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  • Writer's pictureDany Goldraij

Cannabis is not forbidden and it is now legal in Canada

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Update 2021

The Cannabis Act creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada. The Act aims to accomplish 3 goals:

  • Keep cannabis out of the hands of youth

  • Keep profits out of the pockets of criminals

  • protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to legal cannabis

Cannabis legalization in Canada

Cannabis legalization in Canada

Subject to provincial or territorial restrictions, adults who are 18 years of age or older are legally able to:

  • possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public

  • share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults

  • Buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially licensed retailer

    • In provinces and territories without a regulated retail framework, individuals are able to purchase cannabis online from federally licensed producers who grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use

  • make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products

As of October 17, 2019, cannabis edible products and concentrates are legal for sale.

Possession limits for cannabis products

The possession limits in the Cannabis Act are based on dried cannabis. Equivalents were developed for other cannabis products to identify what their possession limit would be.

One (1) 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 18 years of age or older, can legally possess 150 grams of fresh cannabis.

Cannabis for medical purposes

The current regime for medical cannabis will continue to allow access to cannabis for people who have the authorization of their healthcare provider.

Protecting youth

The Cannabis Act has several measures that help prevent youth from accessing cannabis. These include both age restrictions and restricting the promotion of cannabis.

Age restrictions

No person may sell or provide cannabis to any person under the age of 18. There are 2 criminal offenses related to providing cannabis to youth, with a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail:

  • giving or selling cannabis to youth

  • using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offense

Restricting promotion and enticement

The Cannabis Act helps discourage youth cannabis use by prohibiting:

  • products that are appealing to youth

  • packaging or labeling cannabis in a way that makes it appealing to youth

  • selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines

  • promoting cannabis, except in narrow circumstances where young people could not see the promotion

Penalties for violating these prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million or 3 years in jail.

Protecting public health

The Act protects public health by creating strict safety and quality regulations. In addition, public education efforts are currently underway to raise awareness about safety measures and any potential health risks.

Strict regulation

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments share responsibility for overseeing the cannabis regulation system.

The Federal government's responsibilities are to set:

  • strict requirements for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis

  • industry-wide rules and standards, including:

    • types of cannabis products available for sale

    • Packaging and labeling requirements for products

    • Standardized serving sizes and potency

    • prohibitions on the use of certain ingredients

    • good production practices

    • tracking requirements of cannabis from seed to sale to keep it out of the illegal market

    • Restrictions on promotional activities

Provinces and territories are responsible for developing, implementing, maintaining, and enforcing systems to oversee the distribution and sale of cannabis. They are also able to add their own safety measures, such as:

  • increasing the minimum age in their province or territory (but not lowering it)

  • lowering the personal possession limit in their jurisdiction

  • creating additional rules for growing cannabis at home, such as lowering the number of plants per residence

  • restricting where adults can consume cannabis, such as in public or in vehicles

Public Education

The Government of Canada has committed close to $46 million over the next five years for cannabis public education and awareness activities. These are to inform Canadians, especially youth, of the health and safety risks of cannabis consumption.

2018 Canada just legalized recreational pot

Cannabis legalization in Canada

Who can buy marijuana in Canada?

Adults will be allowed to buy, use, possess, and grow recreational marijuana, under the law. In Quebec and Alberta, the legal age is 18; it's 19 in the remainder of the country. The measure legalizing the recreational use of the drug passed the Senate in June.


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