Everything you need to know about cannabis being legalized in Ontario
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 Ontario ones it all (finally) takes effect.
Who can buy it
You must be at least 19-years-old – and have a valid government-issued ID to prove it – to legally purchase weed or have it in your possession if you live in Ontario.
Where to buy it
In Ontario, the government will oversee the distribution of weed, turning to the LCBO to handle it through a subsidiary corporation (not helping your weekend convenience cause, it won’t be available in LCBO stores). Weed will be sold in these government stores and online under strict rules. Come legalization, we can expect 40 standalone spots in the province, followed by 80 by July 1, 2019, and 150 by 2020.
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 are limited to purchase 30 grams at a time (which is still enough to fuel the daily smoker 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 tighter in that you’re pretty much legally only allowed to smoke marijuana inside of your private residence. Motor vehicles, the workplace, and public parks are off limits. For those who rely on weed for medical use, the rules are the same as tobacco and e-cigarettes. The medical blazers won’t be allowed to smoke or vape medical cannabis in enclosed workplaces, enclosed public places, motor vehicles and other smoke-free places, with a few exceptions.
Weed on the road
Aside from being strictly prohibited while driving, the legalization of weed comes with tougher drug impairment rules, and driving high is a major no-no. This means enhancing existing impaired driving penalties and creating a zero-tolerance approach for young, novice and commercial drivers. Driving with marijuana in your system will result in a license suspension (three days for your first offense) as well as well as a monetary fee ($250 for your first occurrence). Those found impaired by drugs face even stepper fees. Currently, the monetary penalties are expected to take effect by January 2019, and will be in addition to the existing $198 reinstatement fee.
If you have a green thumb, the will, and the room, you will be legally allowed to grow up to four plants in Ontario.