Just last month on June 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadians would be able to legally consume recreational cannabis as of Oct. 17, 2018.
Though the Senate passed the new law, it still requires royal assent before Canadians can legally buy and consume adult-use marijuana. While the consumption of recreational cannabis may be legal beginning mid-October, it could take longer for provinces to finalize their new legislative frameworks and prepare for distribution.
Here’s what each Canadian province and territory is doing to get ready legislatively for the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
Newfoundland and Labrador Will Prohibit Public Cannabis Consumption
Though adults at or above the age of 19 will be able to buy and consume recreational cannabis in the province, they won’t be allowed to consume the plant in public.
Each person will be limited to possessing and sharing 30 grams of marijuana and will be able to grow four plants per household. Cannabis will be sold in both private storefronts attached to grocery stores and online through the government.
New Brunswick’s Government Will Handle In-Person & Online Marijuana Sales
There will be no limit on recreational marijuana possession for New Brunswick residents. The government will operate in-person and online sales.
Prince Edward Island Residents Will Be Allowed to Grow up to 4 Cannabis Plants at Home
Islanders who are 19 years or older will be able to buy recreational cannabis from four government-owned retail outlets and through online channels.
In line with federal allowances, the province allows residents to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, as long as the plants aren’t accessible to children.
Nova Scotia Will Allow Marijuana Consumption Wherever You Can Smoke Cigarettes
In Nova Scotia, residents will be allowed to consume marijuana wherever cigarettes can be smoked. The limit on home-cultivated cannabis will be four plants. People in Nova Scotia will be able to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public.
As of right now, there are nine government-operated stores that have been approved for the province, as well as online sales outlets.
Cannabis Home Grows Are Banned in Quebec
Unlike most other provinces, the legal age of recreational marijuana consumption in Quebec is 18, coinciding with its legal drinking age.
While this may convey a more liberal stance on cannabis, Quebec is actually one of two provinces that has decided to ban the cultivation of home grows altogether—something that could very well lead to courtroom clashes between the federal and provincial government.
However, personal cannabis possession can amount to 150 grams. In Quebec, recreational marijuana will be for sale in either government-run retail shops or online stores.
Ontario’s Cannabis Laws Are Still Up in the Air
With a newly elected Progressive Conservative government disrupting a nearly 15-year Liberal provincial rule, Ontario’s recreational marijuana legislation is still up in the air.
While the Liberal government had proposed cannabis government-operated stores and e-commerce retailers, Premier Doug Ford has said he believes “in letting the market dictate” how cannabis is sold. This means it's possible that cannabis could be sold through the private sector.
Similarly, though the Liberal government would have allowed residents to cultivate up to four cannabis plants at home, Ford says he may consider a total ban depending on consultations with community stakeholders and landlords.
Manitoba Will Introduce Strict Cannabis Laws
Manitoba is prepared to introduce some of the strictest recreational marijuana laws in the country. Along with Quebec and Nunavut, Manitoba has implemented a blanket prohibition on all home grows as well as consumption in public.
From an economical perspective, however, the provincial government is taking a hands-off approach. The province will allow private storefronts and online retailers to sell cannabis.
Saskatchewan Landlords Will Have a Say in Cannabis Consumption
Saskatchewan is following the Manitoba template by allowing privately run in-person and online sales.
Home grows will be permitted, but are subject to restrictions implemented by landlords. Cannabis consumption will be prohibited in public, and personal possession will be limited to 30 grams.
Alberta Says Cannabis Possession at Home Will Be Unlimited
Similar to Alberta's law on alcohol consumption, the legislation on recreational marijuana will allow anyone 18 or over to purchase cannabis through private storefronts or government-operated e-commerce channels.
Albertans can have as much marijuana as they want in their home, but cannabis consumption will be prohibited in areas accessible to children, in cars and anywhere tobacco is banned.
Cannabis Sales in British Columbia Will Be Private & Government-Run
British Columbia has introduced a hybrid model for the sale of recreational marijuana through both government-operated and private stores.
Municipalities will be the ones approving cannabis store licences, but there has been no limit proposed to date. Restrictions will include a ban on cannabis being sold in the same place as tobacco and alcohol, as well as on consumption in cars or parks.
Marijuana Laws Will Vary in the Different Territories
Adults 19 and over will be able to buy and consume recreational cannabis in all three of the Canadian territories.
In the Northwest Territories, marijuana will be sold through a hybrid model by privately owned liquor stores and government-run e-commerce shops.
The Yukon will regulate all sales through the government. Both of these territories will allow up to four cannabis plants to be grown at home, but landlords can restrict smoking in personal residences.
In Nunavut, home grows will be banned. Government-operated online sales will be the sole source of legal adult-use cannabis as no brick-and-mortar stores are currently planned for the territory.
Do the Provinces Have Enough Time to Prepare for Cannabis Legalization?
Oct. 17 marks a date that will bring an end to a 95-year ban on recreational marijuana consumption in Canada. Are the provinces prepared for the accompanying societal, economic and legal changes?
Initial proposals set cannabis legalization for 12 weeks after Bill C-45 passed, but Trudeau has decided that 17 weeks is a more appropriate timeline. The fact remains that some provinces are far ahead of others in getting ready for marijuana legalization. We’ll have to see which ones are able to rise to the occasion, while others struggle to play catch-up when Oct. 17 rolls around .
Photo credit: Cannabis Culture