8

Cannabis Legalization in Canada

2018 was a busy year with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada on October 17th. Here are some facts on non-medical cannabis and what it means in legalese for the 10 Provinces and the three territories in Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon.

Before we look at each one, for those who still aren’t sure, here is the definition of Cannabis according to Wikipedia.

Cannabis (marijuana) is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol better known as THC and is one of 483 known compounds in the plant, which also includes at least 65 other cannabinoids.

Let’s look at a brief description of the laws governing each area.

PROVINCES

 

Flag of AlbertaThe government in the province of Alberta allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences; however, it is restricted in public spaces, vehicles and areas in which children frequent, as well as banned smoking and vaping areas.

18 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis

Where to purchase: Privately run cannabis stores with strict regulations. Online sales is under the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC).

Plants per household: 4

 

Flag of British ColumbiaThe government in the province of British Columbia allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences and in public areas where smoking and vaping are already permitted. Should these areas be frequented by children, then the consumption will be banned.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: The wholesale distributor is the Liquor Distribution Branch in B.C. which runs cannabis retail stores.

Plants per household: 4

 

Flag of ManatobaThe government in the province of Manitoba allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences but prohibits using in public which includes: streets and sidewalks, parks and beaches (including provincial parks), school grounds, restaurant patios and decks, grounds of health care facilities (except in an end of life hospice or palliative care unit); you also cannot grow in your own home.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase or possess cannabis.

Where to purchase: The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) regulates the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis; the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) supplies cannabis to licensed private retailers who can sell in stores and online. Cannot be sold alongside liquor.

Plants per household: 0

 

Flag of New BrunswickThe government in the Province of New Brunswick allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences but the cannabis must be kept under lock and key to keep children from accessing it. It’s banned in public areas.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess, or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: Cannabis NB is the only legal retailer, a subsidiary of the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation (ANBL). It’s also available online through Cannabis NB.

Plants per household: 4

 

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR FLAG

The government of Newfoundland/Labrador allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences, hotel rooms, and multi unit-residential apartments at the discretion of the hotel or landlord but it is restricted in public spaces and vehicles. There is zero tolerance for any new drivers or drivers under the age of 22.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis,

Where to purchase: Private retail stores regulated and distributed by the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation (NLC) as well as government-run online outlets.

Plants per household: 4

 

 

Flag of Nova ScotiaThe government of Nova Scotia allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences. If you rent, it is at the discretion of your landlord who can amend your lease and allow rules with regard to smoking or growing. It’s restricted in indoor public places, workplaces and in some outdoor places where children frequent such as a playground or schoolyard. It’s also restricted in bar and restaurant patios. “Use” is strictly prohibited in vehicles and can carry a hefty fine if discovered but is allowed to be transported as long as it is sealed and stored properly.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: The only authorized dealer is the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) stores or online.

Plants per household: 4

 

Ontario FlagThe government of Ontario allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences, however, you cannot consume in condos, apartment buildings and university/college areas, public places and work places that are enclosed, hotels, motels and inns that are deemed as non-designated areas smoking, and places frequented by children. There are restrictions that pertain to hospitals, hospices and care homes as well as publicly owned spaces (such as a sports field), vehicles, boats, restaurants and bar patios.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: At present, the only legal option to purchase is online through the Ontario cannabis Store (OCS.ca). Private stores will be introduced April 1, 2019, and licenses will be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Plants per household: 4

 

 

Prince Edward IslandThe government of Prince Edward Island allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences as well as in an apartment, hotel room, or campsite. Owners of multi-unit dwellings can prohibit cannabis use but can designate an outdoor space at their discretion.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: Government-operated retail locations in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague with another being built in West Prince Region, as well as an online sales outlet.

Plants per household: 4

 

 

Quebec flagThe government of Quebec allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences. It’s prohibited in areas frequented by children such as schools or instructional services, childcare or day care centres, college buildings except student residences. Restrictions are also in place for public spaces such as parks, bus shelters, non-designated smoking areas and sports fields as well as vehicles. It’s prohibited to grow cannabis for personal use and to possess a cannabis plant.

18 is the minimum provincial age to purchase or possess cannabis.

Where to purchase: The only authorized distribution and sales is through the Société Québécoise Du Cannabis (SQDC)

Plants per household: 0

 

Saskatchewan FlagThe government of Saskatchewan allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences however, landlords can impose rules that are reasonable prohibiting the possession, use, growth and sale of cannabis. It’s prohibited in public places as well as vehicles by either passengers or driver and there is zero tolerance for drug impaired driving.

19 is the minimum provincial age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: Through online and private stores regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).

Plants per household: 4

 

TERRITORIES

 

Map of the Northwest TerritoriesThe government of the North West Territories allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences or on private property but is prohibited at public events and public spaces frequented by children. Use is prohibited in vehicles.

19 is the minimum age to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis.

Where to purchase: At most North West Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC). The NTLCC’s website is the only legal option to buy cannabis online.

Plants per household: 4

 

 

Flag of NunnavutThe government of Nunavut allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences. Use is prohibited in public places frequented by children, on hospital grounds as well as public events and vehicles. It’s possible, under Nunavut legislation, to sell and consume non-smoked cannabis in lounges. Residents are not prohibited to grow their own plants but could face restrictions as per the regulations and guidelines.

19 is the minimum age to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NULC) will sell and distribute cannabis online through online retailer Canopy Growth (formerly known as Tweed) for the first year of legalization. As of January 10, 2019, no plans have been announced with regard to storefront outlets (Source Wikipedia).

