Cannabis legalization Rules In Canada

Cannabis legalization Rules In Canada

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Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018 by the Federal Government. Ontario’s Government for the People has put rules in place to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, keep our roads safe and combat the illegal market.

Ontario now has laws in place (after extensive public and stakeholder engagement) about how, where and who can buy and possess cannabis in the province. The government is also moving forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1, 2019.

Medical cannabis will continue to be subject to different rules than recreational cannabis.

Minimum age is 19

You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Where to use it

The government has enacted the following rules for using cannabis, both medical and recreational.

Where you can smoke and vape cannabis*

  • Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (e.g. long-term care and/or retirement homes)
  • Many outdoor public places (e.g. sidewalks, parks)
  • Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (e.g. have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)
  • Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)
  • Controlled areas in:
    • long-term care homes
    • certain retirement homes
    • residential hospices
    • provincially-funded supportive housing
    • designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

*Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners.

Where you cannot smoke or vape cannabis

Indoors

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in:

  • indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences
  • enclosed public places and enclosed work places
  • non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns

Schools and places where children gather

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:

  • at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20m of these grounds
  • on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20m 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

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:

  • within 9m 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

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20m of these areas.

Vehicles and boats

You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being put into motion.

Other outdoor areas

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:

  • in 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
  • on grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20m 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)

 Driving

Driving impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision.

If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you will face serious penalties, including:

  • an immediate licence suspension
  • financial penalties
  • possible vehicle impoundment
  • possible criminal record
  • possible jail time

Police officers have tests to determine if you are impaired and are now also authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside to help enforce the law.

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