The Cannabis Act by the province

NamasteMD

The Cannabis Act is a law that legalized recreational cannabis use throughout Canada. It was passed on October 17, 2018—nearly a year from today.

While The Cannabis Act aimed to place medical cannabis under federal control recreational cannabis laws vary depending on what province you live in. These laws dictate the ways in which cannabis can be sold, grown or publicly consumed. Some provinces, such as Ontario for instance, will allow you to consume cannabis in public spaces while others like Manitoba may ban public consumption entirely.

A new set of regulations is coming out for cannabis infused foods (edibles) at the end of this year, providing consumers with a new set of laws and regulations to become familiar with. That’s why we thought it might be a good time to recap of all the cannabis regulations per province into one handy blog post. Check out cannabis laws by province below. 

Age

Recreational customers 18 and over can purchase cannabis, with some provinces designating 19 as the minimum consumption age. Medical cannabis is subject to federal jurisdiction. Patients under 18 who qualify may be able to access medical cannabis if prescribed by a doctor.

Ontario

Age requirement

Customers 19 or over can purchase, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis.

Retail spaces

Cannabis can be purchased online through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS.ca) or in-person at a privately run authorized retailer.

Strict penalties can be imposed for non-compliance. Buying cannabis from non-authorized retailers can subject you to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison. 

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

In Ontario you can smoke cannabis at a variety of public spaces. These include outdoor areas like sidewalks and parks. You can also consume cannabis in private spaces like designated hotel rooms and private residences, barring residences that double as workplaces (i.e. retirement homes). Some residential vehicles and boats may meet criteria if they’re parked or anchored. You may also consume cannabis at research and testing facilities if it’s being used for testing purposes. 

You may also smoke cannabis at selected controlled areas. These include care and retirement homes, hospices, supportive housing and designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities.

There may be additional restrictions on cannabis imposed by municipal bylaws or private property owners. 

Where you can’t smoke

You can not smoke in indoor common areas enclosed in apartments, workplaces, college residences and non-designated rooms at motels. This also extends to schools, hospitals, child care centers and publicly owned spaces such as sports fields. You can not smoke cannabis on any vehicle that is being driven or will be driven. Smoking cannabis is also prohibited in other outdoor areas like bar patios and government buildings. 

How much cannabis you can possess

Ontario stipulates recreational users can not have more than 30 grams (approximately one ounce) of dried cannabis or equivalent in public at any given time.

Home growing rules

Ontario residents 19 and over may grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person) provided it is for their personal use. Starting materials must be purchased from authorized retail stores.

Quebec

Quebec is often subject to cannabis laws that are in flux. The official Quebec government website currently advises consumers to note that restrictions on cannabis use provided  for in the Cannabis Regulation Act also apply to medical cannabis.

Age requirement

You must be 18 years or older to purchase recreational cannabis. However this age may change. The Coalition Avenir Québec government, for instance, plans to amend the law and raise the age of consumption from 18 to 21.

Retail spaces

The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) is the only authorized cannabis retailer in Quebec. The SQDC stipulates that only fresh or dried cannabis flower may be sold. Quebecoise government also states that no other products “including edible products, whether approved or not by the federal government, may be sold in Québec without the Québec government making a regulation authorizing its sale.”

Despite new federal regulations for edible cannabis Quebec is taking a hard stance on their sale, announcing that, “The SQDC will not be allowed to sell edible cannabis in the form of “sweets, confectionery, dessert, chocolate or any other product attractive to minors,” in a statement to the Gazette officielle du Québec

Quebec’s definition of “attractive to minors” is anything “directly marketed for minors” or that which “there are reasonable grounds to believe that its form, appearance or other of its sensory properties could be attractive to minors,” according to draft regulations. 

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Smoking cannabis is largely restricted to private residences. Other locations you can smoke include designated smoking rooms at living environments such as seniors’ residences, with the number of smoking rooms identified capped at 20% of the rooms available. You may also smoke cannabis if it’s relevant to research at a health establishment or research center, provided you designate a custom smoking room, of course. 

