The legalities of selling used cannabis smoking accessories in Canada

Published Mar 31, 2019 10:20 a.m. ET
Canadian Press, Damian Dovarganes

One of the most frequently asked questions about cannabis tools and devices is whether or not it is legal to resell one, and if the condition matters at all. With legal marijuana now being accessible it will likely become a lot more socially acceptable to sell weed related gear, but is it legal? Well, that’s where things get a bit tricky. We are currently in the middle of a transitional point, so it is critical to be aware of how these rules might affect you in future exchanges and purchases. Here we will explain how and when those changes will happen and try our best to answer any questions that you might have about the legality of cannabis accessories.

The law

Long before marijuana legalization was even widely recognized as a possibility shortly, there was always plenty of head shops and convenience stores that sold a wide variety of cannabis smoking devices like bongs, vape pens, dry herb vaporizers, weed pipes, and grinders to the general public. The laws surrounding the sales of these products have been slightly altered in a few different ways over the years, which has led to some confusion over the legality of selling these kinds of products. In 1988 it became illegal to sell tools and accessories meant for cannabis consumption.

The challenge

The introduction of the law that made it a criminal offence to sell either new or used paraphernalia was overruled in 1992 in a court of law when the charges were challenged by Umberto Lorfida who is the director of the CORML (the Canadian branch of Organization for the Reform Marijuana Laws). The charges were based on a tip about pro-cannabis materials which triggered a raid on his home. His lawyers argued that the interrogation violated his rights according to the Charter which expressly allowsfor freedom of expression. Since then, the laws themselves have remained on the books, but have been rarely enforced in recent years. It might sound strange that the Canadian government has yet to update these regulations, but there has been an announcement that suggests there will be a stricter screening of these activities in the future.

FAQ’s

  1. Is it legal to sell cannabis paraphernalia now?
    The laws that regulate cannabis tools and accessories for the moment remain the same. What this means is that technically you could face a small fine of up to 150 and confiscation of your rig under current laws, but the chances of that happening are incredibly slim since they are rarely enforced.

  2. Does it matter if my bong, dry herb vaporizer, vape pen, dab rig, or weed pipe is brand new?
    Most people are worried about the remaining residue that is left in the device affecting the legal status of selling it. Though at one time law enforcement would actively look for used tools to lay charges, now that marijuana is legal there is little concern over a bit of resin.

  3. If I do sell my bong is there anything that I should worry about?
    The most prevalent incidents that involve charges for selling or buying marijuana smoking devices stem from underage persons obtaining them. If you do choose to sell your rig, be sure it is to someone who is of legal age to be consuming cannabis in the first place. If you are unsure of the legal age of consumption in your province, then check out your regional laws before posting an advertisement.

New regulations

Now that legal marijuana is an option, it makes sense that consumers will require access to devices like bongs, papers, dab rigs, weed pipes, and vaporizers. Bill C-35 that has been added to the federal Cannabis Act includes very specificrules surrounding how marijuana tools and accessories can be displayed, packaged, and marketed. Below you will find a few of the changes we should come to expect come April 1, 2019. Head shops are likely going to be looking entirely different than anything that is considered to be standard today.

  1. Definition of cannabis accessory- Anything that is meant to be used in the consumption of marijuana including grinders, pipes, bongs, vaporizers, wraps, and rolling papers.
  2. Cannabis accessories will no longer be packaged or labelled in any way that might appeal to children.
  3. Cannabis accessories may not be endorsed by alcohol manufacturing companies.
  4. Cannabis accessories will no longer be decorated with pictures of people, characters, or animals including both real and fictional.
  5. Cannabis accessories may not be branded in any way that glamorizes marijuana use or a particular lifestyle.
  6. Cannabis accessories will no longer be displayed in any matter that children may be exposed to.
  7. Cannabis accessory sales will require age verification.

In conclusion

If you are still unclear as to whether it is legal to purchase or sell and marijuana smoking tool or device, then you are not alone. It seems that for the past while and for now there has been very little for enforcement of any currently active laws prohibiting the sales of such accessories. If you have an extra piece that you’d like to make a few bucks off of there are a few tips you should follow to play it as safe as possible.

  1. Always clean the marijuana accessory before making an exchange. We do realize that not all rigs can be brought back to like new condition, but do our best to remove as much remaining resin as possible.
  2. Age verification. When you are selling a used or preowned bong or other cannabis smoking device than you need to be sure that the customer is of legal age to consume marijuana.
  3. Always travel with the marijuana tool or accessory well out of reach either in the trunk or back seat to avoid being pulled over and accused of smoking while driving.

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