Cannabis Legalization in Canada

Canada has been a topic of conversation for quite some time now, especially among weed enthusiasts around the world. The idea of cannabis legalization throughout Canada has been in the works for years. Finally the day has come when recreational marijuana is now legal.

Cannabis Legalization Canada

The cannabis legalization date in Canada was October 17th, 2018. It’ the date Canadians everywhere could legally indulge in weed and other cannabis products. This has come into play under the brand new Cannabis Act. Wondering what exactly cannabis legalization Canada entails? Keep reading for everything you need to know about legalized weed in the Maple Leaf country.

Here you’ll learn about what regulations have been put into place for purchasing and using marijuana. Read about everything from possession laws to growing your own plants at home. You also be able to familiarize yourself with the health factors involved with smoking and consuming marijuana.

What is the Cannabis Act?

The government of Canada has not just legalized cannabis, but also passed laws on how to regulate its use and purchase. These laws help to control the production, distribution and possession of the product. The main goal is to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands, specifically Canadian youth.

What are the laws on adult possession?

Although the main priority of the Act is to keep cannabis from kids and teens, there are obviously some laws set in place for adults. Each province differs slightly but everywhere you must be at least 19 (or 18 in some places) to use recreational weed.

You can’t purchase more than 30 grams at a time. This is the also same amount you are legally allowed to carry in public. Each province has a different law on how much weed can be stored at home. Some provinces allow an unlimited supply at home whereas Quebec only allows for 150 grams within the residence.

You can only purchase the product from an approved retailer in your province or territory. Most provinces are allowing adults to grow four recreational plants per residence (not per person). So if you have three roommates you can still only have four plants in the house.

How do the provinces differ in regulating cannabis use?

If you are wondering about the regulations, you have to first consider your residencial province or territory. The laws are generally the same throughout Canada with slight differences from province to province.

Whether you’re in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec; it’s very similar regulation.

Before purchasing or using recreational cannabis, check out your area’s government website to learn the rules. Here you’ll find the minimum legal age, possession limits, where you can buy it, where you can use it, and rules for growing your own plants.

Is the cannabis I’m purchasing actually legal?

First you need to check the provincial laws (Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec etc…) to figure out where you can legally purchase cannabis products within your province. Depending on where you live you can purchase from government retail shops, online dispensaries, or private retail storefronts.

During the first year of the Act you can buy seeds, plants, oils, or fresh/dried flowers from a legal retailer. After the first year of the Cannabis Act things like cannabis concentrates and edibles will be for sale. But first laws have been established to regulate these products.

When you purchase a product from one of the legal suppliers you’ll notice an excise stamp on the packaging. This stamp proves that it is in fact a legal cannabis product; the stamp colors vary for each province. When ordering online discretion is a top concern. Every product will be packaged in vacuum-sealed bags to keep any skunky scents from escaping. Also, it is usually shipped in a basic shipping box or envelop.

Just because it is now legal is it actually safe?

Cannabis is safe for just about everyone, but this does not mean everyone should be using it. Anyone experiencing health issues should first consult his or her healthcare provider before trying it out. Even if you are in good health, you still need to be responsible. Of course there are certain conditions where cannabis can be beneficial, but first check with a professional.

For first time users, always start small and consider things like THC vs. CBD content. Generally you should not start with a strain that is extremely high in THC. Try not to mix marijuana with other drugs and always use it in an environment where you feel safe. The main thing to remember is to be responsible and avoid overusing the product.

Are there any potential health risks when ingesting cannabis?

Like any drug, there are always risks involved when abusing a product. If you are responsible, however, there are essentially no health risks related to cannabis use. The main thing to keep in mind is that the human brain continues to grow and develop until the age of 25; if you are younger than this age use the drug with caution.

Anyone under the legal age – 18 or 19 – should not try to access cannabis. No matter your age is, ingesting weed can have short-term effects on your memory, attention span and critical thinking skills. Although this seems like common sense, you should not use marijuana if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can anyone in Canada grow weed?

As we mentioned before, most provinces are allowing four recreational plants per household. Each province has its own rules on growing, so be aware of your area’s regulations before you start growing. For example, in Ontario you can grow four plants but its French neighbor of Quebec doesn’t allow recreational growing.

If you want more than four plants for medical reasons, you’ll have to apply for a license through Health Canada. This process is fairly easy; you just need to fill out the application and acquire a prescription from a doctor. For anyone wanting to grow and sell weed you’ll need a special license for distribution, but this process is much more extensive.

What are the rules for driving while under the influence of cannabis?

No matter where you live in the country, it is always illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Even if you have only consumed a small amount, you should never drive after smoking. When you get behind the wheel under the influence or any drug you are not only putting yourself at risk, but also others.

