Cannabis is legal in Canada, so why am I being arrested?

Published Sep 6, 2019 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Lumppini

In Canada as of October 17, 2018, you can legally grow up to four cannabis plants and use marijuana products legally. However, there are still some laws and regulations that the average cannabis user needs to be wary of and follow. Failure to follow these laws can land you in trouble with hefty fines and even imprisonment.

As we wait patiently for the second round of legalization to hit Canada, it is still illegal to buy edibles. Here we will show you a list of all currently banned cannabis-related activities to help you to stay safe as you navigate this brand-new world of federal marijuana legalization.

  1. Edibles
    Under the current law, Canadians can consume and make their own edibles thanks to Bill C-45 otherwise called the Cannabis Act. However, Canadians at this time are not permitted to purchase these delicious infused morsels from licensed vendors. The expected release date looms ever closer one year from the first rollout.

  2. Providing marijuana to minors
    You will be charged with a criminal offense if you sell marijuana products of any kind to anyone under the age of 18. Take note, passing a joint to a person under 18 could also leave you held accountable and charged with supplying a minor with marijuana. This offense is punishable with an astounding up to 14 years in a prison

  3. Consuming cannabis in public
    Although marijuana is legal in Canada, provinces have different requirements that need to be adhered to. Residents of Manitoba can only consume the herb in private residences. Other provinces allow you to indulge in public areas, and wherever smoking tobacco is tolerated. Always be aware of your province's laws, as at the municipal level these regulations can change. Check out what the city guidelines are in your area.

  4. Carrying more than 30 grams in public
    Yes, Canadians have the right to store more than 30 grams in their residence, but they are not permitted to travel with more than 30 grams. If you do not follow this limit, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison as per the Cannabis Act.

  5. Driving while impaired
    This is not tolerable and holds the same restrictions that apply to driving under the influence of any narcotic or alcohol substance. Motorists who have a higher reading of 2 nanograms of THC per milliliter within two hours of driving can face a fine or jail time.

  6. Selling marijuana without a license
    Just because you have the right to grow your four plants, doesn’t mean that you can do what you like with those buds. The law prohibits the selling of any of your harvest to friends or family. If you do sell marijuana or infused products to your friends or colleagues, you stand the risk of facing a steep fine or even jail time.

  7. Possessing “illicit” marijuana
    You are allowed to possess cannabis in Canada without any problem unless however the pot that you have was obtained from an illegal source, and not a licensed provider. If you as a grower consume weed in your residence from the cultivation of more than four plants, you have also broken the law and can face a fine or imprisonment for up to five years.

  8. Marijuana on international flights
    Canadians have the privilege of traveling by air on domestic flights in Canada with up to 30 grams. However, if you are crossing an international border, leave your weed at home. Even if you are traveling to a place where marijuana is legal, you cannot pass an international border while in possession of cannabis plant in any form.

  9. Mailing cannabis
    Canada Post willingly allows you to use the service if you are sharing your allotted 30 grams with a friend. Remember that it is illegal for organizations to possess or distribute cannabis without specific and explicit authorization from the provincial government.

  10. Showing off your prized four plants in public
    Even though possession of your plants is legal, traveling with a budding plant is illegal. That is true even if you are moving residence and need to include your plant in that move. When travelling you must always make sure that your plants have no buds on them. If you are caught attempting this budding move, you could be subjected to five years in prison.

So, yes, in Canada, marijuana is legal, but there are still a few restrictions that always accompany the plant, so be careful and follow the law for a safe an enjoyable experience.

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