Legal Recreational Cannabis: The Do’s and Dont’s In Each Canadian Province

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October 10, 2018

On Oct. 17, recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada. But pot smokers will have to follow different rules depending on the province they’re in. It’s all in the little details; from coast to coast, we’ve broken down where you can buy it, where you can smoke it, and whether or not you can grow it.

You might even want to print this handy little blog out for your next cross-Canada road trip!

British Columbia

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of marijuana one can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • Cannabis smoking and vaping is banned in all the same places as tobacco
  • The use of cannabis is banned on school properties and in vehicles
  • The Liquor Distribution Branch will have a monopoly over all wholesale distribution and retail sales
  • Adults are allowed to discreetly grow up to four cannabis plants at a time from seed

It’s important to note that while smoking pot on school grounds will still be illegal, a draft cannabis policy shows UBC may not be going smoke-free. Although nothing is set in stone, the campus is exploring the idea of allowing recreational cannabis wherever smoking tobacco is currently permitted.

Alberta

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 18+
  • Adults can possess a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana in public spaces
  • Smoking cannabis is banned in the same places as tobacco; especially at schools, parks, and other places frequented by kids
  • Smoking pot is banned in all vehicles. Penalties are the same as drinking and driving
  • The government-run AGCL will take care of wholesale distribution and online sales
  • Privately run stores will sell cannabis and accessories under strict regulations
  • Albertans can grow up to four cannabis plants per household

The federal government is going to be paying special attention to making sure that the packaging, labelling, and advertising of cannabis products are not appealing to minors, but the Albertan government reserves the right to add further restrictions should any gaps arise.

Saskatchewan

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • Adults can possess a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana in public spaces. It’s a zero-tolerance policy for minors
  • Smoking pot is banned in all public spaces
  • Cannabis will be sold by government-licensed private retailers, either in stores or online
  • There’s a zero-tolerance policy for smoking pot in vehicles for both drivers and passengers alike
  • Homeowners can grow a maximum of four cannabis plants.

Saskatchewan has decided to go ahead and ban pot smoking in all public spaces for public health considerations. In its legal framework, it has even included that renters and condo owners much have the approval of their landlords and condo boards before growing any cannabis plants.

Manitoba

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • All online and retail cannabis stores will be government-licensed and strictly regulated
  • Smoking pot in enclosed public places, indoor workplaces, or on public school grounds is not allowed
  • It is against the law to grow any cannabis plants in a private household

Manitoba has actually made an allowance for any municipality wanting to ban the sale of cannabis within its boundaries to hold a referendum on the matter by 2022. It’s also decided to ban people from growing their own plants at home to crack down on organized crime.

Ontario

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of marijuana an adult can possess in public is 30 grams
  • Smoking pot is banned in the same public places as tobacco, especially in areas where children gather such as playgrounds, beaches, and sports fields
  • It is banned to smoke pot in any vehicle
  • The sale of cannabis will be done online only through the Ontario Cannabis Store. The Ontario government has proposed legislation, that if passed, would see the slow integration of government-licensed private retail stores emerge as of April 2019
  • A maximum of four pot plants can be grown per household

While cannabis use is banned in areas where children commonly play, the Ontario government has proposed legislation, that if passed, would make it legal to smoke it on sidewalks, in parks, and in designated rooms in hotels.

Quebec

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 18+
  • The maximum amount of cannabis an adult can have in public is 30 grams
  • The maximum amount of dried cannabis allowed in a single household, no matter how many people live there, is 150 grams
  • It is illegal to grow any cannabis plants at home
  • It is illegal to possess cannabis on any school grounds, whether it be at the daycare, elementary, secondary, or college levels of education
  • Driving while high is banned
  • Smoking cannabis is prohibited in the same places where smoking tobacco is banned
  • Only the government-run SQDC is authorized for retail sales of cannabis, and a maximum of 30 grams can be sold to each client

Although the legal age to buy and smoke cannabis has been set at 18+, it’s important to note that Quebec has just elected a new CAQ government, which ran on the promise to raise the legal age to 21+. It’s not clear when that will happen.

Newfoundland

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of cannabis a person can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • It is only legal to use cannabis in private residences
  • Private retailers will sell cannabis under strict rules and regulations
  • People can grow up to four cannabis plants at home
  • Cannabis use is banned in vehicles

The Highway Traffic Act for Newfoundland is expected to be revamped as soon as legalization takes effect. The province has admitted that like all jurisdictions, testing for driver impairment remains a challenge.

New Brunswick

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of cannabis one can have on them in public spaces is 30 grams
  • It is illegal to consume cannabis in public spaces or in any vehicle, moving or not
  • The only legal place to buy recreational marijuana will be through the government-run Cannabis NB
  • It is legal to grow up to four cannabis plants per household

The government of New Brunswick says any operation that has been selling cannabis before legalization will remain illegal after Oct. 17. Cannabis NB is the only legal provider, be it through retail stores or online.

Nova Scotia

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of cannabis an adult can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • Cannabis use is banned in any vehicle, moving or not
  • Smoking cannabis will be illegal in the same places where it is prohibited to smoke tobacco
  • A maximum of four cannabis plants can be grown per household
  • The NSLC is the only authorized seller of cannabis via retail stores or online

Unlike most other provinces, Nova Scotia does not restrict how many grams of dried cannabis one can have in their home at any given time, just as long as it’s for personal use only. Furthermore, every municipality within the province has the right to impose their own rules and regulations with regards to possession and cultivation, so keep that in mind.

Prince Edward Island

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of dried cannabis an adult can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • PEI Cannabis stores are the only place to purchase recreational pot
  • It is illegal to use cannabis in any public space; home-use only
  • A maximum of four cannabis plants can be grown per household at a time; there is no limit on how much dry cannabis people can possess in their homes
  • Smoking cannabis in any vehicle is banned

The same rules as alcohol apply to cannabis in vehicles; it must be kept stored away from the driver and all passengers in a sealed container. And while it’s illegal to use cannabis in all public spaces, regulations are currently being examined to develop designated smoking areas.

North West Territories

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of dried cannabis an adult can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • A maximum of four cannabis plants can be grown per household
  • Cannabis can only be bought at NWT Liquor Stores or online at the NWT Liquor & Cannabis Commission’s website
  • Cannabis use is restricted to private residences only; it is forbidden in public places, especially those frequented by children
  • Cannabis use in vehicles is strictly banned

While the NWT says cannabis use is restricted to private homes, it says it will be tolerated on trails and roadways when a vehicle is not being operated, and in public parks as well when events are not being held.

Yukon

  • The legal age to use, buy, grow, or possess cannabis is 19+
  • The maximum amount of dried cannabis an adult can possess in a public space is 30 grams
  • A maximum of four cannabis plants can be grown per household
  • Cannabis use is restricted to privately-owned residences
  • The government of Yukon would have the sole right to distribute, transport,  import, and warehouse cannabis

For now, the use of recreational cannabis is prohibited anywhere but private residences. But the government of Yukon says future legislation may allow it in other spaces as well, just as long as public health rights are respected.

You can find a similar spreadsheet for your next US road trip here.

Featured image courtesy of Green Camp.

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine has a degree in journalism and political science from Concordia University in Montreal. She worked in radio and television as a reporter and news anchor for ten years before starting a family. Now, she's living a quiet country life raising her two young kids with her husband and is loving every second of it. Her interests include healthy eating, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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