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This is what cannabis legalization looks like across Canada

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Emma Spears Oct 17, 2018 11:18 am

Cannabis is legal in Canada, and enthusiasts everywhere are lighting up in celebration of this historic occasion. But with all the legislative and policy changes over the past few months (not to mention the patchwork of municipal-provincial-federal laws that make up our country’s legislation), it’s hard to keep track what’s allowed where.

Have no fear! Grow has got your back with this updated province-by-province list of rules and regs in your area.

Alberta

Age of majority: 18
Where you can smoke: Anywhere smoking cigarettes is permitted, and anywhere not frequented by children (playgrounds, schools, etc.). Rules can vary based on municipal laws.
Where to get it: Private retailers (government-run wholesale) and online.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household are permitted.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: Municipalities in Alberta have the power to set their own cannabis consumption rules. Jasper announced its cannabis regulations – or lack thereof – in mid-August. Jasper City Council has opted to scrap the 100 m buffer zone between dispensaries and schools, to allow retail stores to stay open late, and to impose zero limits on the number of cannabis retailers permitted. This means that Jasper now has some of the most lenient local cannabis legislation in the country. Conversely, Calgary City Council passed a motion just days before legalization banning cannabis consumption in public places.

British Columbia

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Most places you can smoke cigarettes with multiple exceptions including recreational areas, parks, enclosed public spaces, bus/ferry stops, or near children. It can vary per municipality.
Where to get it: Province-run BC Cannabis Stores (although only one – in Kamloops – is currently open), online, and from licensed private retailers in the near future.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted. Plants must not be visible from public spaces, or grown in houses designated as community care facilities.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: Municipalities have significant control over cannabis distribution in their jurisdictions. Burnaby, for example, wants to limit their retail outlets to government-run stores only. In chiller news, YVR airport recently announced that it will allow smoking cannabis in designated areas.

Manitoba

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: It’s prohibited in public places.
Where to get it: Private retailers and private online retailers (must have a brick-and-mortar store).
Home growing: Provincial regulations prohibit home cultivation.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: In mid-August, Manitoba announced that it will opt not to charge sales tax on recreational cannabis in order to offer pricing that competes with the black market. Although the 8% sales tax won’t be charged, consumers will still pay additional fees including the federal excise tax. Retailers will be charged 75 cents per gram plus 9% by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries for their services as a distributor, as well as a 6% “social responsibility fee.”

New Brunswick

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places.
Where to get it: Province-run retail stores and online, via the Cannabis Management Corporation (NB Liquor subsidiary).
Home growing: Up to four plants allowed per household. Indoors, plants require a separate and locked space. Outdoor plants require a locked enclosure with a minimum height of 1.52 m.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: New Brunswick has proclaimed itself “ready” for legalization since June – in fact, they were so ready that the delay from summer to October 17 has cost them millions – slicing their presumed $6 million in revenue to $3.6 million, according to Finance Minister Cathy Rogers.

Newfoundland/Labrador

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places
Where to get it: Private retailers, online, province-run dispensaries where there are no private storefronts.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted
Possession limits: 30g total
Recent developments: Thomas Clarke in Portugal-St Phillips was voted out of running a local dispensary by the town’s council, despite having received a license from the province to do so. The town blamed a petition by residents as the reason it put the kibosh on Clarke’s business plan, leaving many questions about who has jurisdiction over Newfoundland cannabis.

Northwest Territories

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places
Where to get it: Currently there is only province-run retail via Liquor Commission stores (though there are currently only five outlets). Eventually, there will be online and private retail.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: NWT released their Retail Cannabis Framework just a week before legalization. NWT also recently confirmed the rights of Indigenous groups to block cannabis retail outlets from their communities.

Nova Scotia

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Anywhere smoking cigarettes is permitted, but varies based on municipal rules.
Where to get it: Government-run retail stores and online via NS Liquor Board.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: In early August, Dalhousie University psychologist Dr. Simon Sherry accused Nova Scotia of  “glamorizing and normalizing” cannabis in its dispensary design, in contravention of federal law. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp dismissed the accusation. The City of Halifax recently banned the smoking of cannabis on all city-owned property, save a few Designated Smoking Areas.

Nunavut

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Anywhere smoking cigarettes is permitted.
Where to get it: Province-run retail stores, private retailers/dispensaries if acting as an agency on behalf of the Nunavut government, and online.
Home growing: Up to four plants allowed per household.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public
Recent developments: The province has confirmed the rights of Indigenous groups to ban recreational cannabis sales in their communities.

Ontario

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Anywhere smoking tobacco is permitted
Where to get it: Province-run Ontario Cannabis Stores (online only) until April 2019, by which point private retail sales will also be allowed for provincially-licensed retailers.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: After weeks of rumours and uncertainty, Doug Ford’s PC party announced a new hybrid public/private distribution system for Ontario, dismantling the public one created by his predecessor, Liberal Kathleen Wynne. Ford announced that Ontario cannabis sales would be online-only via the LCBO-run OCS until Spring 2019. At that point, private retail sales will be permitted – albeit only in licensed, brick-and-mortar stores. Ford also granted municipalities the right to opt out of allowing cannabis retail stores to operate within their jurisdiction. So far several Toronto suburbs like Richmond Hill and Markham have decided to opt out.

Prince Edward Island

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places, with a few exceptions (such as multi-unit dwellings).
Where to get it: Province-run dispensaries and online, via PEI Cannabis Management Corporation
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted as long as the plants are not accessible to minors.
Possession limits: Maximum 30 g in public.
Recent developments: No major updates. Training for PEI Cannabis Management Corp staff has been underway since June.

Québec

Age of majority: 18, but likely to be raised to 21
Where you can smoke: Anywhere smoking cigarettes is permitted, for now
Where to get it: Province-run retail stores or online, via the Société Québecois du Cannabis, a subsidiary of the SAQ (liquor board)
Home growing: Provincial regulations prohibit any home cultivation
Possession limits: Maximum 150 g allowed in a household. The maximum in public is still to be determined, likely 30 g.
Recent developments: The recent election of Francois Legault’s CAQ party means that Quebec may go from having some of the more lenient cannabis rules to some of the strictest. Legault has indicated that his party intends to raise the age of majority from 18 to 21 and prohibit public smoking, among other restrictions. The CAQ has not yet indicated when these plans would be introduced, so the Liberals’ framework still applies for now.

Saskatchewan

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places.
Where to get it: Private retail stores and private online retailers (must have brick-and-mortar storefront).
Home growing: Up to four plants allowed per household.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public.
Recent developments: Legalization is creating a small job boom in Saskatchewan, with reportedly hundreds of new jobs in cultivation, distribution and retail being created by the cannabis industry. Municipalities will have the power to ban cannabis sales if they so desire. So far, about over a dozen municipalities have opted out.

Yukon

Age of majority: 19
Where you can smoke: Prohibited in public places
Where to get it: There’s one province-run retailer in Whitehorse. Private retailers will be introduced a minimum of six months post-legalization. Online sales are  government-run for now.
Home growing: Up to four plants per household permitted.
Possession limits: 30 g allowed in public or in a vehicle.
Recent developments: The Yukon government has acknowledged the right of Indigenous populations to ban cannabis retail sales in their communities.

See also

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