It looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer before we can legally purchase marijuana and light up in Canada.
In April 2017, the federal government introduced legislation to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in Canada by July 1, 2018, and many (many) Canadians have been waiting for the glorious day to arrive. But after senators struck a deal in mid-February to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will govern the incoming weed regime, legality has been pushed back to August at the earliest. The delay will be due to the subsequent process of actually opening up shop for the sale of recreational marijuana after the vote – something that will not happen overnight.
When it comes to the distribution and use of recreational marijuana, each province will have its own legislation.
Here’s what to expect in British Columbia once it all (finally) takes effect.
Who can buy it
You must be at least 19-years-old to possess, purchase and consume cannabis in BC – and have a valid government-issued ID to prove it.
Where to buy it
In BC, you’ll be able to purchase recreational cannabis through privately run retail stores or through government-operated retail stores and online sales. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will operate the public retail stores, and Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) will be responsible for licensing private stores and monitoring the retail sector. Not making for a one-stop shop (sadly), licensed retailers in urban areas won’t be able to sell weed in the same stores as booze or tobacco. Exceptions will be made for rural non-medical cannabis retail stores. Individuals and businesses interested in applying for a cannabis retail license can do so this spring. The LDB will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in BC.
What to bring
Bring your ID and your full wallet – you can use debit, credit card, or cash to buy weed.
How much you can buy
When it comes to “grabbing,” customers across Canada are limited to purchase 30 grams at a time (which is enough for a healthy-sized joint or two a day for a good month). That’s the same amount you’re allowed to have in public possession.
Where you can smoke it
The rules are similar to tobacco laws when it comes to weed smoking, but let’s be real; BC-dwellers have been sparking up joints where their hearts have pleased for years. Motor vehicles, the workplace, and public beaches, and public parks are legally off limits. Local governments will be able to set additional restrictions, as they do now for tobacco use. If you’re a weed smoker, you better hope your landlord is cool in the cannabis department; landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking at tenanted and strata properties.
Weed on the road
Aside from being strictly prohibited while driving, the legalization of weed comes with tougher drug impairment rules and driving high will continue to be a major no-no. Stricter provincial regulation will give police more tools to remove drug-impaired drivers from the road and deter drug-affected driving. This means measures like a new 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP) for drug affected driving and amending the current zero tolerance restrictions for the presence of alcohol for drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) to include zero tolerance for the presence of THC.
If you have a green thumb, the will, and the room, you will be legally allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household in B.C. The plants can’t be visible from public spaces off the property and cannabis plants are a no-go if the dwelling is also used as a daycare. Furthermore, landlords and strata councils will be able restrict or prohibit home cultivation.