Cannabis laws in Canada: The complete province-by-province guide

What will the life of cannabis lovers be like this fall? Use this guide to get educated about recreational cannabis laws in Canada.

This summer, the federal government in Ottawa approved Bill C-45, a law that legalizes recreational use of cannabis in all provinces.

However, the federal government only determined a very broad set of rules, and it will be up to the provinces and municipalities to work around those rules and create a functional system.

So, there are some things that the federal government decided, but they’ve also left room for the provincial governments to tweak those same rules towards their preferences.

Seeing how provinces are allowed to amend even some of the federal rules to their own according, let us get a bit deeper into the specific rules of each province.

The only two things in common for all provinces is that they will maintain the federal possession limit of up to 30g of dried flower (or an equivalent) and ban consumption in vehicles.

Cannabis laws in British Columbia

British Columbia has always had a fairly liberal view towards cannabis and, going into this legalization, things in BC haven’t changed a bit.

BC already has a system of established stores and the government has voted in favor of keeping the current cannabis infrastructure and will work to build and improve it in the future.

Minimum age:19
Retail model:Private retail stores will be allowed, online sales will be controlled by the government.
Number of retail locations:No cap on the number of licenses.
Distribution and wholesale:Will be done through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
Home cultivation:Up to 4 plants, hidden from street view. Landlords will have the power to forbid growing cannabis in rental properties. No pot growing in daycares and assisted living homes.
Public consumption:Only where tobacco can be smoked, but not where children are present (beaches, parks, and playgrounds).

Cannabis laws in Alberta

Alberta opted into a very similar system. British Columbia and its weed laws may have rubbed off on Alberta.

The main difference is that the government in Alberta explicitly forbids smoking cannabis near areas with kids.

Age:18
Retail model:Private retail stores will be allowed, online sales will be controlled by the government.
Number of retail locations:Initially estimated at 250 stores in the first year.
Distribution and wholesale:Directly managed by the AGLC.
Home cultivation:Up to 4 plants per household.
Public consumption:Only where tobacco can be smoked, but not where children are present (beaches, parks, and playgrounds).

Cannabis laws in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is one of the provinces that will most likely completely ban smoking cannabis outdoors and their plan hasn’t deviated too much from the federal government’s plan at all. However, there will be a large number of dispensaries and an overall easier access to cannabis than in Ontario, its neighboring province.

The major difference between Saskatchewan and other provinces is that it will have a privately owned distribution system which will be regulated by provincial authorities.

Sask was also the last province to announce its cannabis legalization plan.

Age19
Retail model:Private retail stores will be allowed, as well as private online sales.
Number of retail locations:51 successful applicants as of June 1st, 2018.
Distribution and wholesalePrivate, but regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
Home cultivationLimit of four cannabis plants per household.
Public consumptionThe province is laying down rules that will prohibit consumption of pot in public places, like schools and daycares, citing public health concerns.

Cannabis laws in Manitoba

Manitoba is the first province on our list not to have online sales. It will also forbid growing cannabis at home to its residents — something no other province decided to do so far.

At first look it may seem like Manitoba is in line with most other provinces, but it really isn’t.

Public consumption of recreational cannabis in Manitoba will be heavily restricted as well.

Age19
Retail model: Private retail stores will be allowed, as well as private online sales.
Number of retail locations:So far only 28 announced stores.
Distribution and wholesaleCannabis supply will be handled by the Liquor and Lotteries Corporation.
Home cultivation:Not allowed.
Public consumption:Smoking or vaping cannabis won’t be allowed on streets, school grounds, parks, beaches or restaurant patios. It will also be banned in most indoor public areas, with some exceptions such as palliative care units in hospitals.

Cannabis laws in Ontario

If we were to rank provinces, Ontario would come in the middle of the board. Not too many freedoms, but not as many restrictions either.

Cannabis rules in Ontario are acceptable for regular smokers but don’t expect anything big. In fact, expect a huge shortage in the first few months as the province will open only 40 stores by the summer.

The provincial government has announced 150 locations within its borders, but we’ll have to wait until 2020 to see if this promise comes to life.

Age:19
Retail model:Private retail stores will be allowed, online sales will be controlled by the government.
Number of retail stores:No cap on the number of retail stores.
Distribution and wholesale:Cannabis distribution will be controlled by Ontario Cannabis Store, a subsidiary of the Ontario LCBO.
Home cultivation:Up to 4 plants per household indoors.
Public consumption:Same rules as for smoking tobacco.

