Understanding Ontario’s marijuana laws and potential changes

Understanding Ontario’s marijuana laws and potential changes

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in Criminal Defence on Monday April 23, 2018.

Since each province will ultimately be responsible for establishing its own rules, things could especially be confusing in cities and areas that are located on the borders of multiple provinces. Some speculate that cross-border trips might become frequent if marijuana laws are much less restrictive in a neighboring province.

Current laws and possible future regulations in Ontario

It appears that Quebec and Alberta plan to set 18 as the legal age to purchase marijuana while other provinces will likely only allow individuals of 19 and older to buy it. Under current federal law, each residence may grow four cannabis plants, but each province or territory must decide on what is and what isn’t allowed during the cultivation process. The following regulations may control marijuana use in Ontario:

  • Age restrictions: Ontario is one of the provinces that will not allow you to purchase marijuana if you are younger than 19 years old.
  • Quantity restrictions: If you meet the age limit, you may carry up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with you in public. Anyone who travels to Ontario with cannabis legally purchased in another province may bring along up to 30 grams as well.
  • Product restrictions: Under federal laws, stores may sell marijuana only in the form of dried or fresh weed, seeds, plants, and oil. Future changes may allow the sales of other edibles and concentrates.
  • Retail restrictions: Only the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. will sell marijuana products in stores across the province. The prices will be the same in all, and they will have the same business hours as liquor stores. However, you will be able to make online purchases, which will involve identity checks and personal receipts with signatures.
  • Consumption restrictions: These rules are yet to be final, and Ontario is still evaluating input from authorities and the public. The future laws could potentially ban consuming cannabis in public, leaving it legal in places that allow cigarette smoking. Smoking or vaped marijuana will likely be allowed in certain private homes, parked vehicles and boats, designated smoking rooms, and more.
  • Cultivation restrictions: Although users of medical marijuana may already grow different numbers of marijuana plants, as a recreational user, current laws limit you to produce no more than four plants, and no changes are expected.

Legal issues may increase

Until Ontario’s new marijuana laws are all in place, there might be confusion about the smaller details such as smoking marijuana while out walking or sitting in a park. Also, after the implementation of any new laws this summer, there will be a potential for a myriad of disputes between law enforcement and the public. Therefore, whether you were using, growing, selling or buying marijuana, protecting your rights if any legal issues should arise could be invaluable to your future best interests.

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