Legal Status of Weed in Canada

What Is The Legal Status of Weed in Canada?

Although possession and use of cannabis became legal in Canada in 2018, some people are still hazy about the laws surrounding marijuana. That’s understandable – since weed used to be illegal, it’s natural for people to be wary. In this post, we’ll cover some of the laws surrounding marijuana possession in Canada and how it affects both citizens and tourists.

What Laws Cover Cannabis in Canada?

There are two main bodies of law that govern cannabis use in Canada. These include the Cannabis Act of Canada along with several individual Provincial Acts. Both of these laws cover specific situations, limiting the amount of marijuana flower, seeds, extract, and other products that someone can possess. In addition, they regulate how weed can be bought and sold, and who can buy weed in Canada.

Cannabis Act of Canada

Weed in Canada

Passed in 2018, the Cannabis Act of Canada (commonly known as the Cannabis Act) amended the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code, and several other laws. As a result, any Canadian citizen aged 19 or over could legally buy and possess marijuana. After the government approved the new law, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize weed, after Uruguay.

The Cannabis Act wasn’t passed overnight – it was the result of years of work to overturn marijuana prohibition, which began in 1923. It also built on the efforts of other regions that had already legalized marijuana, notably Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington.

However, the Cannabis Act does set forth some stipulations surrounding cannabis possession. First, no Canadian can legally possess more than 30 grams of dried weed – that’s just over an ounce for all the non-metric stoners out there. Additionally, no one may possess more than 150 grams of fresh (wet) cannabis, 450 grams of an edible, 5 grams of concentrate, or 30 grams of seeds.

The Cannabis Act also allowed Canadians to grow their own weed for personal use. Every Canadian may legally grow up to four plants in each home. Prospective cannabis cultivators will also need to get their seeds or clones from government-approved dispensaries. While this measure is intended to keep smokers safe, it severely hampers the genetics a grower can use. 

In addition to the possession limits and rules, the Cannabis Act set forth punishments for those who eschewed its rules. For possession over legal amounts, punishment generally involves fines for small amounts, with prison terms accompanying excessive cases. There are also several different punishments that carry prison sentences of up to 14 years, including giving weed to anyone under 18 and illegal distribution.

Provincial Acts

When the Cannabis Act was first passed, it instituted new marijuana laws that were standardized across the entire country. These laws were fairly easy to understand, and there was no variation between provinces or territories. However, in the years since the Act was passed, things have changed.

Now, various provincial acts also regulate the sale, growth, and transfer of marijuana on more localized levels. The most common caveats of provincial cannabis regulation acts regard the region’s minimum purchasing age. For example, anyone who wants buy weed in Quebec must be 21 years of age or older. Alberta has a similar law, only it allows cannabis purchase at the tender age of 18. Additionally, provincial laws regulate growing marijuana at home for personal use in two regions: Quebec and Manitoba.

Although these laws were intended to give provinces and territories a greater level of control over their internal laws, they’ve instead created a hodge-podge of piecemeal regulations. As a result, the patchwork of cannabis regulation has become difficult to follow for many Canadians.

Transport – No Crossing the Border

Canadian Cannabis Laws

Aside from the rules regulating cannabis sale, cultivation, and possession, the Cannabis Act has harsh rules regarding transporting cannabis across Canadian borders. Anyone attempting to cross the Canadian border with weed could face up to 14 years in prison.

This doesn’t just apply to Canadians bringing weed into the US – it also covers Canadians who may have bought weed in the US legally. Even if a Canadian citizen possesses legally-prescribed medical marijuana, the Cannabis Act forbids them from traveling with it. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s always illegal to bring weed across Canadian borders.

However, Canadians are free to transport weed within the country, as long as they’re not breaking any other laws while they do so. In fact, Canadians can even board an airplane with weed, provided they’re on a domestic flight.

Public Use Rules

One final clause in the Cannabis Act involves public use of weed. Adults who buy and possess cannabis legally still face restrictions on public use in many provinces. Under the Cannabis Act, adults may only legally toke within a private residence, including a house, apartment, and yard. Additionally, Canadians may only legally smoke weed in a property that they own. Renters aren’t allowed to smoke weed in a property they rent, unless they have specific written permission from the owner of the home. 

That hasn’t stopped certain locales from instituting their own public use policies, though. For example, Halifax has designated smoking locations, were stoners may legally toke without fear of repercussions. Many provinces have similar laws, allowing cannabis use wherever someone can legally smoke tobacco.

There are also specific laws that regulate whether a visitor from another country can smoke weed in Canada. Canadian law states that visitors to the country must abide by their home nation’s weed laws. For example, tourists from many Asian countries, where marijuana possession is a serious crime, cannot buy or possess weed in Canada.

Cannabis in Canada – Stick to the Script

While the morass of Canadian cannabis law may seem complicated (and becoming even more complex every day), there’s one extremely simple way to stay on the right side of the law. Buying weed online through a reputable dispensary completely eliminates any need for worry. By choosing an online dispensary like MMJDirect, you can ensure that you’re complying with all Canadian national and local laws.