Pot smokers, freedom fighters and bon vivants are joining hands across Canada this month to make a joyful noise of jubilation, followed by the husky sound of hearty coughing. With the passage of the Federal Cannabis Act, on 17 October 2018, Canada became the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational pot smoking.
Other countries, like the Netherlands, have famously decriminalized the weed, and a few states and nations have controversially legalized medical cannabis use. But Canada’s law is a major milestone of legislation after about a century of prohibition in most of the world. Many U.S. states (including California, Colorado, and Washington) have passed laws to legalize pot, but federal drug guidelines remain staunchly opposed to this trend. Canada is also the very first G7 and G20 nation to take this bold step.
But before we pack the bong, crank up the Bob Marley, and lose track of what we were talking about, let’s take a look at some of the specific elements in this groundbreaking legislation.
How much weed can I have?
Canadian law now allows an adult to possess up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried marijuana for personal use.
Who can grow it?
Recreational consumers are allowed to grow up to four plants per household, up to a meter tall. As of now, a handful of commercial growers seem to dominate the market, namely Canopy Growth Corp. of Ontario, Aurora Cannabis based in Edmonton, and Tilray, Inc. in British Columbia.
Where can I buy it? Who can sell it?
Canada will be tightly regulating the sale and distribution of Cannabis, issuing special licenses to a limited number of retailers. Specifics will vary from province to province, and in some regions the retail industry will be controlled by the liquor board. Most of the (illegal) pot shops that have sprouted up in recent years will probably not survive this transition.
Personal sales of weed, from one stoner buddy to another, will remain strictly illegal. Anyone breaking this law can face a penalty of up to $5000, or up to 14 years behind bars. (However, like it was for the last several decades, you will probably be fine as long as you don’t get caught. But you didn’t hear that from me.)
Can minors buy or possess grass?
Absolutely not. Sales to anyone under the age of 18 remains very much illegal. Anyone breaking this law can face a penalty of up to $5000, or up to 14 years behind bars.
Can I drive stoned?
Absolutely not. Remember what happened to Cheech and Chong?
How about a pot brownie?
Sure, thank you. I mean, yes, no problem. Individuals may consume their personal stash by smoking, vaping, eating, or whatever new-fangled method they prefer.
To learn more about law enforcement in the great white north, you can read this article on the Police of Canada. In the meantime, have fun, be safe, and don’t bogart that joint my friend.
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