The Cannabis Act is a federal law, which means that it would cover all parts of Canada, and would allow recreational and medical cannabis use for all Canadians. There are times, however, when provinces, territories and municipalities would be able to overturn one of more provisions, making implementation of the new act more or less fragmented and a lot less uniform.
However, these territories, municipalities and provinces play an important role in implementing the cannabis regulation and legalization. They can take responsibility for the development, implementation, maintenance and enforcement of different systems for the distribution and sale of marijuana.
They can also enact their own laws that would improve on the Cannabis Act. These laws can increase the minimum age of use, lower the possession limit, and even impose more restrictions on personal cultivation of marijuana plants at home. They could also come up with zoning restrictions where cannabis businesses would only be allowed in certain zones, or prohibiting the public use of cannabis in certain areas.
Territories and provinces will also be left on their own to decide whether you would be allowed to consume marijuana in public places such as bars and cafes or at festivals. Municipalities are also seen as a very important partner in implementing the Cannabis Act. They will be tasked to enforce local zoning, building standards, and other aspects of the law.
Zoning. The Cannabis Act leaves it to provinces and territories to decide if they need to change zoning regulations so that the cultivation and sale of cannabis may not happen in areas near schools, and those areas where there are a lot of children.
Can you bring cannabis from one province or territory to another? Under the federal law, there are no restrictions in bringing cannabis from one province or territory to another. You can transport marijuana no matter where you go. You must, however, respect the local laws, especially the minimum age for possessing cannabis in the territory or province you are in.
The Canadian government will work closely with municipalities, territories and provinces when it comes to trading non-medical cannabis. It will also look into how the new regulations would affect the country’s territorial and provincial partners as far as the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
What the provinces are doing
- Most provinces require a higher minimum age of use: 19 years old. Only Quebec and Alberta allow 18 year olds to toke.
- All territories are served by dispensaries and retailers that are operated by the Canadian government, while some territories also have privately owned retailers where you could buy legal cannabis. Some provinces that are not giving out licenses or still do not have private retailers include New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon.
- Most territories and provinces allow you to grow up to four marijuana plants at home. But Manitoba, Nunavut and Quebec are prohibiting personal cultivation.
- Also, you can generally smoke and consume cannabis in the privacy of your own home or on private property. Some provinces, however, allow you to consume cannabis in public, such as Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.
- Nova Scotia and Quebec, you can smoke cannabis in areas where tobacco smoking is allowed. In the Northwest Territories, you can smoke in public spaces such as parks, as long as these are not used for any public event. You can also go to cannabis lounges in Nunavut.
- Further, while the Cannabis Act allows you to grow marijuana plants or smoke at home, there are provinces that expressly allow landlords to prohibit these activities. These are Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Yukon.
Other things you should know:
- There are no possession limits in Alberta and New Brunswick, as long as you keep your cannabis securely locked. So you can have as many blunts, bottles of CBD oil in your home.
- In Manitoba, retailers are told not to sell to anybody who is already high or drunk. Municipalities are also allowed to ban cannabis stores from opening shop in their jurisdictions.
- A similar move has been initiated in the Northwest Territories, where communities can come up with their own cannabis regulations.
- In Prince Edward Island, you can only grow marijuana in an area where it cannot be accessed by kids.
- Nova Scotia currently has nine confirmed cannabis stores ready to operate, while close to 300 stores are expected to open in Ontario by 2020. In Quebec, six companies have already been operating, giving Quebec at least 62,000 kg of cannabis during the first year of running. Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan, retailer licenses are going to be limited for the first three years of legalization.
- For Yukon, Whitehorse has amended zoning laws so that government run retailers are allowed only in one area: Marwell.