After Canada’s recent legalization of marijuana, many are eager to get in on the action and purchase some legal Canadian weed. Before you do, however, it might be helpful to know a few things about it.
Let’s start with the legal environment.
Canadian laws and regulations
Since the passing of Canada’s Cannabis Act, every adult Canadian is currently allowed to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, which is more than an ounce.
Beyond that further details of marijuana’s legal status are up to the individual provinces.
However, most provinces have written similar legislation and many have one or more of the following restrictions:
Permitted in government-run stores but many states have prohibited its sale in conjunction with alcohol. However, Ontario and Quebec have not defined whether or not they will make such laws.
Minimum age for purchase
Must be 19 (18 in Alberta and Quebec) to purchase marijuana or set foot in a retail store.
Ranges from strictly prohibited anywhere other than inside a private residence (ex: New Brunswick) to generally allowed in places where tobacco smoking is legal (British Columbia).
Also cannot be consumed on hospital, school, or child-care property.
Must be in an enclosed container away from the driver. Many states have explicitly outlawed consumption in a vehicle, so as a general rule of thumb do not smoke inside your car.
Impaired Driving Laws
The new legislation authorizes police to use roadside oral fluid drug screeners. It also enacts new driving offences of being over a prohibited blood drug concentration, and allows for blood samples to be collected without first requiring a driver to undergo a drug recognition evaluation.
Permitted in all provinces through a government-run website.
Is allowed in most provinces (not Quebec, Manitoba, or Nunavut) but is usually restricted to four plants per household and may be restricted by landlords or condo boards. Some states have also added that home grow is not permitted in households that also serve as day-cares.
Number of brick and mortar stores
Some provinces have limited this number, some have not. However, some provinces have only opened one or even zero stores, so don’t expect to see a weed store on every block (yet).
Most provinces have tasked their current gambling and/or liquor board with the regulation and distribution of marijuana but a few have created a new cannabis board.
Not legal for purchase yet but the Canadian government is promising to spend the next year developing regulations for edibles and concentrates.
How much does it cost?
To remain competitive against the still thriving illegal market for cannabis, government-run retail weed will have to come in around $10 per gram. Prices vary from province to province, but one can expect to pay as little as $6 per gram and as much as $20 per gram.
Before you buy
A good rule of thumb when buying marijuana is that if your nose likes it you’ll probably like it, but if the scent makes you recoil then you may not enjoy the high it produces. However, not all stores will allow you to take a whiff of the buds before purchase, nor will you be able to smell it if you are purchasing it online. What you’ll need to do in that case is a combination of trial-and-error and research. The good news is that a lot of the research that you’ll need to make an informed purchase can be found on this website.
The Bottom Line: Canada’s new rules and regulations are meant to keep everyone safe, not as a ploy for policemen to say “gotcha”. So don’t sweat it if you don’t know every little detail. Stay reasonably informed and use common sense and you’ll be fine.
If you’re inclined to give legal Canadian weed a spin don’t be shy -- get out there and try it.
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