Legal Weed Canada: The Fundamentals

Canada was the second nation, after Uruguay, to legalize recreational weed. A year down the line and the nascent industry is struggling to find the best possible way to execute legal weed Canada. What happened on October, 17th 2018 was just a tip of the iceberg; the hard work has been the execution. If this is messed up it can easily undo the painstaking efforts that led to the D-Day.

The Cannabis Act outlines basic rules governing the legalization of recreational weed in Canada. However, each of the provinces is at liberty to set it’s own cannabis specific rules. The cannabis Act was instituted to keep cannabis away from minors as well as “keep profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”

Minors have not been the only concern with the legalization of weed, the medical fraternity has been skeptical about the public health risks associated with long-term use of cannabis. These are some of the reasons that have contributed to the strict laws governing the legalization of weed in Canada. 

We expect to see modifications and even some radical changes in some provinces before this process can be considered successful; Quebec recently raised the legal age for consumption to 21. 

If you feel a little bit confused about what’s allowed and what’s not, here are the fundamentals to start you off.

1.0 Legal Weed Canada: Hard And Fast Rules

A few nuances here and there make up the hard and fast rules of legal weed Canada. Here is a brief breakdown from start to finish.

1.1 Is Weed Legal In Canada?

Weed is legal in Canada both for medicinal and recreational use. The Canadian Medical Marijuana Access Regulations legalized medicinal cannabis for individuals with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses in 2001. Progressive efforts led to the full legalization of recreational weed in the Great White North on October 17 2018.

Canada weed laws will vary depending on the province or territory that you live in or visit. The federal government sets the laws governing the licensing and regulation of producing and wholesaling cannabis. The provincial and territorial governments set rules on how legal weed is executed at the retail and consumer level.

As alluded to earlier, provincial governments are allowed to adjust rules on how consumers can access cannabis. However, some bare minimums cut across all the provinces. They include:

  • Adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis by dry weight or the equivalent in non-dried form.
  • Adults can share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  • Adults can buy dried or fresh weed from licensed retailers or online from federally-licensed producers
  • Adults can grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use
  • Adults can make cannabis edibles at home as long as they don’t use organic solvents in the edibles.

Legalization 2.0

Cannabis edibles were illegal in Cannabis until October 2019 when they were legalized. Licensed sellers are now allowed to stock and sell cannabis edible products and concentrates to the legal public.

1.2 Can You Buy Pot In Canada?

Weed is legal in Canada but you can’t just buy it from anywhere. If you understand how liquor stores are run in Canada it will be much easier to understand how weed stores operate as well. The government is the sole supplier of alcohol to pubs, hotels, supermarkets, and nightclubs. It also sets the floor-price for alcoholic beverages. In a nutshell, the provincial governments have a lot of control over the supply chain of liquor as well as cannabis.

There is also the issue of black-market cannabis that has plagued Canada as well as other nations. Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario have been largely affected by this.  A year into legalization, Canadians are still buying pot from the black market. Two factors may be contributing to this; cheaper prices and legal age which may be cutting off minors from legal access to cannabis. Early this year shortages in the supply of cannabis could have contributed to the furtherance of the black market, but this issue has been significantly resolved.

You can buy pot legally (or illegally with the risk for repercussions) in Canada for as long as you meet the legal age limit for your province. In most states, the legal age has been set at 19 years, with a few exceptions.

1.3 Legal Age For Buying Recreational Weed In Canada

To access recreational weed in Canada, a person needs to have attained the required minimum legal age as set by the provincial governments. The legal age for cannabis use in all the provinces is 19 years apart from two provinces.  Alberta has set this age to 18 while the legal age in Quebec is 21. Adults who have attained the legal age are free to buy, use, possess and grow recreational marijuana, under the law.

1.4 Legal Weed Canada: Can I grow?

In most provinces and all territories, adults are allowed to grow a maximum of four marijuana plants per household for personal use. That’s the higher limit that was set by the federal government in the Cannabis Act.

Quebec and Manitoba opted out of this provision; they do not allow their residents to cultivate cannabis for personal use. We can only wait to see whether these two provinces will hold out in the long run on this hard-stance or if they will cave in to pressure.

1.5 Where Is Weed Legal In Canada To Use?

As much as weed is legal in Canada, there are limits as to where it can be used. The intention is to protect minors from undue exposure as well as to promote public health and safety.

As with other rules, where to use cannabis also varies between provinces. Generally, enclosed public spaces are verboten. This may include public transport facilities, workspaces, sports arenas, hotel rooms, libraries, university dorms, and bus shelters among others.

Any space marked as “do not smoke/ spark here” is also verboten. It is also illegal to use cannabis in any public area within 20 meters of a childcare facility.

Places that provide health care services such as hospitals are also out of bounds for cannabis use. One is required to keep a nine meters distance from the entrance or exit of such institutions. In most provinces and territories, cannabis use is outlawed in most spaces where tobacco use is banned.