Crossing the Border with Cannabis

Wondering about the rules for crossing the Canadian border or provincial borders within the country with cannabis products? Check out these rules and regulations for entering, leaving, and travelling within Canada with marijuana.  

According to the Cannabis Act can you enter the country with cannabis products?

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal throughout Canada, this does not mean you can cross the border into the country with it. Regardless of the amount you have or if you have a medical prescription, it is still illegal.

Any marijuana products must be declared to the Canada Border Services Agency when crossing the border. Failing to do so could lead to serious fines and even a criminal record.

What about leaving the country with cannabis?

The same goes for transporting cannabis out of the country; it is still illegal under the Cannabis Act. Whether you fly or drive across the Canadian border with cannabis you are risking criminal charges. Even with a valid prescription you might be denied entry into your desired destination.

Are there any laws regarding crossing provincial and territorial borders with cannabis products?

In general you can cross provincial borders with cannabis products, but you must be aware of each province’s laws. Regardless of which province you are from, you must abide by the laws of the area you travel to.

For example, the minimum age for cannabis possession in Alberta is 18, but in neighboring British Columbia you must be 19. If you are 18 and decide to take a road trip from Alberta to BC, legally you won’t be allowed to use or purchase weed.

What You Need to Know about Cannabis Impairment

Other than not smoking and driving, what else should you know about cannabis and mental/physical impairment? Here are the facts on cannabis impairment and how it affects you. Learn about how you might be punished by law and potential risks of using it in the workplace.

How can weed affect you mentally and physically? How long do these effects last?

Even after the initial “high” of ingesting weed fades away, you can still be impaired – even up to 24 hours. This is determined by several factors like how you ingested it and how much you used. It can affect your judgement and reaction times.

Since reaction times are slower, the main thing to avoid is getting behind the wheel. If you are ever in doubt, just don’t do it.  In today’s day and age there is no excuse not to grab an Uber, use public transportation, or sleep on a friend’s couch.

What are the potential punishments if you are caught driving under the influence?

Now that recreational cannabis is legal, police and law enforcement officials are being trained to detect cannabis impairment. This is especially true for anyone committing traffic violations, which is just another reason to avoid smoking and driving.

If you are pulled over and thought to be under cannabis influence, the officer will perform a series of tests. These include Standard Field Sobriety Testing and the Drug Recognition Expert evaluation. In some cases you might even be asked to give an oral fluid or blood sample.

Punishments for impaired driving depend on the province and each individual case. You could potentially have your license suspended, pay fines, and even face criminal charges and jail time. Even if you are caught smoking a joint in your parked car with the engine off, you’ll be fined.

What about impairment in the workplace?

Just because you can now use cannabis legally does not mean you can show up to work high.  It is the duty of the employer as well as the employees to promote workplace safety. This means any potential impairment issues should be addressed right away, especially if impairment is a safety risk.

All in all it is the employer’s choice when deciding how to deal with workplace impairment. As an employee just be aware that showing up to work high could lead to possible termination. Although it may not be illegal to come to work impaired, it is important to promote safety for yourself and everyone around you.

How the Cannabis Act Will Affect the Cannabis Industry

Many licensed producers and distributors of cannabis are wondering how these new laws will affect the industry as a whole. Even small-time producers growing for medical reasons might experience some changes with the Cannabis Act. Here’s what you need to know.

What if you have a license through Health Canada to grow your own medical plants?

If you already have a license with Health Canada to legally grow for medical reasons you’ll need to contact Health Canada to transfer your license under the Cannabis Act.

Wanting to become a licensed producer to sell weed commercially?

For those wanting to sell cannabis products, first you’ll need to apply for an additional license through Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Once you get licenses from both Health Canada and the CRA, sellers need to follow certain procedures to stay within the laws of the Cannabis Act.

No matter what the product is it must clearly display the excise stamp that is specific to your province. Once you start selling you’ll have to calculate and collect the appropriate taxes. Then you’ll have to send the excise duty to the CRA along with your tax return.

Anyone selling cannabis must follow these protocols; if not they are technically not selling a legal product. There are also certain packaging guidelines to follow, so study up on this before you start selling.

How will Health Canada monitor the selling and distribution of legal cannabis?

With legalization there will be much more traffic of cannabis products throughout the country. Health Canada has developed a new system for tracking the entire lifespan of each cannabis product; this starts from the cultivation of the seed to selling the finished product. But don’t worry, individual consumers will not have information stored on them. Confidentiality is important to Health Canada and personal information will stay protected.

Since you’re looking to purchase marijuana online, please read our online dispensary reviews.