions for marijuana possessions, but they would not be criminally prosecuted, especially if they only possessed small amounts of marijuana.
The Licensees in Canada for Cannabis
Licenses will be issued to marijuana growers upon the upcoming marijuana legalization in Canada. The question now is who is going to be allowed to grow and sell marijuana as the federal government is currently doing with licensed producers of medical marijuana.
According to officials, full marijuana legalization to specific licensees ensures that the product maintains its safety and quality. On the retail front, Canadian provinces will make their own rules. If the province, however, does not adopt a retail distribution or marijuana sales agenda, then the government will assert their authority to permit consumers to buy directly from a licensed producer chosen by the federal government. There will be no vending machines allowed at the time of full marijuana legalization in Canada.
Purchasing Retail Cannabis In Canada
The Canadian provinces will decide whether to allow any marijuana dispensaries to operate as a storefront. As in the United States, not all communities will embrace retail stories. In fact, some communities will prohibit them altogether. If you are an adult that meets the age requirement you will be able to possess as much as thirty grams of marijuana or just a little more than an ounce – without getting in trouble with the Canadian law.
Cultivation Laws in Canada For Cannabis
You can grow marijuana on your own, but there are some restrictions. You can cultivate up to four plants per residence (not per person). Each marijuana plant must have a height of only three feet and three inches. The existing medical marijuana legislation will still stay intact for now.
The plan is to review those regulations for adult use only. Of course, changes will be made, if necessary. While, this may not happen overnight, the existing marijuana dispensaries have to all be licensed by the time that full marijuana legalization takes place.
Edibles will be sold, but for health and safety cannot consist of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol. Want to know more about medical legalization in Canada? Visit the Cannabis Training University to enroll in online cannabis certification courses.
While the United States enjoys increasingly progressive cannabis laws, our neighbors to the north are a large step ahead of us. Canada has fully decriminalized recreational cannabis, while the U.S. still struggles to iron out legalization on a state-by-state basis. After an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Cannabis Act became law and received royal assent on June 21. This new law officially marks the end of a 95-year prohibition of recreational cannabis in Canada.
This is not to say that Canada hasn’t struggled to craft a comprehensive and cohesive plan for full legalization. There have been controversial timelines to put new laws into practice that have been pushed back and plenty of political discord. At the time of this writing, however, Canada’s Senate has passed Bill C-45 with a vote of 52-29, granting full legalization of recreational cannabis to Canadian citizens on October 17, 2018.
What It Means Now That Canada Has Gone Green
Joining Uruguay as the first two countries to fully decriminalize marijuana, Canada’s example is paving the way for an increasing number of other countries that are headed in this direction. Some of these countries, like Mexico, Colombia, The Netherlands, and Jamaica, should not come as much of a surprise. Others, however, are more difficult to imagine. France, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, and New Zealand are all weighing the pros and cons of full legalization, with possible future legislation likely.
Canada’s path to legalizing marijuana has been anything but smooth. Decriminalization has met with delays and resistance among conservatives who fear their law enforcement needs more time to strategize and fine-tune its policies—much like states in the U.S. continue to refine their approach to monitoring the legal industry.
In fact, Canada’s provinces are responsible for deciding their own policies, much like individual states in this country. The Canadian government fears a spike in black market sales and finding effective ways to stop it, again much like our situation in the U.S.
Canada’s progressive laws will no doubt result in a financial boon that will boost its economy (the market forecast is at over $7B in 2019), and time is of the essence for the country to establish reasonable policies. With the implementation of legal cannabis rapidly approaching, each province has yet to determine iron-clad regulations. The rules of each province still remain murky. Some will allow public consumption, other will not. Likewise, home growing will occur in some areas but not others.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways each province currently plans to address the Cannabis Act. Here’s how things are shaping up.
The province of Quebec predicts a price point of $7 to $10 per gram, with public consumption being legal. Restrictions on public consumption will more or less mimic cigarette restrictions. If you are 18 years or older, you will be able to buy from a licensed retail facility. The Quebec government will control its marijuana laws, much like it controls liquor laws. Marijuana dispensaries will include metro areas in Montreal but will not be in close proximity to schools and parks. No dispensary can operate within a kilometer of another, and home growing will not be legal. Quebec will also allow delivery of cannabis through its postal service. Driving under the influence will result in a 90-day driver’s license suspension.
Novia Scotia hasn’t designated a recommended price point for its cannabis. Public consumption will be legal (although extremely limited), and the minimum age will be 19. Citizens can carry as much as 30 grams and grow four plants or fewer.
