Health Care

What You Need to Know about Pot Legalization in Canada

Canada is known as one of the most progressive countries in the world, and it has once again confirmed this reputation by becoming one of the first countries in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. The decision was voted on June 20th by the majority Senate vote of 52-29. This new law should come into force somewhere in September as the Government needs some transition time to prepare everything for the successful enforcement of the bill that has just been passed.

So you will have to wait for a little while to be able to buy it legally. This is great news for all the legalization supporters, but of course, this still means there are some rules that need to be followed, as those from the 9 American States and DC, where recreational marijuana is legal probably already know. It gives hope to legal marijuana dispensaries here in the USA. But for those who are encountering this possibility for the first time, here are the answers to the most common questions, so you can be ready when September comes.

Where to Buy

Well, this greatly depends on the province you live in, just like when it comes to some other laws and regulations. For instance, Alberta will probably be the most open about it, announcing more than 200 private marijuana retailers, so you’ll more or less be able to get your pot all across the province. On the other hand, Ontario has opted for a more restricted distribution, limiting the sale to around 40 state-controlled shops.

The other provinces will probably adopt an approach that is somewhere in between, combining these two. For instance, in Labrador and Newfoundland, you’ll be able to buy marijuana in grocery stores. And when it comes to widely spread illegal shops that have been selling weed so far, they aren’t likely to successfully go through the legalization process.

How To Know What’s In the Bag

Actually, according to the guidelines from Health Canada, it will have to be specifically stated on the bag so you can be informed about the marijuana you’re buying. The packaging will have to contain the name of the producer and the marijuana strain, as well as the content of CBD/THC. The packaging will also have to carry a huge, conspicuous disclaimer stating all the health risks potentially induced by marijuana, just like the packaging of cigarettes.

How Much Can I Have, Can I Resell It And Grow?

30g of dried marijuana, or its equivalent, is the amount adults are allowed to have on them in a public space, meaning this is the maximum amount you can purchase at a time. Also, please have in mind that your car also counts as a public space. In case you happened to carry bigger amount than this with you, if you were caught, you’d be facing up to five years in prison.

When it comes to reselling, even just as doing a favor to a close person who lives far away and can’t personally reach a legal dispenser, it is strictly prohibited, exposing you to the risk of up to 14 years in prison, or of up to 5000 dollars of fine.

As far as growing your own weed is concerned, it is allowed, but in limited amounts, of course. In most provinces, you can grow 4 plants up to 1 meter in height, and some suggest they have to be out of the public view. In some provinces, however, such as Quebec and Manitoba, growing marijuana at home is completely illegal.

Driving High

This is absolutely illegal, even though proving the driving impairment caused by marijuana is really difficult, and there aren’t any parameters pointing out how much high means too high to drive. However, the regulations are very strict nevertheless, so it’s better not to enter into the discussion. There are three levels of penalty: for first offense, which can “earned” with 5 nanograms of THC per 1 milliliter of blood, you’ll get a minimal penalty of 1000 dollars; if caught for the second time, you’ll face up to 30 days in jail; finally, the third time will bring you a minimum of 120 days behind the bars.

Crossing the US Border with Weed

Well, this matter is subject to various factors. Even though a number of states have legalized recreational marijuana, and an even bigger number of states (30 to be precise) have legalized medicinal marijuana, this is still illegal on the federal level. Thus, you may expect troubles at the border and may be denied entrance if suspected to be professionally connected with production or distribution of pot, or even just for a small possession. However, once the legalization in Canada enters into force, the US border agents won’t be able to deny admission just based on the possession, so things should become slightly easier.

Our northern neighbor has made quite a big leap when it comes to marijuana legalization. We can only hope that the federal authorities here will pay attention to the results and possibly one day go down the same path.