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Facts About Recreational Cannabis in Canada

Unsplash | Nong Vang

History was made on October 17, 2018 when Canada legalized recreational cannabis. But with prohibition over, there are understandably a lot of questions. How much cannabis can you legally carry? Where can you smoke? And of course, where can you legally buy?

Now that things have changed, these are some things we think you should know, as per the government of Canada:  

The basics

  • Laws are subject to provincial restrictions.
  • Legal age limits are subject to provincial restrictions, typically 18 or 19 years.

How much can we possess?

  • People of legal age can possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public.
  • We can possess 150 grams of fresh cannabis.
  • We can share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults.

Where can we legally buy it?

  • We can buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer.
    • In provinces and territories without a regulated retail framework, individuals are able to purchase cannabis online from federally-licensed producers.

And what’s this I heard about growing cannabis at home?

  • We can grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use.

Is it legal to cook or bake with cannabis at home?

  • We can make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products.

It is illegal to sell cannabis or its products without a provincially-granted license.

Can we bring cannabis abroad?

  • That’s a big no. Keep your recreational cannabis in Canada where it’s legal.

Where can we smoke?

First things first, remember that these public smoking laws extend to recreational and medical users alike. Also, further restrictions can be enforced by municipal bylaws, employers, property owners, and lease agreements. It is still illegal to consume cannabis at work in Canada. So just make sure you check the fine print before assuming it’s okay to smoke or vape.

In Ontario, you can smoke in the following places:

  • Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (e.g. long-term care and/or retirement homes)
  • Many outdoor public places (e.g. sidewalks, parks)
  • Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (e.g. have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)
  • Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)
  • Controlled areas in:
    • long-term care homes
    • certain retirement homes
    • residential hospices
    • provincially-funded supportive housing
    • designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

All the places you can’t smoke in Ontario

  • Indoors
  • Places where children gather: schools, libraries, playgrounds
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Publicly owned spaces: golf courses, tennis courts, outdoor pools
  • Restaurant patios
  • Operating boats or motor vehicles
  • Outside government buildings
  • Bus stops or other enclosed spaces

What are the driving laws?
Being intoxicated while driving is illegal, irresponsible, and life-threatening, no matter the context. The government of Ontario says potential consequences for being caught include:

  • an immediate licence suspension
  • financial penalties
  • possible vehicle impoundment
  • possible criminal record
  • possible jail time

How do the cops know if you’re intoxicated?

There are new technologies available to screen your oral fluids and further roadside tests for cannabis intoxication.

Criminal Penalties for Breaking New Cannabis Laws

You might be wondering what’s the worst that could really happen? Here’s a snapshot view:

  • Possession over the limit: from tickets to 5 years in jail
  • Illegal distribution or sale: from tickets to 14 years in jail
  • Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits or with combustible
    solvents: from tickets to 14 years in jail
  • Taking cannabis across Canada's borders: up to 14 years in jail
  • Giving or selling cannabis to a person under 18: up to 14 years in jail
  • Using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence: up to 14 years in jail