Where you can’t smoke

You can not smoke cannabis in many public spaces—generally in any place where people gather. Indoor restrictions include health and social service institutions, childcare centers, sports grounds, restaurants, hospitals, casinos and workplaces. 

You also can not smoke cannabis at many public places. These include bus shelters, terraces and playground, among others. A more comprehensive list can be found here

Quebec City

Quebec City outlines specific policies set in place regarding cannabis use here. These entail:

  • No public intoxication
  • 18 years as the minimum purchasing age
  • A zero tolerance policy for driving and consuming. Anyone caught with cannabis in their saliva while driving is subject to a driving ban. 

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults may possess up to 30g dried cannabis or equivalent in public places (including Quebec City). Private residences may possess up to 150 grams regardless of the number of persons who reside there. No adult may possess more than 150 grams of dried cannabis in one or more places other than a public place, notably in all of his or her residences.

Home growing rules

Quebec had initially banned growing cannabis for personal use altogether. However a ruling by the Quebec Superior Court Justice said this practice was unconstitutional

Quebec residents can currently grow four plants per household. 

Nova Scotia

Age requirement

You must be 19 years or older to purchase or consume cannabis. Anyone under 19 caught using cannabis may be subject to fines or criminal charges.

Retail spaces

You can only buy cannabis legally from The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC), the only authorized retailer of cannabis in Nova Scotia. Cannabis can be purchased online or at designated NSLC stores.

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

You can smoke cannabis at home or private residences. However you still may be subject to the terms set in place by your landlord. More information can be found here

Where you can’t smoke

Nova Scotia operates under the Smoke-free Places Act which applies to all combustibles, including tobacco, cannabis, e-cigarettes, and waterpipes. This means all indoor public places and many outdoor spaces must be smoke-free. 

Cannabis can not be used in any form by passengers or drivers. A fee of up to $2,000 may be levied for non-compliance.

Municipalities may pass bylaws that put additional restrictions in place. 

How much cannabis you can possess

Anyone 19 and over can have up t0 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public. There are no caps on how much cannabis you can keep at home for personal use. 

Home growing rules

Adults of legal age can grow up to four cannabis plants per household. Every individual apartment within a house or building is considered to be a separate household. 

Municipalities may also pass additional bylaws restricting cannabis’ cultivation.

New Brunswick

Age requirement

19 and older.

Retail spaces

Cannabis NB is the only legal retailer. Stores are restricted to people age 19 and older.

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Private residences. Public consumption in New Brunswick is not permitted.

Where you can’t smoke

Anywhere in public.

How much cannabis you can possess

Up to 30 grams dried cannabis or equivalent.

Home growing rules

Anyone over 19 can grow up to four plants on their own property for personal use. 

Manitoba

Age requirement

19 or older.

Retail spaces

Consumers can only purchase legal, non-medical cannabis from cannabis retailers licensed by the Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA).

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Private residences. Exceptions may apply for certain cases such as palliative care units or an end of life hospice.

Where you can’t smoke

You can not smoke or vape cannabis publicly in Manitoba. Smoking is also illegal in other enclosed public spaces. 

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults 19 years or older can possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent.

Home growing rules

You can’t grow cannabis in Manitoba at the moment though this policy may change

British Columbia

Age requirement

19 or older.

Retail spaces

Cannabis is sold exclusively at government-run stores, licensed private retailers, and the B.C. government’s online store.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) operates public retail stores as well as the online store. You can find a list of these public retail stores on the BC Cannabis Stores website. Online sales are available only through the BC government online store, with delivery available for medicinal cannabis patients. Private retailers can not offer online sales.

New federal regulations will include rules to allow for the production and sale of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals. 