Strict measures will occur for minors caught with more than 5 grams. Those caught driving under the influence will have their licenses suspended for a year and face a $1,000 to $2,000 fine. The province is undecided on whether it will allow landlords to ban marijuana on their premises, but legislation may allow them to evict those who violate the conditions of their tenant agreement. Private homes may be the primary areas for people to consume.
The historically conservative Alberta province has no recommended price for cannabis. Its cannabis legislation will be more restrictive than the rest of the country. There will be no (or extremely limited) public consumption—in designated areas only—but the minimum age for consumers will be 18. Calgary, the capital of Alberta, has legislators who would like to forbid outdoor use altogether, so cannabis enthusiasts in Alberta may have much more limited options for where they can consume than the rest of the country.
The province of Ontario estimates its cannabis price to be $10 per gram—although its black market currently sells at nearly 15% less. To legally consume or purchase cannabis, a person must be 19 years old. While medical patients may consume in public, recreational use will only occur in private residences. Ontario will regulate the sale of cannabis through the Ontario Liquor Control Board (LBCO) but not actually sell it. There will be 40 dispensaries open when legalization goes into effect (150 by 2020), and online retail sales will also be allowed. Dispensaries may not open near schools. Cannabis will be sold separately from liquor, although that will probably occur elsewhere in Canada.
Manitoba’s plan for cannabis consumption remains less defined than in other provinces. There is no price recommendation, and outdoor use is undecided. It seems that Manitoba will be late to the game with some of its legislation.
Manitoba has made some decisions, however, and the Manitoba Liquor and Lottery Corp. will oversee cannabis distribution, though private retail facilities will sell it—and the number of dispensaries allowed remains undefined. Like Ontario and the territory of Nunavut, Ontario plans to ban home cultivation.
The cannabis policies in British Columbia will be similar to Nova Scotia in some respects (no defined price estimate, public consumption allowed, and 19 years of age for consumption), but more lenient overall. Cannabis will be sold separately from alcohol throughout British Columbia—although in some rural areas, marijuana will be sold in stores that also sell food and lottery tickets. Sales will be made in government-run stores as well as from independent retailers. Driving laws will resemble those in Quebec, with a 90-day suspension of driving privileges if caught driving impaired.
Labrador and Newfoundland
The combined province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the newest of Canada’s 10 provinces, and its cannabis laws will largely resemble those for alcohol. There is no estimated price for cannabis, and the legal age to buy it will be 19. Smoking will not be allowed in public, and the only place to smoke it will be private property. The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will issue private retail licenses and will also maintain an online store. Alcohol and cannabis cannot be sold together and must be available for purchase at different stores. At the time of this writing, the province was fine-tuning cannabis educational programs as well as its driving laws.
The New Brunswick estimated price point is quite specific, from $9.20 to $11.54 a gram. The legal age to buy and consume cannabis will be 19, but the public smoking of it will remain illegal. Overall, this province’s marijuana laws will be among the strictest in Canada. Citizens will have to keep their cannabis in locked containers or locked rooms in their homes.
People may carry as much as 30 grams but may store unlimited amounts at home. Driving laws are particularly strict, and impairment will be determined by saliva and blood tests as well as a field sobriety test. Impaired individuals will have their cars impounded. Those convicted of driving impaired will have to pay to have their licenses reinstated. Driving penalties will be particularly strict for those under 21 years of age.
New Brunswick plans to designate only 20 retail cannabis stores before legalization goes into effect.
Prince Edward Island
The province of Prince Edward Island will allow sales to anyone aged 19 years or older. There is no estimated price point for cannabis, and public smoking will be illegal. There will be only four government-run dispensaries, one each in Montague, Charlottetown, Summerside, and West Prince. Prince Edward Island will allow online ordering and delivery.
The province has been extremely resistant to legal marijuana, and the only place permitted for consumption will be in private homes, where an unlimited amount may be stored (the national 30-gram public possession limit will be in effect). Many of Prince Edward Island’s other cannabis laws are in a state of flux and require hasty attention.
The legal age for buying cannabis in Saskatchewan will be 19, with no estimated price (authorities will arrive at a price based on those of other provinces), and no public smoking will be allowed. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will monitor the sale of cannabis through private retail stores and will initially issue 60 permits. Its laws mandate that anyone who purchases marijuana must return home immediately afterward—not for groceries, or even gas (the hope is that this will prevent people from smoking in cars). Four plants can be grown legally at home, but landlords may ban tenants from smoking or growing.
Canada Cannabis Laws Updated
With the passage of the Cannabis Act in October 2018, Canada became the second nation in history to legalize cannabis for recreational use on a national level.
This historic law sought to safeguard public health and safety, eliminate the black market for cannabis, and prohibit juvenile access to the drug. This is a thorough explanation of Canada's cannabis legislation, covering mailing, buying, selling, licensing, prices, age restrictions, and provincial laws.
