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Marijuana FAQ

What does the “legalization of cannabis” mean?
In Canada, it means that it is legal to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana for recreational use or up to four plants of any size per home.
Why did the Government of Canada legalize cannabis?
The Canadian legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and curb marijuana-related crime through the use of legalization & regulation. 
How can cannabis be sold? Do you need a license to sell?
In Ontario, cannabis is currently only legally sold through the online Ontario Cannabis Store. Retail dispensaries (pot shops) are scheduled to be in place in Ontario by April 2019.
Where can cannabis be consumed? Can I smoke in public?
Under the new law, you can smoke and vape cannabis at the following places:

  • Private residences.
  • Many outdoor public places.
  • Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns.
  • Scientific research and testing facilities.
  • Controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric facilities or veterans facilities.

Under the new law, you are not allowed to smoke cannabis in the following places:

  • Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences.
  • Enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces.
  • Non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns.
  • Schools and places where children gather.
  • On school grounds.
  • All public areas within 20 metres of these grounds.
  • On children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds.
  • in child care centres, or where an early years program is provided
  • In places where home child care is provided — even if children aren’t present
  • Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities.

Also, you will not be able to smoke or vape cannabis:

  • Within nine metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities.
  • On outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/private) and psychiatric facilities.
  • In non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices.
  • Publicly owned spaces, including sports fields, nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.
  • Vehicles and boats being driven or at risk of being put into motion.

And you are not allowed to smoke or vape cannabis in other outdoor areas, including:

  • Restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9m of a patio.
  • On outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings.
  • In reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations.
  • Grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds.
  • In sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (e.g. a bus shelter).
Will tickets or fines be issued for smoking cannabis in public?
Generally no. However, if you are caught smoking cannabis in a prohibited area, such as around children, you can expect a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
What is the legal age to buy and use cannabis?
It depends on the province. In Ontario, you must be 19 to buy and use cannabis.
How many plants can I grow in my own home?
You can grow up to four plants of any size legally in your home, unless your province has banned home grown cannabis, such as Manitoba and Quebec.
Can home grown cannabis be shared with family members who are underage?
No. You must be of legal age to smoke cannabis in your province. Like cigarettes or alcohol, you cannot provide cannabis to a minor. If you do, the maximum sentence is steep: up to 14 years in jail.
Can I legally share cannabis with other adults (over the age of 19)?
You can legally share cannabis with other adults, as long as you do not sell it to them.
Can I make food or drinks out of cannabis and serve them in my home?
Yes, you can — so long as you don’t use organic solvents to make concentrated products. However, it is still illegal to sell “edible” food and drink products featuring cannabis.
If I rent an apartment/condo/home, am I allowed to grow plants? If yes, how many?
It depends on your landlord and their rules or lease agreement (and whether your province bans home grown weed, such as Quebec and Manitoba). Some landlords may ban cannabis use and plant growth outright in their units — though that ban may not extend to medical marijuana usage. If cannabis use is allowed, you can grow up to four plants per residence.
If I own a condo, am I allowed to grow plants? If yes, how many?
Again, like the situation with renters, it depends on your condo’s building rules. If you’re allowed to grow plants in your province at home, you can grow up to four plants of any size per residence.
Can a landlord evict a tenant or deny a rental if the renter wants to grow plants on the premises?
Yes. They can insert clauses into your lease preventing using or growing cannabis on the premises.
How much cannabis can I have on my person at any given time? -OR- What are the possession limits?
The possession limits in the Cannabis Act are based on dried cannabis.

One gram of dried cannabis is equal to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis.
  • 15 grams of edible product.
  • 70 grams of liquid product.
  • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid).
  • 1 cannabis plant seed.

This means, for example, that an adult 19 years of age or older in Ontario can legally possess 150 grams of fresh cannabis.

What are the measures in place to ensure youth can not access cannabis? Who will be enforcing these measures?
The Cannabis Act attempts to discourage use by young people by prohibiting:

  • products that are appealing to youth.
  • packaging or labelling cannabis that appeals to youth.
  • selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines.
  • promoting cannabis, such as by using celebrities or cartoon characters to promote cannabis, except in extreme cases where young people could not see the promotion.

Penalties for violating these prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million or three years in jail. Police will be enforcing these measures.

Is there a list of all offences and their resulting penalties under the Act?
Penalties are set in proportion to the seriousness of the offence, and would range from warnings and tickets for minor offences to criminal prosecution and imprisonment for more serious offences. You can see a list of some sanctions on the Department of Justice Canada website.
Can my employer set workplace safety guidelines relating to cannabis usage?
Yes. Just like your employer can set safety guidelines about the consumption of alcohol at work events, your employer can make almost any rules about the consumption of cannabis. The exception would be for medical marijuana, which must be accommodated in the workplace.
How is cannabis impairment defined?
Cannabis can impair each person differently, so there’s no set definition for impairment.

However, drugs such as cannabis generally impair your ability to drive by:

  • affecting motor skills;
  • slowing reaction time;
  • impairing short term memory and concentration;
  • causing drivers to vary speed and to wander;
  • reducing the ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events.

While there are no guidelines for how long you should wait before driving after having cannabis, you could be impaired by cannabis for more that 24 hours after using it, and your impairment may be greatly increased if cannabis use is mixed with alcohol use. The time it takes for cannabis to wear off depends on whether it was smoked or ingested, and how much and how often you’ve consumed it.

How will roadside stops check for cannabis impairment?
Police will check for impairment using these tools:

  • Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), which is typically administered at the roadside;
  • Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation, which includes a series of tests and a urine or blood sample collected at the police station;
  • Oral fluid drug screening equipment. Police can require a driver provide an oral fluid sample on approved drug screening equipment to screen for the presence of drugs.
What are the convictions if you are caught and convicted of impaired driving while under the influence of cannabis?
They can range from licence suspensions and fines to jail time. You can see what the convictions are by visiting the Department of Justice website.
Will existing pot charges be removed from my record?
This may be the case in the near future. The federal government plans to introduce legislation at the end of 2018 that would pardon those who have minor charges involving cannabis on their criminal record. If you were convicted of possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana, you may be eligible in the future for a criminal pardon.

As of writing, the policy to be implemented for purging of old convictions has yet to be finalized.
Will cannabis have restrictions like those imposed on alcohol and tobacco products?
Basically, it will in terms of packaging so that cannabis has limited appeal to youth. Packaging is plain and meant to not entice youth, for instance.
Can producers advertise their products on the radio/internet/etc without any restrictions?
No. The Cannabis Act bans promotion that appeals to youth, contains false or misleading statements or depicts celebrities, cartoon characters or animals, among other things.

It would allow ads that present facts or promote brand preference. But these ads could only be shown in places where youth are not legally allowed, or broadcast only if “reasonable steps” have been taken to ensure they “cannot be accessed by a young person.”

The US Border Patrol is asking Canadians if they have ever smoked marijuana. Can I be denied entry to the United States of America if I answer 'yes'? What happens if I lie and say 'no'?
It’s really up to the border officer and their discretion as to whether or not you are denied entry. If you lie and say no, you haven’t smoked marijuana, and the US Border Patrol officer catches you in a lie, they can ban your entry to the United States for life — meaning that you would have to apply for a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility every five years. This is a very costly and time consuming process.

You can, however, decline to answer the question and remove your application to enter the U.S. That way, while you won’t be allowed to enter the country this one time, you will not be banned for life from travelling to the U.S. in the future, either.