Canada Cannabis Legislation: Where and how can you buy?

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in his 2015 election campaign to pass legislation making recreational marijuana legal, Canadians started getting excited. And when he was elected to office that same year, the excitement only grew. While the legislation has been delayed, surpassing the July 1, 2018 date Trudeau promised all throughout his campaign, legalized Canada cannabis is still going to happen. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a free for all. Once legislation is finally passed, there will be strict rules on who can buy it, who can grow cannabis, and where it can be sold and smoked. So what are these regulations? And how will they affect Canadians?

When and where can I buy cannabis in Canada?

After Trudeau’s promise that weed would be legally sold, and therefore could be legally smoked, by July 1, the legislation has been delayed. While the Canada Cannabis Act has passed its third reading in the House of Commons, it is now being held up in the Senate. It’s frustrating for those that only want to buy and smoke, since most of the delays are stemming from the growth of cannabis in households.

The good news for those that continue to wait for legislation to be passed is that there is no real controversy on the fact that cannabis will become legal. It’s just a matter of wondering how long Canadians have to wait before that happens.

canada-cannabis-marijuanaWhile the Senate continues to threaten that the Canada Cannabis Act will be sent back to the House of Commons for amendments, the cannabis legislation is still on track to be passed by late summer or early fall of 2018. After the legislation is passed, Canadians will likely still have to wait two or three months before weed is readily available.

As for where it will be readily available, that really depends on the provinces that will be selling it. While the Act will make marijuana federally legal, it will be up to the different provinces and territories as to where they choose to sell it.

Quebec

In Quebec it will be sold by la Societe Quebecoise du cannabis (SQC), the same organization that oversees the sale of alcohol in the province. The Societe will open 20 stores across Quebec, with some of those being set up in metro stations.

Ontario

Ontario will also use their organization that controls the sale of alcohol, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), to sell marijuana. However, while there are currently LCBO stores that sell alcohol, these outlets will not be used to sell weed. Instead, separate stores will be constructed to sell cannabis. Legislators estimate 40 stores will be open the first day of legalization, with 80 stores open by 2019 and 150 by 2020.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, perhaps the province with the most relaxed regulations, retail locations will be set up to sell legalized marijuana. Those with a license to grow marijuana will have to sell it to the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) who will then distribute it to the retail shops.

Alberta

Alberta will also have a setup very similar to British Columbia. Licensed growers will sell their marijuana to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, who will then determine who can sell the cannabis, and where. Manitoba will follow that same structure, with the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp. overseeing sales. Saskatchewan will also use private retailers, with the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority also overseeing these retail locations.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island, being the smallest of the provinces by far, will have only four dispensaries once legalization is implemented. These differ from many other provinces though, in the way that these will be government run and not private locations.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador will mirror the Canada cannabis laws of other provinces in regards to where it will be sold. The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will issue licenses to those that wish to set up a private retail store. This authority will also set up an online store for those living in remote locations.

How much weed can I have?

Other than where it will be sold and when it will be finally legalized, the next biggest question for Canadians is how much weed they’ll be allowed to have.

Adults, which is anyone over the age of 19 in most provinces, will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public space.

canada-cannabis-nugs

They may also carry an equivalent to that in the form of oil, edibles, or marijuana in other forms. No one can be found with more than 30 grams of marijuana at one time, this is all a person will be allowed to buy at one time.

Canada cannabis prices are likely going to be similar, or just slightly higher than the street prices of marijuana today. Quebec will be selling it for seven to ten dollars per gram, while Ontario will be selling it for ten dollars a gram.

New Brunswick will have some of the highest prices for marijuana, with people paying nine to eleven dollars for a gram. Most other provincial governments have not yet officially stated the price marijuana would be sold for.

It is important to note, that while adults can share marijuana, no one can ever sell any amount of marijuana to another person. Under the Canada cannabis laws, only those with a license may do so. Anyone found selling marijuana to someone without a license will face penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and even 14 years in prison. It’s also important to understand that providing a minor with the slightest bit of marijuana will also incur the same penalties.

Can I grow my own?

Allowing or disallowing people to grow cannabis is what has caused most of the delay in the Senate. Currently those wishing to grow their own plants will be able to grow up to four plants per household.

The only provinces that have stipulated their residents may not grow cannabis are Manitoba and Quebec, where growing marijuana in the home will be illegal.

While people can grow their own in most places, under federal law appearing in public with a cannabis plant in full bloom comes with its own harsh penalties of up to $5,000 in fines or five years in jail. For this reason, it’s important that once buds start forming, marijuana plants are left at home.

cannabis-outdoors

Legalization is coming to Canada very soon. But once it does, it won’t necessarily be a free for all. The government will regulate and monitor it just as it does with alcohol. And those that break the laws, either federally or provincially, will have to pay serious consequences. However, for those that only wish to abide by the laws and smoke marijuana freely, it won’t be long before the Great White North will become even greater!

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