Canadian Cannabis Regulations: What You Need to Know
On October 17, 2018, the Canadian Federal Government legalized cannabis use for recreational purposes in Canada. Finally, after almost a century of scrutiny and criminality, Canadians are able to enjoy a natural product that has been used for thousands of years.
Alongside of recreational cannabis legalization came a number of strict yet important regulations within the industry. Many of these regulations have been focused at providing a framework for cannabis sellers and producers to have streamlined product quality and safety. Along with the corporate regulations however also come regulations for those that are looking to enjoy cannabis products. In this article, we go in-depth with everything you need to know regarding the laws within both British Columbia and Canada as a whole.
The History of Cannabis Legality in Canada
Much like alcohol, cannabis has undergone a number of harsh restrictions leading to prohibition in Canada. Since signing the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill in 1923, Canada has banned the use of non-medical cannabis from citizens.
Along with the prohibition of cannabis came a long series of stigmas and misinformation about the naturally occurring plant. Over thousands of years, civilizations have been utilizing cannabis on a regular basis. Despite having less negative health consequences compared to alcohol or other harsh pharmaceuticals, cannabis was unfortunately viewed as a detriment to society and culture.
With growing concerns of drug and substance abuse across North America, the war on drugs began to take shape. As society progressed, and new research became available about the potential medical benefits of cannabis. In 2001, the Federal Canadian Government enacted the first medical cannabis law, the Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). From 2001, we began to see a real shift in mentality from both medical health professionals and the general population.
Today, we see a bustling new legal cannabis industry, backed by a state-of-the-art new legal framework. Although we are in the early stages of growth and development for the cannabis industry, we see similarities within the beer and spirits industry after the prohibition of alcohol ended in the late 1920’s (ironically, around 100 years ago).
Canada Cannabis Regulations
Within Canada, there are two overlying sets of regulations to consider: federal and provincial laws. From the federal side, the Government of Canada lays out broad scope rules across the board. From here, provinces are able to enact their own additional regulations on top. Here are some of the laws taken from the Canada Department of Justice website:
Within Canada, residents may:
- - In public, have up to one ounce (30g) of cannabis that has been legally obtained. This amount can be in dried of equivalent
- - With other adults, residents may give or share up to an ounce (30g) of legal cannabis
- - Purchase cannabis from a provincial/territorial licenced retailer
- - If the province that the resident lives in does not have a provincial cannabis framework, then residents may purchase cannabis online from a federally-licenced producer
- - Grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residents, for personal use (from licensed seed or seedling sources)
- - Create food and drink items containing cannabis, as long as they do not contain organic solvents that are used to create concentrated products
Also worth mentioning, as of October 17, 2019, edible and concentrate products (such as vape cartriges) are now legal and available both provincially and federally. This is great news for those that are looking to have a more discrete form of utilizing cannabis.
British Columbia Provincial Laws
The Government of British Columbia has a rather comprehensive set of details available to the public to learn more about their strict laws and regulations. To read more, please visit their website here: httpss://cannabis.gov.bc.ca/.
Here are some of the laws within British Columbia:
- - In order to possess, purchase or grow non-medical cannabis in British Columbia, you must be at least 19 years of age
- - If you are 19 years old, you may only purchase cannabis from either provincial government-run store, licensed private retail stores, or online from the BC Government
- - All legal cannabis must contain a B.C. Cannabis Excise Stamp, similar to what is seen on tobacco products
- - Just like federal laws, adults (19+) can have up to 30g of dried cannabis (or equivalent) in public for non-medical purposes
- - In private non-medical settings, adults can have up to 1,000g (1kg) of dried cannabis (or equivalent)
Here are the areas in which adults (19+) are are permitted to smoke or vape cannabis:
- - In public spaces where tobacco and vaping are permitted
- - In hotel rooms that permit it
Here are the areas in which you are not permitted to smoke or vape cannabis:
- - Playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, swimming pools and spray pools, or any decks or seating areas associated these places
- - Public buildings, workplaces, or common areas of apartments, condos, or dormitories, and within six metres of air intakes, windows, and doorways attached to these places
- - Within six metres of bus stops, transit shelters, train stations, ferry docks and similar places
- - Regional and municipal parks, except for designated campsites
- - Provincial parks, except for areas identified or designated
- - Public patios
- - Health board properties, except in designated smoking areas
Adult Canadian residents are only allowed to transport legal cannabis in vehicles if it is still sealed within the original government packaging and out of reach or access of passengers and the driver. It is illegal to consume cannabis in a vehicle while either driving or in the passenger seat. Additionally, when transporting cannabis plants, residents are permitted to transport up to four plants as long as flowers are not budding.
The cannabis industry within British Columbia and across Canada is a young, thriving new landscape. With prohibition occuring over nearly a century, it is fantastic that Canadians now have access to a scrutiny-free, legal means of enjoying themselves with a naturally occuring product that has been used for thousands of years.
We hope that this article has provided you with some useful information before jumping in on your next cannabis purchase!