Cannabis laws in Quebec

Quebec approached this legalization in a way that was very confusing at first, but after looking at it for a minute you realize that the whole system is set up so that the province makes the most money out of this legalization.

Quebec will also have online sales similarly to BC, Alberta and other provinces we covered so far (except for Ontario), but with a twist. Seeing how all the provinces which plan on selling cannabis online will have a private model, the twist here is that the government will control all sales in the provinces — both online and on the ground.

Lower age, higher possession limit, both online and on the ground sales, and most importantly growing at home won’t be allowed — this is optimizing an industry through laws at its finest.

Age:18
Retail model:Retail stores and online sales will be controlled by the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC).
Number of retail stores:20 stores at first, market to determine the number of stores going forward.
Distribution and wholesale:Controlled by the provincial government.
Home cultivation:Not allowed.
Public consumption:Law will restrict smoking marijuana to places where smoking cigarettes is legal. Consumption on school and university campuses is forbidden.

Cannabis laws in Newfoundland and Labrador

The most eastern province in the country is mostly in line with the federal rules.

However, the cannabis system being implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador does have one interesting change when compared to other systems.

Sales will be done through private stores making a profit only on commission, and they will be controlled by the provincial government.

Age:19
Retail model:The sale of cannabis will be done through private retailers licensed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation. Online sales controlled by the government.
Number of retail stores:24 applicants so far.
Distribution and wholesale:Will be controlled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).
Home cultivation:4 plants per household.
Public consumption:Public consumption will be restricted to private residences only.

Cannabis laws in New Brunswick

Aside from siding with the federal government on each and everything related to the cannabis system being implemented, the NB government also added a special clause of their own.

The special clause includes restriction of smoking cannabis in the vicinity of schools as users will have to stay at least 300 meters away from the educational institutions.

Age:19
Retail model:Government-run specialized stores on the ground. Online sales of recreational cannabis in New Brunswick will be controlled by the government as well.
Number of retail locations:20 government-run locations.
Distribution and wholesale:Will be run by the Cannabis Management Corporation.
Home cultivationLUp to 4 plants per household inside a separate, locked space. Outdoor growing allowed in locked enclosures at least 1.52m high.
Public consumptionOnly on private property and in private residences with the consent of occupant or owner.

Cannabis laws in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia didn’t drift too far from the “classic government model” with online sales, and every other aspect controlled by the provincial government.

In fact, the model being implemented in Nova Scotia is very similar to the one being set up in Prince Edwards Island. Seeing how they are neighboring, it is not really a surprise.

This system is fairly liberal as it allows for both online and on-the-ground stores, as well as home growing  4 non-medical cannabis plants.

The only thing left unsaid about the cannabis system in Nova Scotia is the public consumption laws, which are yet to be determined.

Age:19
Retail model:Retail stores and online sales will be controlled by the Nova Scotia government
Number of retail locations:12 locations so far. Possible co-location with existing liquor stores, but in a separate area.
Distribution and wholesale:Will be done through Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.
Home cultivation:Up to 4 plants per household inside. Landlords will have the power to restrict home growing.
Public consumption:No smoking or vaping in restricted places, according to the Smoke-free Places Act.

Cannabis laws in Prince Edward Island

The cannabis laws in Prince Edward Island are very fair when compared to other more restrictive systems being implemented in, let’s say Quebec or Manitoba.

The only major difference in PEI’s cannabis plan is that they will be the second province to allow consumption and access to those aged 18 and over, instead of 19 and over.

Age19
Retail model:Retail stores and online sales will be controlled by the PEI government.
Number of retail locations:There will be 4 stores for the whole provinces (Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and West Prince will each have one location).
Distribution and wholesale:Controlled by PEI Cannabis.
Home cultivation:Up to 4 plants per household indoors, but must be inaccessible to kids, and with landlord’s approval.
Public consumption:Only on private property and in private residences. Possible designed spaces in the future.

 

1 thought on “Cannabis laws in Canada: The complete province-by-province guide”

  1. I have a greenhouse and want to help people with medical needs who can not afford cannabis ,,, if I clone the plants , is there a limit of how many I can have … is there a height restriction ( of the plant ) that would exceed from the 4 plants , that each household is restricted too.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Please confirm your age

Are you over 19 years of age (over 18 in Alberta and Quebec)?

By entering, you agree to Greencamp's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

×