Canada cannabis laws 101 - a quick quiz

Where were you on October 17, 2018? It was a momentous day, as Canada became the second country in the world, (after Uruguay) and the first of the G7 countries, to legalize recreational cannabis. Statistically, Canadians have been some of the world’s heaviest users, so the motivation for legalizing cannabis was two-fold: ‘To keep drugs out of the hands of minors and keep profits out of the hands of criminals.’ [Justin Trudeau]. Almost a year later, how savvy are you on Canada’s cannabis laws?

The discussion is not so simple, due to the diversity of cannabis laws and regulations across Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, which requires having your wits about you as you travel cross country. 

What is the minimum legal age for using cannabis?

If you said 18, you would be correct ... but only if you are in Alberta or Quebec. In all other provinces and territories, to buy, possess or smoke recreational cannabis, you must be 19. Canada cannabis laws include strict penalties for selling or providing cannabis to minors, with a potential jail sentence of up to 14 years. 

Where can you legally purchase cannabis?

Again, this will depend on which province or territory you are in. Even though cannabis is legal everywhere in Canada, where you are will have a big impact as to where you can purchase it. In Saskatchewan, for example, you can buy cannabis in privately operated online and brick and mortar stores, whereas on Prince Edward Island, you can only purchase from government-operated and retail stores. In Ontario, you can buy cannabis online from the government, Ontario cannabis stores (OCS) and privately run retail stores.

Learn more about where cannabis can be legally purchased. 

Where can you legally smoke cannabis?

This, too, depends on where you are. In some provinces, you may only smoke in private residences, whereas other provinces allow the smoking of cannabis in select public spaces where tobacco is permitted. What makes it even more complicated is that some municipalities have opted out of allowing cannabis to be smoked in public areas. The one constant across all provinces is that the smoking of cannabis is prohibited in cars and around children.

Read more about where it is legal to smoke cannabis in each province. 

What is the legal possession limit?

The Canada cannabis laws consistently limit the public possession of legally dried cannabis to 30g or equivalent - across all provinces. The amount is higher for possession at home (from 150g to 1000g to no limit), all depending on where in Canada you reside.

Are cannabis edibles legal?

As of this moment, cannabis edibles are illegal. But the biggest change in the cannabis laws will be the legalization of edible sales on October 17, 2019. 

Whether you are a recreational cannabis user or not, the knowledge of the Canada cannabis laws is your responsibility for your own education and for the equipping employees, family members and peers in making informed decisions on the use of cannabis and to remain on the right side of the law.


RCU empowers consumers and businesses to make responsible cannabis choices by being a platform to help educate individuals about cannabis usage laws, and other regional regulations. Contact us to learn about our CannEd course for employees.

If you are having a hard time figuring out cannabis laws which are new, continually evolving and province-specific, then visit - an educational portal aimed at informing consumers and organizations about cannabis laws across Canada.

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