Federal Organization Cannabis Canada
A stringent legal framework for regulating cannabis production, distribution, sales, and possession is provided by the Cannabis Act for all of Canada. Regarding federal law:
Adults are permitted to carry up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, either in dried or comparable non-dry form.
Adults may grow up to four cannabis plants for personal use from permitted seed or seedlings in their homes.
Online buyers can purchase cannabis from growers with a federal license or from merchants approved by the provinces and territories.
Sales to minors are absolutely forbidden, and those who violate the law will face harsh penalties.
Expenses and Permits For Cannabis In Canada
Cannabis prices vary by province and product, although they are often competitive to counteract the black market. To become a cannabis producer or retailer, a business must apply for a license and adhere to Health Canada's regulations, which include quality control, security measures, and tracking of the product from seed to sale to avoid diversion to the illicit market.
Territory and Provincial Laws
Province and territory legislation on cannabis differ, particularly with regard to the legal age, where it can be purchased and used, and cultivation practices. For instance:
Legal Age: In accordance with alcohol consumption rules, the majority of provinces have established the legal age for cannabis usage at 19, while in Alberta and Quebec, it is only 18.
Retail Models: Some provinces have private or hybrid retail models, while others have government-run outlets (such as Ontario's OCS and Quebec's SQDC).
Consumption: Different provinces have different laws governing where it is permissible to use cannabis; some allow it wherever that smoking tobacco is allowed, while others have stricter guidelines.
Mail Ordering Pot
Adults may share up to 30 grams of legally permissible cannabis with other adults under the Cannabis Act.
Cannabis can be mailed inside the nation via Canada Post's procedures, but it must be sent and received by those who are of legal age.
Purchasing Cannabis in Canada
You can buy cannabis on a number of platforms:
Provincial Retailers: The primary points of sale, which differ throughout provinces, include physical storefronts and internet platforms. For instance, customers in Ontario have access to private retail stores or the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) online, whereas sales in Quebec are governed by the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC).
Online Sales: For individuals who might not have local access or who would rather shop online, purchases from licensed producers are accessible.
It is against the law to sell cannabis in Canada without a Health Canada authorization.
Licensed producers are able to sell cannabis straight to patients with a prescription as well as to approved retailers and distributors.
Retailers need to get the necessary licenses to operate, and each province has a regulatory organization that keeps an eye on these sales.
Driving While Intoxicated in Canada
Driving while intoxicated by cannabis is prohibited and punished same to driving while intoxicated by alcohol. The power to administer sanctions and conduct roadside intoxication tests belongs to law enforcement.
The Future of Cannabis in Canada
Although cannabis use continues to be controversial in Canada, the country appears to be paving the way for other nations to follow suit with their own versions of national legalization. There is no disputing the fact that the plant appears to have worldwide appeal. Right now, all eyes are on Canada as a progressive testing site that will help determine the plant’s future elsewhere.
If you decide to head north of the border this fall and plan to include cannabis consumption on your trip, it will behoove you to research the marijuana laws in places you plan to visit—much like you would when visiting legal states in the U.S. Doing so will ensure a pleasant visit free of legal hassles or fines. In our age of increasingly liberal laws regarding cannabis use, we can all salute Canada taking an important first step for international approval!
The cannabis market in Canada is an example of a progressive legal strategy for controlling cannabis usage, distribution, and cultivation. Provincial and territorial rules have the power to drastically change the cannabis experience across the nation, even if the federal government establishes the general legislation.
To maintain compliance and encourage safe and responsible use, consumers and companies must carefully traverse these restrictions, complying to the legal age requirements, purchasing limits, and consumption guidelines. The legal system is always changing in response to new developments, health information, and the financial effects of legalization.
Is it Legal to be High in Public in Canada?
Medical marijuana may be smoked or vaped in public places where tobacco smoking is permitted, but recreational cannabis use is only permitted within private homes or in yards connected to those homes; it is never authorized in a car.
What is the Legal Limit of Cannabis in Canada?
According to the law, an adult may have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent, in their possession for recreational use in public.
What is the Legal Limit for Edibles in Canada?
The maximum amount of THC allowed in an edible product is 10 mg. The maximum THC content of cannabis extract intended for consumption is 10 mg per unit (such as a capsule or administered dosage) and 1000 mg per package.
Canada Cannabis Laws Conclusion
Many people realize that times are changing and the adaptation of both medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are inevitable for the future as it has begun to be embraced in so many countries, Canada included.
If you want to learn more about cannabis visit Cannabis Training University, the only IACET accredited cannabis college.
Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.