Canada becomes the second country after Uruguay to legalise recreational marijuana. At midnight last night (02:30 GMT), Ian Power bought the first gram of legal cannabis from a dispensary in Newfoundland, Canada.
The change in legislation means that it is no longer a criminal offence to possess or purchase cannabis for recreational use. However, the Canadian government remains particularly strict regarding its rules for what counts as ‘legal’ cannabis possession.
So, where can Canadians buy cannabis?
As of 17th October 2018, Canadians will be able to buy cannabis from any licensed retailer. However, the number of approved sellers varies from province to province – Alberta is making marijuana widely available at 17 private retailers, while sales in Ontario will largely be completed online (at least until later in the year).
How will Canadians know what they’re buying?
Because cannabis is now a taxed and regulated substance, it will need to be packaged according to new laws. These state that packaging must include all information a customer needs to make an ‘informed decision’ when choosing which strain, strength, or type to buy.
Packaging must display:
- Name of the producer
- The marijuana strain
- THC content
- CBD content
- Disclaimer regarding health risks associated with cannabis
How much weed can Canadians carry at any given time?
Adults (that is, those over the age of 18) are allowed to carry up to 30g of dried cannabis (or equivalent) at any given time in a public space. It’s worth noting that “public space” does, in fact, refer to your vehicle… this essentially limits your buying capabilities to 30gs a pop, as any more than that could land you up to five years in prison.
What’s the law regarding driving high?
We hope that nobody is considering driving under the influence of any substance, as it is both dangerous and illegal. Essentially, the current law states that police officers can order a standardised field sobriety test on anyone they deem to be under the influence of marijuana while driving.
Proposed Liberal legislation (which has yet to come into effect) would introduce new ways of determining whether a driver was over the THC limit – 5 nanograms per millilitre of blood, currently.
Proposed bill C-46 would see drivers guilty of inebriation facing three tiers of penalisation: a fine of minimum $1,000 for the first offence; min 30 days’ in jail for a second offence; and a minimum of 120 jails imprisonment for the 3rd offence (and any subsequent offences that follow).
If you were to drive stoned and harm anyone else, either by maiming or killing them, you’d be facing anywhere between two years to life imprisonment.
Moral of the story? Don’t drive stoned.
Where can Canadians smoke weed?
Canadians will be allowed to smoke weed at home, as long as their landlord allows it. Landlords will be legally allowed to ban recreational marijuana usage at their own discretion, just as they’re able to ban tobacco smoking on their property.
Many have inquired as to the legality of smoking marijuana at work. This is ultimately down to the discretion of your boss and the rules observed in your workplace. If you aren’t allowed to come back from your lunch break blackout drunk, then don’t expect leniency regarding marijuana – especially if it significantly influences your ability to do your job.
Are there concerns about Canada legalising cannabis?
Aside from the obvious concerns over how cannabis inebriation will be measured in drivers, there are also a number of rising concerns being championed by the public:
- Amnesty for existing drug possession charges
Currently, over 500,000 Canadians have criminal records for marijuana possession charges. The government told reporters yesterday that they are “currently considering a fast-track process to allow people who have been convicted of possession to apply for legal pardons.”
Crossing the Canada/US border
The US Customs Border Protection Agency said on Tuesday that border guards will have “broad latitude to determine who is admissible to the country”. This will mean asking Canadians if they smoke cannabis, and denying them entry if they believe they have the intent to do so in the US.
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