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Cannabis Laws in Canada

On October 17, 2018, Canada has officially legalized the use of recreational cannabis, thus making the Great White North, the first-ever G7 nation to officially announce the legalization of marijuana.

The Cannabis Act gained Royal Assent on June 21, 2018, after a protracted approval process in both the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada. This solidified Canada’s legalization intentions.

With tight laws and regulations in place for the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis products in Canada, the Cannabis Act establishes the legal foundation for the country’s cannabis business. Canada has set three key goals for marijuana legalization: minimizing negative effects on adolescents, combating illicit market operations, and ensuring public health and safety through legal access to the plant.

The federal, provincial, and territorial governments all had a hand in developing the rules and regulations that regulate legal cannabis.

The federal government was in charge of developing industry-wide norms and standards, while provincial and territory governments were in charge of developing and executing enforcement frameworks to regulate cannabis sales and distribution in their respective areas. Provincial and territory governments were also given the authority to change some sections of federal law and add safety measures as they saw necessary. As a result, cannabis regulations differ slightly among the country’s provinces and territories.

Here’s a brief overview of what each level of government is responsible for based on the legal framework for the weed laws in Canada.

Federal Government

  • What are the requirements that cannabis growers, processors, and manufacturers must meet
  • The rules and standards that are being implemented in the country, which includes:
    • Types of products that can be sold
    • Requirements for seed-to-sale monitoring
    • Restrictions on serving sizes and product potency
    • Cannabis product packaging regulations
    • Cannabis product labelling regulations
    • Recognizing ingredients that are prohibited
    • Best practices for production
    • Constrictions on cannabis marketing and promotions

Territorial and Provincial Governments

  • Raising the age of legalization for recreational cannabis
  • Adding additional rules to home cultivation
  • Possession limits are being lowered
  • Limiting the locations where persons of legal age can consume cannabis

Because the rules in each province or territory differ slightly, it’s always a wise decision to do your research before travelling to new locations and consuming cannabis.

Federal Cannabis

With tight laws and regulations in place for the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis products in Canada, the Cannabis Act establishes the legal foundation for the country’s cannabis business.

Age Restrictions

Adults who are 18 years of age or older are legally authorized to acquire, consume, and purchase cannabis, subject to provincial regulations.


Adults of legal age will be allowed to lawfully possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis or its equivalent in other cannabis products. Adults of legal age will also be able to share up to 30 grams of marijuana with other adults of legal age. Adults over the age of 18 will be able to keep up to 30 cannabis seeds and grow up to four cannabis plants per household. 

Product parity

Adults of legal age will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, whether in dry form or similar in other cannabis products, as previously indicated.

The following are the equivalencies for cannabis products in Canada:

A gram of dried cannabis is equivalent to:

  •  5 grams of fresh marijuana
  •  0.25-gram cannabis concentrates (solid or liquid)
  • edibles weighing 15 grams
  • 70 grams of liquid ingredients
  • 1 marijuana seed

Adults over the age of 18 can lawfully buy up to 30 grams of dry cannabis or the equivalent from provincially registered retail outlets. 

Consumers in provinces lacking retail structures can legally acquire cannabis online from federally licensed producers.

Types of Products

Only dry cannabis and cannabis oil were available for public purchase when countrywide legalization took effect on October 17, 2018. Cannabis foods, beverages, and vapable concentrates are officially legal in Canada as of December 17, 2019.

Adults of legal age can prepare their cannabis consumables like foods and drinks at home, provided that they can’t use solvents to make concentrates or other concentrated goods.


Cannabis use is allowed in private residences across the country, but provinces and territories have the authority to limit where cannabis can be consumed (for example, in public areas or motor vehicles), so be careful to check the regulations before indulging in a location that is not your own home.


Adults aged 18 and above are permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants per dwelling under the Cannabis Act (not per person). Cannabis must also be cultivated from seeds or seedlings obtained from a licensed source.

Publicity and Promotion of Cannabis

Canada has developed stringent restrictions regarding recreational cannabis advertising and marketing. These limits are identical to those imposed on the tobacco industry in Canada, and they will be applied across the board.


Bringing cannabis over Canada’s borders is strictly prohibited, and anyone caught will face harsh penalties, including prison.

Driving While Intoxicated

Impaired driving is severely punished in Canada, and there is special regulation regarding drug-impaired driving. In Canada, driving while under the influence of cannabis is extremely prohibited, and violators may face license suspension, car confiscation, fines, and/or prison time.

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