The world awaits the recreational roll out as Canada is the first G7 country to take the plunge. Each province and territory has been allowed to make its own regulations.
With only one week left before full legalization of cannabis for recreational use in Canada, there are a lot of questions and speculations about how this will all pan out. October 17th is a day that the whole world is awaiting as Canada will be the first G7 country to legalize adult use of recreational cannabis.
According to the cannabis act, adults above 18 years old will be allowed to buy cannabis from permitted stores and most provinces will allow possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. Initially, only dried bud, cannabis oil and plants for cultivation will be allowable by law. Later in 2019, edible products and cannabis concentrates will become available.
Harsh laws to protect minors will be enforced and offenders found guilty of selling to minors will face up to 14 years imprisonment. Police officers will also be able to conduct impaired driving tests for those suspected to be driving under the influence of THC.
The law will further prohibit the exportation or importation of cannabis except for medicinal purposes. There are additional laws governing the packaging and promotion of the same. The government will levy an excise tax that will be split between the government and the provinces. On growing cannabis at home, Quebec and Manitoba have opted out entirely, while Alberta and New Brunswick will only allow indoor grow.
On the question of where to buy weed legally, there is no national policy. The laws vary from province to province, with some offering sales from government online stores and a few offering private sales from store fronts, as well.
What to Expect October 27th Province-by-Province
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories and each has taken a slightly different approach to recreational cannabis.
At the crack of dawn on October 17th, those residing in BC will be able to purchase legal cannabis from the BC Liquor distribution branch stores, online stores, and private store fronts. Residents can grow up to four plants, but these must be out of public view. Legal age for adult use is set at 19 years. Landlords can restrict growing and smoking cannabis at the properties they own.
Alberta has allowed private retailers to run cannabis storefronts in keeping with the cannabis regulation laws. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission will also sell cannabis online, with the legal age for purchase set at 18-years old. People under the age of 18 are not permitted to enter a cannabis store, even with an adult. Residents can grow up to four plants, subject to limitations from landlords.
This province has a whopping 51 private cannabis retailers so far, exceeding those in any other province; all of these privately-run. The legal age set for purchase of adult use cannabis is 19 years. Residents may grow up to 4 plants, but landlords can restrict this.
Manitoba will allow private retail stores to sell cannabis to adults 19 years and older. There is no home grow allowed. There is no consuming in public and individual communities are permitted to hold a referendum to disallowed cannabis store fronts in their region.
This is the most populous province in Canada and accounts for 40% of the country’s population. Things will start with government run online sales, with private store fronts coming April 2019. The government will allow current licensed producers to open one store front only. There will also be restrictions on how many storefronts can populate a given area. Legal age here for adult use of cannabis is set at 19 years. Residents can grow up to four plants on their property; landlords can restrict cultivation and consumption. Uniquely, municipalities will have a one-time time window to opt out of cannabis stores in their region, after which time they may not protest.
Quebec is expected to have up to 20 cannabis storefronts that will also offer online purchasing, all of these government owned. Home grow is not permitted. Legal age for purchase and consumption is 18-years old.
Residents here will be able to access cannabis through government run retail stores and online sales. Legal age is set at 19 years and cannabis may only be consumed in a private residence. Home grow of up to four plants is allowed but these must be locked behind a fence that is no less than 1.52m high. Landlords may disallow smoking and cultivation at their properties.
Sale of adult-use cannabis will be through government run store fronts and online sales. So far, 12 NSLC outlets have been unveiled. Legal age for adult use cannabis is set at 19 years. Four plants will be allowed for home grow and consumption is only allowed at private residences, subject to landlord approval.
Prince Edward Island
Four storefronts (so far) have been set up in this sparsely populated province of Canada. This gives cannabis access a ratio of 35,000 people per store. The stores will be government run and residents will also be able to purchase online. Home grow of four plants is allowed.
Newfoundland and Labrador
In this province, residents will be able to buy cannabis both through government online stores and privately run store fronts. The Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation will regulate the sales while the legal age for purchase will be 19 years+. Residents are allowed home grow of up to four plants. Public consumption of cannabis is not allowed.
The territory of Yukon will allow up to four plants to be grown on private property but these must be shielded from public view. All cannabis sales are being run through government own storefronts and online sales. Consumption is only allowed at private residences, subject to restrictions from landlords.
North West Territories
Initially, cannabis will be sold through existing government run liquor stores with cannabis-only stores coming in the future. Government online sales will also be allowed. The legal age for purchase and consumption is 18+. Home grow of four plants is permitted. Consumption is allowed at private residences, on trails and highways, streets, roads, and parks so long as these are not being used for a public event.
The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Corporation will provide online sales to residents after legalization day. Legal age is set at 19 years. Home grow is not exactly banned, it seems that the authorities will make a case by case decision.
There are many excited about the sale of recreational cannabis and there are those that worry that it will lead to debauchery and decline. The latter is not going to happen so relax. Canadians are super curious to see who comes out of the woodwork as a consumer now that its legal. It will be a very interesting day all the way around.