Plants per household: 4

 

 

Flag of the YukonThe government of Yukon allows adults to consume cannabis in their private residences (unless such residence is used as a daycare or preschool). It’s up to landlords if they allow the smoking or growing of cannabis in their rental properties. It’s illegal to consume in public. It’s prohibited to use in a vehicle however it can be transported in a vehicle as long as it is properly sealed in a closed container and out of reach of both passengers and driver.

19 is the minimum age in Yukon to purchase, possess or grow cannabis.

Where to purchase: the Yukon Liquor Corporation’s cannabis retail store as well as online at www.CannabisYukon.org. There are plans underway to enable private stores under a licensing regime.

Plants per household: 4

Final Thoughts

As you can see, cannabis legalization in Canada is different for each province and territory, in particular with purchasing, distribution and number of plants allowed. This legislation will continue to evolve in the coming months. There will likely be more stores and online outlets available. Added into the pot is the sale of edible products and concentrates which will become legal approximately one year after the Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018. Interesting times ahead!

Legal Disclaimer: This information was gathered from government sites but it’s suggested that you check them yourselves to learn the full scope of what is or is not allowed in each province or territory of Canada. For legal inquiries it is suggested that you consult a lawyer.

Do you live in Canada? What are your thoughts? If you don’t, do you think Canada is going in the right direction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Ann

Mary Ann shares her passion and personal experience with CBD and medical cannabis as well as the experiences of others. Do visit regularly to find out the ins and outs of CBD and medical marijuana products. If you are passionate about something and would love to share it on your own website, then click here to get started.

8 Comments

  1. 0Cannabis Legalization in Canada I think it is quite a 50/50 decision. It has its pros and also its con at the same time. I mean by legalizing it they have planned to cease illegal selling of those drugs but at the same time by legalizing it they have increased the number of people consuming it. Well I think they should reconsider this decision and modify few legislation in it.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I think that recreational cannabis is here to stay in Canada. The legislation most likely will change as time goes on. It is the government’s hope to cut down on illegal selling of drugs. Time will tell if this is effective or not.

  2. I was interested to read your article.  I live in Canada and have done some research on this subjects as well.  In BC a province known for its BC Bud had only one store open on Oct 17th.  Compared to the other provinces they were way behind and still are to this date, it didn’t make sense to me as they had over 100 applications and only one was open on the day it became legal.  

    I looked into it a little more and it seems they didn’t even start looking at the applications until 2 months before.  Seems odd because we all knew for a long time this was going to happen.  Guess they don’t need the tax dollars this industry in generating lol…..and I wonder…..the one store that was open was a LDB – liquor distribution branch (run by the government of BC)  I see most of the other that are being approved are also LDB stores….Interesting

    • Your comments on BC and only one store open on October 17th surprises me as well. Hilary Black, BC who has been a huge advocate of medical marijuana for over 20 years said, with recreational cannabis now legal across Canada, “It’s a monumental moment in history. It’s a moment for Canada to be incredibly proud. Words almost fail me in some ways.”  We certainly had plenty of notice that this was happening!

      I sense a ‘tongue in cheek’ response to the outlet being a liquor distribution branch and as you have pointed out, many of the provinces also are run by the different Liquor and Gaming Associations. Interesting indeed.

  3. Hi Mary Ann,

    Thanks for the review and for enlightening me about the uses of canabis in Canada. Although, I am not from Canada nor am I living there but I planned to travel there one of this days and it’s a good thing to be informed about the norms and culture of the country one wish to travel to. 

    Actually, I never knew Canabis was legalised in Canada until I read your post and am really grateful for such wonderful information because it has added to my knowledge about what is going on in Canada. If I may ask, is it really possible to keep the younger ones under the age of 18 away from this drug? if we are to be honest with ourselves, I don’t think so. Even though the government put some restrictions to the uses, this sort of things usually find it’s way to where the children are.

    Thank you so much for the insight.

    Regards,

    Olushola.

    • Hello Olushola,

      I am glad to hear you might visit Canada. I am sure you will love it as it is a beautiful country.,

      I think as far as youth and Cannabis, it is the same as with alcohol – if they can find a way, they will try it. However, there are several laws in place for all the provinces and territories in Canada and many of them prohibit having cannabis in areas where children/minors frequent.

      The Canadian government has information on how to talk to teens about drugs. The Cannabis Act has measures to protect youth such as age restriction and promotion of cannabis. Also, it is a criminal offence to provide cannabis to youth under the legal age (varies by province) with maximum penalties of 14 years in jail.

      The other criminal offence involves the product packaging and promotion. They are not to be appealing to youth in any way including packaging or labeling, and  cannot be available in self-service displays or vending machines. Penalties can include a fine of up to $5 million or 3 years in jail. Pretty hefty fines and not worth doing in my opnion.

  4. If I lived in Canada I would use this often. This is an excellent overview and covers everything I need to know. Being in the US, we are slowly coming along and will eventually get there.

    I do wonder how legalization affects jobs where using is illegal. Do you have any thoughts on how companies will enforce this? I assume it cannot be picked up on a test (like alcohol). I am just checking so I am ready when we come around.

    Disclaimer: I have pretty bad arthritis and know this helps, but I cannot use it to ease the pain. Any insight will help when we legalize it.

    Cheers!

    • Hello Nate,

      You bring up some valid points. With regards to how it affects jobs, the workplace policies in place should ensure workers understand their expectations around consumption and supervisors should be educated, trained and understand how to recognize impairment and if such impairment is affecting their work performance.

      Presently, law enforcement are using what is called Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation which includes a series of tests as well as a toxicological sample of urine and blood. There is a company out of British Columbia, Cannix Technologies Inc, who is working to develop devices that will detect THC using breath samples.

      You mentioned that you cannot use cannabis to ease your arthritis. Why is that? CBD (which has little to no THC) has been used by many arthritic patients with great success.

Leave a Reply to Mary Ann Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *