Canadian cannabis legalization: A guide to laws by province

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Scheduled for implementation in summer 2018, Canada’s Cannabis Act will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis across the country, allowing every adult Canadian the right to possess and share up to 30 grams of cannabis in public (though public consumption is, for now, forbidden).

Further specifics of legalization—from where cannabis can be sold to the minimum age for purchase—have been left to provinces to set for themselves. Here’s a province-by-province guide to cannabis regulations.

Alberta

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis

Cannabis distributor: the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in private standalone stores and through a government-run website. Cannabis stores may sell cannabis accessories (bongs, pipes, rolling papers), but co-location with alcohol is forbidden. No one under 18 may enter a retail cannabis store.

Minimum age for purchase: 18

Possession restrictions: Those 18 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. You can’t transport cannabis unless it is closed packaging that is out of reach of the driver and other occupants of the vehicle.

Consumption restrictions: No consumption on any hospital, school or child-care facility property. No consumption where cigarette smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household (although landlords and condo boards may be able to place restrictions on the practice).

Online sales: Yes, through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission website.

Points of interest: No minor may enter any licensed premises that sell cannabis, and proof of age must be requested for anyone that appears 25 year of age or younger. There will also be a 100 metre buffer between stores and schools, school reserves, and provincial health care facility.

Population: 4.15 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: There’s no cap of the number of allowable stores—although the Alberta government assumes there will be 250 stores in the first year. No person or entity can hold more than 15 per cent of retail cannabis license, which would come to 37 stores.

British Columbia

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: TBD

Cannabis distributor: the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in both government-run stores and privately-owned stores, with no-cohabitation with alcohol permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. Cannabis transported in a motor vehicle must be in a sealed package or inaccessible to vehicle occupants.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis use will be generally allowed in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. Smoking and vaping of non-medical cannabis will not be permitted in areas “frequented by children” such as parks, playgrounds, and community beaches. Cannabis consumption inside motor vehicles is forbidden. Local governments may set their own restrictions on consumption.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household (so long as the house is not also used as a daycare). Landlords and strata councils are able to place restrictions on or prohibit home cultivation.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website.

Point of interest: The government is indicating that Vancouver’s outlaw dispensaries, which the city has started to license, will be able to apply to continue selling cannabis, but the cannabis would have to be legally sourced. Also, the Council Chamber of Tofino, a district located on Vancouver Island, is set to debate a proposed zoning amendment on February 13 that would prohibit the use of any land or building for the sale, production, and distribution of cannabis. It’s unclear at this time if that it apply to home cultivation and if there would be an exemption for medical cannabis.

Population: 4.63 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: The province is placing no limit on the number of stores, but municipalities may limit or prohibit shops within their boundaries.

Manitoba

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: the Safe & Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Harm Prevention Act

Cannabis distributor: the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in stores run by four licensed private entities that the province conditionally approved in February: Tokyo Smoke/Hiku, Delta-9 Cannabis/Canopy Growth, National Access Canada, and a fourth corporation that consists of Avana Canada, MediPharm Labs, and two First Nations communities.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. On moving boats, cannabis must be stored in a secure compartment.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption of cannabis in motor vehicles is prohibited.

Home-grow: Not permitted

Online sales: Yes. Private stores will be able to sell to residents of the province online.

Point of interests: The province’s request for proposals for private stores included a big emphasis on Indigenous ownership.

Population: 1.28 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: It’s not known how many stores each of the four entities will run, although it is likely they will each be able to run multiple stores.

New Brunswick

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Management Corporation Act

Cannabis distributor: the Cannabis Management Corporation 

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in stores operated by New Brunswick Liquor, under its new subsidiary CannabisNB. w Locations must be at least 300 metres away from schools, cannabis must be displayed under glass, and no overlap with alcohol sales permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis may only be consumed in private dwellings with consent of occupant.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants, which must be in a locked enclosure.

Points of interests: In private residences, personal-use cannabis is legally required to be kept under lock and key.

Online sales: Yes, through the CannabisNB website

Population: 753,914

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 20—three in Greater Moncton, two in each of Fredericton and Greater St. John, and one each in Oromocto, Bathurst, Miramichi, Sussex, St. Stephen, Rothesay, Edmundston, Sackville, Shediac, Richibucto, Tracadie, Perth-Andover, and Campbellton.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: An Act to Amend the Liquor Corporation Act

Cannabis distributor: the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold at privately owned stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Home-grow policy: Yes, up to four plants.

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis may only be consumed in private residences.

Points of interest: Ontario’s Canopy Growth has struck a supply and production agreement with the province, resulting in the company being given four retail-sale permits.

Online sales: Yes—through a government-run site at first, and through private retailers’ sites in the future

Population: 528, 448

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: TBD, but the licensed producer Canopy Growth will have four locations.

Northwest Territories

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Provincial legislation: Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act

Cannabis distributor: Northwest Territories Liquor Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will initially be sold through liquor stores.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. Cannabis in a vehicle must be unopened. Any unopened cannabis must be resealed and placed in a space in the vehicle inaccessible to others.

Consumption restrictions: Public smoking or vaping of cannabis will be banned in areas frequented by children and crowds, in vehicles, and anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household, but rental agreements and condominium bylaws can restrict cultivation.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Point of interest: As they can with liquor sales liquor, communities will have the ability to hold referendums to place restrictions or prohibitions on cannabis.

Number of brick-and-mortar stores: TBD, although there are seven liquor stores and one liquor warehouse.
 

Nova Scotia

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: TBD

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Cannabis distributor: Nova Scotia Liquor Corp (NLSC)

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in NSLC stores, including existing NSLC liquor outlets.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis smoking is forbidden in all indoor public places and many outdoor places, including such as school and daycare grounds, bar and restaurant patios, parks, beaches, sports venues, and playgrounds.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through the NSLC website

Population: 942,926 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Nine, with two in Halifax and one store each in Amherst, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, New Glasgow, Sydney River, Truro, and Yarmout

Nunavut

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Provincial legislation: TBD

Cannabis distributor: Nunavut Liquor Commission

Retail sales: No retail sales are planned for 2018—the government wants to hear from communities first. The government is proposing to be allowed to outsource operations, such as sales, to privately-run “agents.”

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. The government is considering limits on the storage of cannabis in order to limit stockpiling for the purpose of illegally reselling it. However, there will be no “dry” communities as there are with alcohol.

Consumption restrictions: No consumption in vehicles, school grounds, hospitals, health centre grounds, playgrounds, and any where else tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household, and the government is considering allowing landlords and condo associations to restrict the cultivation and use of recreational cannabis.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Point of interest: The Western Convenience Store Association, representing over 7,000 such stores in Northern provinces including Nunavut, have lobbied the government to sell cannabis.

Population: 35,944

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Zero in 2018

Ontario

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Act, 2017 and The Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017

Cannabis distributor: The Ontario Retail Cannabis Corporation (ORCC)

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold at standalone ORCC stores, with no co-habitation with alcohol products permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. Cannabis may only only be transported in vehicles if it is “packed in baggage that is fastened.”

Consumption restrictions: No consumption in vehicles, enclosed public spaces, or workplaces.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through the Ontario Retail Cannabis Corporation website

Points of interests: The Ontario government is considering allowing cannabis consumption in hotel rooms—including recreational use.

Population: 13.6 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 40 to start in July 2018, with 150 by 2020. Locations include Ajax, Barrie, Belleville, Brampton, Brantford, Cambridge, Chatham-Kent, Guelph, Hamilton, Lindsay (Kawartha Lakes), Kingston, Kitchener, London Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Oshawa, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan, Waterloo, Whitby, and Windsor.

Prince Edward Island

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: TBD

Cannabis distributor: PEI Liqour Control Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold at government-run stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. Cannabis can only be transported in motor vehicles in unopened packaging, and where an open package is being transported it must be secure and inaccessible to anyone in the vhicle.

Consumption restrictions: Restricted to private residences, “with a potential for expansion to designated public spaces at a later date.”

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Population: 152,021

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Four, in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and West Prince

Quebec

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Regulation Act

Cannabis distributor: The Quebec Alcohol Corporation

Retail sales: Government-supplied cannabis will be sold in government-run stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 18

Possession restrictions: Those 18 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. Youth who possess even a small amount of cannabis will be liable to a fine.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis is prohibited in a number of enclosed spaces, including workplaces, post-secondary educational institutions, enclosed spaces where sports, recreational, judicial, cultural or artistic activities or conferences are held, as well as common areas of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings.

Home-grow policy: Not permitted

Online sales: TBD

Points of interests: So far Quebec is the first province to limit possession in a private place to 150 grams, on top of the federal 30-gram public limit. Other provinces do not have a limit on private possession. Quebec Government’s House Leader is also locked in a battle with the federal government over home cultivation. Federal legislation allows such cultivation but the province of Quebec hopes to prohibit it within their boundaries.

Population: 8.215 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 15 stores by mid-2018, with more than 150 within two years.

Saskatchewan

Marijuana Laws in Canada: Province by Province

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act

Cannabis distributor: Licensed cannabis producers will sell directly to private retailers, with the market regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority.

Retail sales: Cannabis from Canadian LPs will be sold in private-owned stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption in vehicles and in public places will be prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, although landlords and condo boards may be able to restrict the growing of cannabis.

Online sales: Yes, through retailers’ websites.

Points of interest: Provincial legislation will require cannabis being transported in a motor vehicle to be either in an unopened package, or secured in an inaccessible space (AKA the trunk)

Population: 1.13 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 51 retail permits are available in 32 communities.

Yukon

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Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Control and Regulation Act

Cannabis distributor: The Yukon Liquor Corporation

Retail sales: Government-supplied cannabis will be sold first in government-run stores and later in privately-owned stores. Neither will allow cohabitation with alcohol.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public. A person possessing cannabis must take reasonable measures to ensure that a young person cannot access the cannabis.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption to privately-owned residences and adjoining properties where permitted by the owner.

Home-grow: Yes, with the mandate that plants must be out of public view.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Points of interests: Private retailers must be approved by the province’s Cannabis Licensing Board.

Population: 35,874.

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 1 to start

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