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Adults 19 years and older can smoke or vape cannabis in public spaces where tobacco smoking/vaping are allowed. Select hotels may also offer designated smoking rooms. You can also smoke cannabis at home or private residences. Other facilities like assisted living residences may allow you to smoke/vape cannabis in designated rooms as well.

Where you can’t smoke

Quite a few public places. These include playgrounds, sports areas, public buildings, parks and workplaces, within six meters of bus stops and transit shelters. A full list of restricted spaces can be found here

Additional restrictions may be set in place by local or indigeneous governments regarding use of non-medical cannabis.

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults 19 and over may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place. Adults may not possess more than 1,000 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in a non-public place. 

Home growing rules

Adults 19 and over can grow up to four cannabis plants per household provided they are not grown in an area that faces public places. Public places include areas like parks, sidewalks, streets and schools. 

Landlords can also impose their own rules regarding growing non-medical cannabis on their property. This also applies to other local and indigenous government groups. 

Prince Edward Island

Age requirement

19 or older.

Retail spaces

There are four cannabis retail stores in PEI. These are managed by the  Prince Edward Island Cannabis Management Corporation. All PEI residents 19 and over may also purchase legal cannabis online via an e-commerce platform.

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Restricted to private residences. You may also smoke cannabis at designated smoking spaces within community care facilities or hotel rooms. 

Where you can’t smoke

It’s illegal to smoke in any public place or workplace in PEI.

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults 19 and over may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. There are no limits on how much cannabis you keep at home.

Home growing rules

Up to four plants per household regardless of how many adults live there. 

Saskatchewan

Age requirement

19 or older.

Retail spaces

The cannabis retail space is governed by Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework

Adults can purchase cannabis in-store or through online retailers. You can view a list of cannabis retailers on Saskatchewan here.

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Private residences (subject to landlord restrictions).

Where you can’t smoke

Publicly smoking non-medical cannabis is illegal in Saskatchewan.

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults 19 and over can purchase up to 30 grams from retail outlets.

Home growing rules

Adults can grow up to four cannabis plants per household.

Alberta

Age requirement

18 and over.

Retail spaces

Adults can purchase recreational cannabis only from licensed stores or the online retail space albertacannabis.org. Residents have two options for buying legal cannabis:

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Private residences and select public places such as assisted care facilities and designated hotel rooms.

Where you can’t smoke

You can’t smoke or vape cannabis in areas where tobacco is restricted. You also can not smoke cannabis in a variety of public places including hospitals, playgrounds, schools, zoos and retail outlets. A more comprehensive list can be found here

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent.

Home growing rules

Up to 4 plants per household. Some residents such as condo inhabitants or those who reside in multi-family dwellings may not be permitted to grow cannabis. These restrictions are subject to rules set out in rental agreements. 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Age requirement

Adults 19 or older.

Retail spaces

Cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador is regulated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) and can be purchased from one of the 20+ retailers in the region. Adults can also purchase cannabis online.

Buying cannabis from a non-NLC licensed retailer is illegal. 

Where can you smoke cannabis? (Public consumption)

Private residences or a yard attached to a private dwelling. You may be able to smoke include select hotel rooms and campsites depending on their regulations.

Where you can’t smoke

You can not smoke or consume cannabis in a public space. You also can not smoke cannabis in a vehicle or boat. 

Medical cannabis patients with valid authorization may smoke in outdoor public places where smoking or vaping are permitted. You still, however, can not consume cannabis in a motor vehicle.

How much cannabis you can possess

Adults are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent.

Home growing rules

Adults 19 and over can grow up to four cannabis plants per dwelling. You also can not grow cannabis outdoors (excluding adjacent buildings such as sheds). Growing more than four plants may subject residents to criminal offenses. 

Conclusion

Cannabis laws vary widely depending on your province. These laws regulate the ways cannabis is grown, sold and distributed across Canada. Knowing your local province’s laws is the best way to ensure you consume cannabis in a manner that’s both safe and compliant.