Marijuana is Legal in Canada, With Some Limitations

As of October 17, 2018, cannabis (i.e. marijuana) is now legal across the country. However, the Cannabis Act has created a strict framework that governs possession, production, sale, and distribution of marijuana, and does provide some limitations.

Marijuana: What Is Legal?

In general, adults (in Ontario, aged 19 or older) can legally:

  • Possess up to 30 grams of cannabis (approximately 1 ounce) in public (this includes marijuana in both dried and non-dried form);
  • Share up to 30 grams of cannabis (approximately 1 ounce) with other adults (in Ontario, 19 or older);
  • Buy dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, or cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer (in Ontario, the Ontario Cannabis Store or another designated and licensed retailer);
  • Grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use (the plants must come from licensed seeds or seedlings);
  • Make edible cannabis products at home so long as organic solvents are not used to create “concentrated” products.

Cannabis Criminal Penalties

Despite cannabis being legal in the above circumstances, penalties continue to attach to the following:

Offence Penalties
Possession over the limit
  • tickets for small amounts
  • up to 5 years in jail
Illegal distribution or sale
  • tickets for small amounts
  • up to 14 years in jail
Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits or with combustible solvents
  • tickets for small amounts
  • up to 14 years in jail
Taking cannabis across Canada’s borders
  • up to 14 years in jail
Giving or selling cannabis to a person under 19 (in Ontario)
  • up to 14 years in jail
Using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence
  • up to 14 years in jail

The consequences of a conviction for a marijuana-related offence go beyond criminal sanctions. Having such a conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from travelling to certain countries (including the U.S.), being considered for certain jobs and applying for citizenship.

If you have been charged with marijuana possession, it is in your best interest to contact the lawyers at Hicks Adams as soon as possible. Our lawyers will discuss possible defence options with you, including your eligibility for “diversion” out of the criminal justice system (also known as “alternative measures”). If you are accepted to be “diverted,” your charges will be dropped once you fulfill certain conditions, such as performing community service work or obtaining counselling. If diversion is not an option in your case, our lawyers will mount a strong defence against your charges.

Where Can I Use Marijuana?

Marijuana can only be used in the same places that tobacco can be smoked, and cannot be used in places where tobacco is banned.

Marijuana can be used in:

  • Private residences;
  • Certain outdoor public spaces;
  • Designated smoking rooms in hotels and motels;
  • Scientific research/testing facilities;
  • Designated areas in long-term care facilities, some retirement homes, supportive housing, and other similar facilities.

Marijuana cannot be used in:

  • Enclosed public places;
  • Enclosed work places (or at all in workplaces, depending on employer policy);
  • In schools, on school grounds, in child care centres or early years programs, on children’s playgrounds, and in other places where children gather;
  • Any public areas within 20 metres of where children gather;
  • Hospitals, hospices, care homes, and other such facilities;
  • Restaurants, bars, patios, and public areas within 9 metres of a patio;
  • Reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations;
  • Sheltered outdoor areas (e.g. bus shelters).

If you are caught using marijuana in any of these prohibited spaces, you can be fined up to $1,000 for a first offence, and $5,000 for repeat offences.

Experienced Toronto Criminal Lawyers Successfully Defending against Marijuana-Related Charges

The criminal lawyers at Hicks Adams deal with drug-related offences on a regular basis. We are consistently up to date with Canada’s changing cannabis laws and on how courts have been treating marijuana-related offences in the wake of legalization.  As one of the largest criminal law firms in Canada, our lawyers have the resources required to launch a robust defence against marijuana and other drug-related offences.

If you have been charged with a Cannabis-Related Offence, contact our Criminal Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Our experienced Toronto criminal defence lawyers can advise you on the current state of the law in regard to marijuana-related offences and mount a fearless defence against your charges. Call us at 416-975-1700 or send us an email for a free consultation.