Marijuana Laws and Policies in Canada 2021
Oh, how amazing it feels to be in Canada. Here, we have one of the most progressive and highly developed cannabis scenes in the whole world! Often regarded as a stronghold for all pot smokers and avid cannabis fans, the culture of Canada has been greatly impacted by the presence and accessibility to marijuana.
The marijuana scene that we have in the Great White North makes it is also one of the main reasons why so many people come over here!
Cannabis in Canada is legal for both medical and adult use! As the second country to achieve cannabis legalization at a federal level (behind Uruguay), you can pretty much live the marijuana dream here in this country. While each of the provinces in Canada provide their own rules and policies, the country itself does mandate a set of general rules to follow! Let us see just how open the regulations of Canada are with regards to weed.
History of Cannabis in Canada
The discipline and willingness of the citizens in Canada to cooperate with restrictions and limits is very beneficial. Because of it, there were very minimal conflicts with cannabis legalization. And while there was no official decriminalization of marijuana possession within its borders, enforcements regarding weed were actually very tolerable!
But like all other parts of the world, cannabis was illegal in Canada. This trend, which was starting to spread during the early years of the 20th Century, was the result of the Opium Act during 1908. A few years later, in 1923, cannabis products such as marijuana were officially labeled as a dangerous drug and were prohibited from use and production across the whole world.
Moreover, even the production of hemp, which was classified as a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis, was also banned in 1938.
During the early years of cannabis criminalization, citizens effectively abided by the rules and standards set forth in the nation as to the use of cannabis. Up until the 1960s, there were little reports of substance abuse connected to marijuana. However, in the years that followed, there was a dramatic increase in the illegal use and possession of weed.
From having virtually no criminal cases linked to illegal cannabis activities, the 1970s saw well over 10,000 cases of illegal use and possession of marijuana! As a means to mitigate this, the Canadian government sought to decriminalize marijuana in 1972. However, the bill that aimed to do so never materialized due to the lack of proper organization and management.
Legalization of recreational and medical cannabis:
Medical marijuana was legalized in the year 2001. The bill which was called the Marijuana For Medical Purposes Regulations (and later changed to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations in 2016) prioritized the establishment of an official medical marijuana program which Canadian citizens could use to the benefit of their health and lifestyles. From 2001 up to the present date, millions of Canadian residents have been given easy access to cannabis as an alternative to traditional medicines and therapy.
Recreational cannabis, on the other hand, was made legal throughout the whole country of Canada on October 17, 2018. This effectively made it the second country to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana at a federal level. The historical achievement authorized residents in every province of Canada to legally use, possess, purchase, and distribute cannabis in the country.
However, each province was entitled to limit and control the cannabis scene within their areas as they saw fit. The law Cannabis Act (C-45) also permits the cultivation of marijuana for medical and adult use, regardless if it is for personal or commercial reasons.
Where is Cannabis Legal in Canada?
Because the Cannabis Act is a law that applies at a federal and national level, every province in Canada is permitted to set their own rules regarding marijuana activities. As such, it is not surprising to know that the major provinces and cities in the country have been able to establish high regulated yet very accessible cannabis industries.
These are made available to both residents and tourists alike, making Canada a hot spot for cannabis tourism. There are numerous events and festivals that celebrate cannabis legalization which includes award shows, concerts, marijuana taste tests, and many more.
Provinces with some prominent active cannabis scenes include: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, and Ontario.
The 2016 amendment which changed the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulation to the Access to Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulation implemented numerous reforms to the initial program. The bill allowed patients to cultivate their own weed seeds and grow their own cannabis supplies.
Under the medical program, patients must first provide a proper prescription given by a licensed physician that states they are diagnosed with a qualified condition. Nurses attending to patients may also recommend and prescribe the use of medical marijuana for their use.
The qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use if split into two main categories. Category 1 provides for conditions which are deemed as severe, debilitating, and terminal. These include seizures and epileptic conditions, cancer, HIV/AIDS, injuries in the central nervous system, and chronic/debilitating pain.
Category 2, on the other hand, deals with any condition not included in Category 1 but may qualify for the medical marijuana program based on a doctor’s judgement.
General Medical Marijuana Laws
Canadian residents who wish to make use of medical marijuana must be at least 18 years old and above in order to qualify as a patient. Those who wish to apply for the position of caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and must also comply with all the requirements and documentation before being able to register under the medical marijuana program.
Medical patients are given a certain daily prescription by attending physicians. The possession limits are set to 30 times this prescribed amount, which should last up to a month’s worth of supplies. The maximum amount, however, is set to 150 grams.
The amount of cannabis plants that patients are allowed to cultivate is based on the amount of cannabis that is prescribed to them. Every gram prescribed allows up to five flowering plants indoors or two flowering plants outdoors.
National Laws and Policies
According to national laws, each province in Canada is allowed to set their own set of rules and regulations. However, there are general policies governing cannabis use and consumption in the country. For one, the legal age for recreational and adult use is normally set to 19 years old. However, Quebec sets its minimum age requirement to 21 years old whereas Alberta allows those who are 18 years old to use recreational marijuana.
The possession and purchasing limits of marijuana in Canada is generally set to 30 grams at a given time/per transaction. The costs of marijuana products (such as marijuana buds, oils, extracts, edibles, and topicals) will mainly depend on the distributors in the province.
As a general rule, people are allowed to smoke and consume cannabis wherever tobacco consumption is allowed! Incidentally, anywhere that prohibits tobacco and cigarette smoking will also most likely ban cannabis consumption. Most places that house large volumes of crowds such as schools and public malls are almost certain to ban cannabis use within its premises!
However, Canada’s provinces and cities are actually known to have establishments that allow on-site smoking. Places such as smoking lunges, cannabis cafes, and even marijuana-freindly hotels are scattered all across the country! It is all just a matter of finding them.
Lastly, we have cannabis cultivation. The law states that growers for personal use are authorized to cultivate up to four (4) cannabis plants per household. Additionally, these plants must be limited to one meter in height. Many provinces also implement their own rules regarding this topic. For example, the province of Quebec disallows residents to cultivate their own cannabis plants.
The citizens of Canada, through all its efforts and resilience, now enjoy the benefits of both medical and recreational cannabis. As a country that fully recognizes the benefits that come with marijuana use and consumption, marijuana lovers from all around the world regularly flock to these parts in order to enjoy the weed scenes there!
All the different provinces and cities in Canada have some things to give in terms of cannabis. As a country rich with marijuana sources, you’re bound to have a field day exploring all the different weed destinations here!