At midnight, October 17th, 2018, cannabis became federally legal in Canada, allowing residents all across the country to be able to freely purchase, possess, and use marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes.
Cannabis is now legalized under the Cannabis Act, which stipulates that people age 18 years and over are allowed to possess a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana in public. (1)
People are also legally permitted to grow their own marijuana plants in their homes. The plants must be grown from licensed seeds, and a maximum of four plants per household is permitted. People who grow their own cannabis are also allowed to make their own edibles and beverages, as long as they don’t use organic solvents to produce other concentrated cannabis products.
Penalties For Not Following the Act
Although the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada is a huge victory for the cannabis industry and proponents of the plant for both recreational and medicinal use, there are still certain restrictions that will be strictly enforced.
The Cannabis Act strongly prohibits the possession and use of cannabis for those who are not 18 or 19 years of age (depending on the province or territory). Those who are caught selling or providing cannabis to someone under the age of majority can face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. This is a new criminal offense that has come about since the Act was passed.
Cannabis Can Only Be Purchased From Licensed Retailers
Although cannabis is now legal across Canada, purchasing it is not as simple as visiting a local store. Right now, legal marijuana can only be purchased from provincially-licensed retailers, and not every province or territory in Canada will have brick-and-mortar stores to buy cannabis from.
Until next spring, consumers in Ontario, for example, can only obtain such cannabis by purchasing it online. That said, next April, licensed brick-and-mortar stores are slated to be open for business to sell legal cannabis in the province. Further, cannabis won’t be sold in the same stores as tobacco or alcohol. (2)
In British Columbia, only one solitary provincially-licensed retailer will be open for business for people to buy their cannabis in person, which is located in Kamloops. (3)
There are, however, unlicensed privately-owned marijuana shops in Vancouver, BC, that are selling cannabis, though there have been rumors that they could be shut down by police. But the Vancouver Police Department does not have any current any plans to shut down such cannabis shops at the moment.
Traveling Outside of Canada With Cannabis Could Land You in Hot Water
Although cannabis is now federally legal in Canada, it’s still illegal to travel with it across international borders. Anyone caught with cannabis crossing the border into the US could face criminal charges. Simply put, border rules have not changed since the Act came into effect on October 17th.
Canada is only the second country in the world to legalize marijuana, behind Uruguay who became the first nation to fully legalize it back in 2013. Proponents of cannabis in Canada have been cheering and celebrating over the past week in what they view as a victory for the industry.
- The Cannabis Act: The Facts
- Here’s how the provinces are planning to regulate marijuana
- B.C. suggests private marijuana stores shutter until licensed