As legalization nears, on October 17th, there has been a scramble to understand constantly shifting legislation surrounding cannabis. Consumers want to understand the laws and safely consume cannabis products. Many people have questions about how much dried cannabis they can possess, whether or not they can grow plants and where they can consume cannabis.
Here are a few answers to popular questions surrounding Canada’s cannabis legalization.
The Cannabis Act
The Cannabis Act creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada. There are three main goals: keep cannabis out of the hands of youth, keep profits out of the hands of criminals and protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to safe, legal cannabis. Many of these laws dictate how cannabis may be used and produced at home.
As of October 17, 2018, a Canadian adult may possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form. They may also share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults.
An individual may also possess 5 grams of fresh cannabis, 15 grams of edible product, 70 grams of liquid product, .25 grams of concentrate, and 1 cannabis plant seed.
Purchase and Sale of Cannabis
As of October 17th, a Canadian adult may purchase dried or fresh cannabis, cannabis oils, edibles and other cannabis products from a provincially-licensed retailer. If there are no stores in an individual’s geographical location, legal cannabis may be purchased online from Licensed Producers (LPs).
Locations for Licensed Producers and stores is based on provincial and municipal legislation, much of which is still pending. Producers must apply to the Canadian Government for a license to produce cannabis, as well as a municipal license to operate a business.
Production of Cannabis in the Home
On October 17th, an individual may grow, from licensed seeds or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence, for personal consumption. Cannabis consumers may also make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products.
Cannabis growers should take care to grow cannabis plants in a private location. Raw cannabis may be fatal to pets and children, so care should be taken to prevent easy access to the plants.
Cannabis must be consumed in a private residence. As of October 17, 2018, cannabis may be consumed by any adult Canadian, over the age of 18, within a residential property.
Cannabis will not be permitted in public spaces, such as parks and parking lots. One of the largest goals of The Cannabis Act is to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth. Private consumption will ensure that no underage persons are exposed to second-hand smoke or cannabis itself, while in public.
Provincial and Municipal Role
The Federal Government of Canada is legalizing cannabis, but it is being left up to individual provinces and some municipal legislators to lay the framework for consumption in their jurisdiction.
They will regulate key details such as where a consumer can buy cannabis, where it can be smoked, and whether residents will be able to grow plants at home. This has been very murky waters for legislators to traverse, and many municipalities feel unprepared for October 17th.
At the current time, provincial legislators have created the foundation for where cannabis will be sold, and by whom. Ontario has chosen to use a private business model, while Nova Scotia has decided to sell cannabis in conjunction with the Liquor Control Board of Nova Scotia. Municipalities are left dealing with the issues of where consumption may occur and whether residents may grow plants. Most of them are turning to the public to make the decision.
One province, Quebec, has gone a step further to propose legislation that would allow cannabis to be consumed in some public spaces, such as street festivals and at parks. It may also allow bars and cannabis clubs to sell cannabis and allow their patrons to consume it on premises.
Cannabis, Kids and Pets
Cannabis should always be stored in childproof containers and kept out of reach of children. Raw cannabis can be toxic to children and pets.
The smartest solution to cannabis being in the home is to lock it up. This will ensure that access is restricted to adults who are legally able to consume cannabis.
Create a Space
Part of the joy of cannabis consumption is having a relaxing environment that will enhance the effects. It also ensures safety, and that cannabis is not being used around minors. Create a space that creates comfort and safety.
Space for cannabis consumption should include proper ventilation and safety measures, such as a lock. More than half of all drug offences reported by police are cannabis related, highlighting the importance of security of cannabis products.
Crazy Cannabis Laws
As Canada approaches legalization, there are some interesting laws popping up all over the country.
Quebec is banning the sale of anything with cannabis leaves on it. Basically, anything that isn’t legal cannabis will not be allowed to bear any logo related to cannabis. Fines for this offence range from $2,500 up to $125,000 for repeat offenders.
There will also be no provincial growing laws in Manitoba or Quebec. Therefore, while the federal government has legalized 4 plants per residence, those residents of Manitoba and Quebec will not be able to produce cannabis. Fines for this offence range from $250-$750 for a first-time offence and up to $1,500 and jail time for repeat offences
Ontario, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island have banned the consumption of cannabis on a boat. Even though a boat may qualify as a private residence, cannabis consumption is prohibited. Fines for this offence range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Prohibition is Over
However flawed and new it may be, prohibition is over for cannabis, and Canadians can now use and purchase cannabis legally. It must be always remembered that legalization is a privilege not to be abused; being aware of the regulations and abiding by them will ensure a positive experience for all Canadians during this culture shift.