Unlike tobacco, cannabis use in vehicles is forbidden in all the states. There are penalties attached to violating this law. Cannabis reduces reaction time and therefore driving under the influence of weed may increase the risk for road accidents.

2.0 How And When To Buy Legal Weed Canada

Weed is legal in Canada and you can buy it from licensed retailers, so when and how do you do this?

The when and how boils down to individual preference. Some strains of weed are best suited for morning use while others work best in the evening due to the drowsiness that comes with it. Different strains of weed also present unique experiences; while some strains work best for relaxing the body others do an awesome job at creating a cerebral buzz. 

Here is a summary of how different types of weed affects the body. There are three different types of weed: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids which are a mix of the two.

2.1 Buy Indica Weed

Indica strains of weed have a greater effect on the body than on the mind. They tend to induce the couch-lock effect and are ideal for relaxing the body. They offer the following medicinal benefits:  

  • Pain relief
  • Treatment of chronic fatigue
  • Treatment of anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Treatment of muscle stiffness

Indicas may have higher amounts of CBD as compared to Sativas, but this is not always the case. Because of the heavy relaxing effects of indicas, they are best taken at night to induce sleep.

For those looking to grow cannabis at home indicas are an appealing option because they take a short time to grow and give high yields.

Afghan Kush and Granddaddy Purple are good examples of indica strains.

2.2 Buy Sativa Weed

Sativa strains create a strong cerebral buzz and are a favorite for users with creative skills. They tend to increase focus and cause excitement. Sativa is also great for elevating mood. They offer the following medicinal benefits.

  • Treatment of depression
  • Treatment of anxiety
  • Treatment of ADD and PTSD

Sativa is associated with high THC levels but this is not the case at all times. Due to the highly stimulating effects, they are suitable for day time use.

For those looking to grow their weed at home, sativas require patience because they take a longer time to mature. The trees grow tall and form finger-like leaves. Sativa strains include Acapulco Gold and Durban Poison.

2.3 Buy Hybrid Weed

Thanks to agricultural advancements, cannabis enthusiasts can get to enjoy a mix of both Sativa and indica benefits in the same strain. Hybrids are created by crossing indica and Sativa strains. Hybrids can have different amounts of Sativa and indica; they can be indica leaning, Sativa leaning or balanced hybrids with equal amounts of Sativa and indica.

The characteristics of the hybrid will be determined by its genetics. Balanced hybrids have balanced effects on the body and mind and may be taken at any time of the day. Generally, hybrids present unique opportunities for enjoying both indica and Sativa properties. Popular hybrid strains include Wedding Cake, OG Kush, and White widow.

3.0 Marijuana Legalization Canada: What It Means For The World

We were the first G7 country to legalize recreational marijuana canada. This move was welcomed with a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism from different nations. Generally, most nations have begun or continued the conversation on weed.

The US has made a lot of progressive changes towards the full legalization of marijuana. So far most states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use but only a handful has legalized recreational use- 10 to be precise. However, the biggest challenge has been at the federal level where marijuana has been illegal for all intents and purposes. While many considered the US to be “sitting on the fence” on this issue, something noteworthy happened just recently. The house committee has just approved a landmark bill to legalize marijuana at a federal level. This will remove cannabis from schedule 1 of the controlled substances Act.

Over in the UK, hemp-derived CBD was legalized at the beginning of 2019. Medical cannabis is also available to patients in the UK on NHS prescription since November 2018. As for recreational weed, there is no clear show of commitment from the government.

Globally, cannabis continues to attract a lot of attention. Legal weed Canada has created an investment opportunity that is worth billions of dollars.

Sources

1.   OPHA: The public health implications of recreational cannabis. Retrieved from https://opha.on.ca/getmedia/6b05a6bc-bac2-4c92-af18-62b91a003b1b/The-Public-Health-Implications-of-the-Legalization-of-Recreational-Cannabis.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf

2.  Grand View Research 2019: Legal Marijuana Market Worth $66.3 Billion By 2025 | CAGR: 23.9%. Retrieved from https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-legal-marijuana-market

3.   Government of Canada: Cannabis Act. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/resources/cannabis-act-what-you-need-to-know.html

4.   Government of Canada Department of Justice: Cannabis legalization and Regulation. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

5.   The Guardian: Quebec raises the legal age for cannabis to 21. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/30/quebec-cannabis-legal-age-21

6.   NCBI 1977: Effects of marijuana on human reaction time and motor control. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/600655

7.   CNBC 2019: House committee approves landmark bill legalizing marijuana at the federal level. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/20/house-committee-approves-bill-decriminalizing-marijuana-on-the-federal-level.html

8.   The SUN 2019: Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7629376/medical-cannabis-nhs-prescriptions/

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