Legal Cannabis in Canada: The Basics

The Canadian government legalized recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018. This is a huge step forward for cannabis users and activists, and has brought a huge amount of attention to marijuana throughout the country.

However, just because cannabis is legal doesn’t mean that there aren’t strict laws regulating it. Here are some frequently asked questions about legal cannabis in Canada.

Why Did the Government Legalize Weed?

When Justin Trudeau made the campaign promise to legalize cannabis in 2015, Canada was dealing with the repercussions of criminalizing the drug. At the time, Canada had the highest population of underage cannabis use in the world, and many people were facing prison time for low level pot offenses.

In addition, most black market cannabis was being grown and distributed through organized crime. Cutting down on this meant that cannabis would be safer and less likely to be laced with any substances. The government also wanted their stake in this industry coming from taxes.

Once Prime Minister Trudeau was elected, he worked to move ahead with cannabis legalization. He wanted to make sure that children could not get ahold of cannabis, and also reduce the amount of sway black market sellers had over the market.

After several months of consultation with experts, stakeholders, and communities across the country, the Cannabis Act was passed, descheduling cannabis and making recreational use legal across the country.

Keep in mind that there are still regulations in place to restrict the use of cannabis. If you’re a frequent cannabis user, you need to know what’s legal so you don’t make any mistakes.

What Is the Legal Age to Consume Cannabis?

You need to be at least 19 to consume cannabis in most Canadian provinces.

Provinces with different age restrictions include:

  • Alberta (18)
  • Quebec (21, formerly 18 until 2020)

It’s important to stick with these age laws when you use cannabis. Don’t share your stash with anyone under the minimum age, and don’t give it to any minors as gifts, either.

If you get caught giving cannabis to people who are underage, you could face serious fines and a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

How Much Cannabis Can You Have?

Adults can possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced dried cannabis in public. Possessing more than that could cause police to assume that you’re selling it.

According to the federal Cannabis Act, one gram of dried cannabis is equivalent to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edibles
  • 70 grams of liquid
  • 0.25 grams of concentrates
  • 1 cannabis seed

Adults can grow up to four cannabis plants per household, no matter how many people live there. In some provinces, it’s illegal to grow these plants in a place that’s visible from the street.

What Cannabis Products Are Legal?

Government regulations dictate what types of cannabis products are legal, including dosing regulations.

Weed edibles cannot exceed 10 mg of THC per package. Most edibles are sold individually at lower prices to compensate for this issue. However, if you have a high tolerance, edibles might not have enough THC for you.

The amount of THC in cannabis concentrates like CBD & THC liquid like hash oil, budder, shatter, and wax is regulated as well. The total amount of THC that can be in a unit that is ingested, like a capsule, is 10 mg.

The total amount of THC in a package of cannabis extract is 1,000 mg. For inhaled extract, the total amount of THC allowed per package is 1,000 mg.

Topicals, products that are applied to the skin, hair, or nails like ointments, oils, lotions, and salves cannot contain more than 1,000 mg of THC per package.

Despite the fact that weed is legal in Canada, there are still many illegal products out there. Canada has an excise stamp system, requiring that every product in the country have a stamp proving the packaging company has paid their required taxes on the marijuana.

Happy Tree Buds sells cannabis that is checked by the federal government and is completely legal in all areas in Canada.

Can You Sell Cannabis?

It’s illegal for individuals to sell cannabis to others, whether you bought it at a legal dispensary or not. 

However, you can give cannabis to other legal adults as a gift. That could mean sharing a joint, giving someone a gummy, or gifting someone some bud you grew at home.

Can You Buy Cannabis and Take It Across the Border?

It’s illegal to bring cannabis into the United States or any other country. It doesn’t matter whether the product is legal in the area or state you’re traveling to.

What Are the Rules About Cannabis and Driving?

One of the government’s priorities when legalizing cannabis was ensuring that people didn’t smoke and drive. They created laws to try to keep high drivers off the streets.

Police officers in Canada are equipped with a machine that can test for THC in a person’s saliva. If they believe that a person was driving high, they can take the suspect to the hospital for a more accurate blood test.

It’s a serious offense to have between two and 5 nanograms of THC per mL of blood. It’s a more serious offense to have 5 ng or more of THC per mL in your blood.

For your first offense of driving under the influence of cannabis, you’ll have a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

For your second offense, the mandatory minimum sentence is 30 days in prison, and the maximum is 10 years in prison. 

For your third offense, the minimum penalty is 120 days in jail, and the maximum is 10 years in prison.

Driving while you’re under the influence of cannabis is illegal and dangerous. You should be absolutely sure that you’re sober whenever you get behind the wheel.

Canada is one of the only countries where recreational cannabis is legal in all areas. Legalization has made a huge difference and has allowed so many Canadians to see the joys and benefits of cannabis.

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