October 17th marked a day to be remembered for all Canadians. All across the nation cannabis lovers are now able to freely and openly enjoy a toke or two – without needing a medical license. That’s right folks, Canada has become the second nation in the world to legalize cannabis across the country for recreational use. Maybe we should change our slogan from “the great white north” the the “great high green.” With over 12 million cannabis smokers in Canada, it’s a no brainer that this country is going to be living on cloud nine for a little while, but just what does it mean province by province to have cannabis legalized? Why don’t we take a look and see.
Since there are so many provinces and territories we have broken this post into two!
Over here on the west coast, British Columbia has put in motion the Cannabis Control and Licensing act which indicates that the legal age to smoke or buy cannabis is 19, same as with alcohol. In a public place adults are allowed to have up to 30 grams on their person, but just like with tobacco smoke, smoking cannabis is prohibited in the same places as cigarettes. You are also not allowed to smoke on school property or in a vehicle. If you want to grow in your house you are allowed to have up to four plants, however those plants can not be visible from off the property and are not allowed in homes that double as day care. Landlords and condo councils are allowed to restrict the growth of plants on their property as well as put a ban on smoking on the property. The cannabis retail licensing regime is similar to the current liquor license regime and wholesale distribution and is controlled by the Liquor Distribution Branch, it will allow for public and private storefronts with a government run website.
In Alberta the Gaming and Liquor Commission is going to distribute cannabis products similar to how they currently distribute alcohol. The AGLC will issue private retailers licenses, however cannabis shops are to be physically separate from alcohol and tobacco shops and are not allowed to sell anything other than cannabis and cannabis related products. Just like alcohol, the age to legally consume cannabis has been set to 18. The government has announced that in the first year of legalization they will issue 250 licenses for retailers with the condition that the shops be at least 100 meters from any school or health care facility. The government has also said that anyone under the legal age is prohibited from entering a dispensary – even with adult supervision. Consuming cannabis is banned in vehicles, but you are allowed to smoke pot wherever tobacco is permitted with some restrictions such as playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and outdoor pools. You are allowed to grow up to 4 plants per household however if you live in an apartment or condo you may be banned from doing so based on your rental agreement.
The legal age to possess and consume cannabis in Saskatchewan has been set to 19, however all consumption must be done on private property. There is no smoking in public, even in places where cigarettes are allowed. The sale of cannabis is being handled by the private sector and 60 permits are to be handed out to operators in 40 municipalities and First Nations communities. Within the first three years of legalization the number of permits will be restricted by the government. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming authority will regulate the sale of cannabis, however municipalities can decide on their own whether or not they will allow any store fronts to open. If you want to grow plants in your own home you are allowed up to four plants, but they can not be visible from off your property.
While you may be able to purchase alcohol at 18 in Manitoba, you will have to wait until you are 19 until you can legally purchase and consume cannabis. The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba will be regulating the sale of cannabis across the province, but each municipality can ban sales by referendum. Cannabis smoking is banned in most public places, it will follow the same rules as tobacco and alcohol. If you can not smoke a cigarette or drink in a specific location you can’t smoke pot there either. You are able to smoke in your residence, however if you live in a rented dwelling your landlord can ban smoking on the property. Recreational cultivation of cannabis is banned in private residences. Sales will be taking place through an online distributor or through privately run storefronts.
Sales of cannabis will be done through the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission both online and at privately run storefronts. Communities in Nunavut will be required to be consulted before any cannabis store can be opened, this applies to lounges as well. You will be allowed to cultivate cannabis for recreational use as according to the cannabis act.
In the North West Territories residents can purchase cannabis at the age of 19 and can legally carry up to 30 grams in public. Products will be sold in liquor stores and will be regulated by the Liquor Commission. You are not allowed to smoke in public places that are frequented by children, or that tobacco smoking would be prohibited. You are allowed to grow up to four plants in your home unless restricted by your landlord.
Cannabis can be legally purchased at the age of 19 from a Yukon Liquor Corporation licensed retailer as well as online. Consumers are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. Currently there is only one area zoned for retail cannabis stores and that is Marwell.
So far cannabis laws are looking pretty similar to those of alcohol and tobacco in most provinces. It’s definitely worth reading your specific provinces in depth cannabis act and knowing what you can and can not do. Knowing your laws is the half the battle in staying safe and enjoying recreational cannabis use with no hassle.
Coming soon, the Eastern provinces of Canada.