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When Was Cannabis Legalized In Canada?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is one of the most commonly used substances in Canada, with nearly half of the country's population reporting having used it at some point in their lives. On October 17, 2018, the Canadian government legalized the production, sale, distribution, and possession of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes by adults aged 18 and up. Marijuana use for medical purposes is already legal.

The Canadian Parliament legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Bill C-45, also known as The Cannabis Act. This Act went into effect on October 30, 2018.

About the Cannabis Act

Through its strict legal framework, the Cannabis Act regulates the production, sale, possession, and distribution of marijuana across Canada. The cannabis regulatory system is overseen by the territorial, provincial, and federal governments. The federal government is obligated to establish strict rules and requirements for cannabis producers and manufacturers, as well as industry-wide standards, such as:

  • Good production practices

  • Types of marijuana products available for sale

  • The potency of the product and standardized serving sizes

  • Packaging and labeling requirements

  • Restrictions on promotional activities

  • Tracking cannabis requirements from cultivation to distribution to keep it out of the illegal market

These restrictions aim to accomplish three main public health goals:

  • Prevent the young hands of children and youth from accessing marijuana

  • Prevent criminal activity by keeping profits out of the pockets of criminals

  • Protect the health and safety of the general public by allowing adults access to legal cannabis

Here is how the Cannabis Act regulates the use of cannabis in Canada.

Protecting Youth

The Canadian Cannabis Act includes several safeguards to prevent children under the age of 18 from gaining access to cannabis. These limitations include:

Age Restriction

It is illegal under the Cannabis Act to sell or provide cannabis to anyone under the age of 18. If you sell marijuana to a minor or use them to commit a marijuana-related crime, you could face up to 14 years in prison.

Advertising and promotion restrictions: The Cannabis Act discourages youth cannabis use by prohibiting:

  • Developing fancy or cool cannabis products that appeal to young people

  • Using packaging or labels that appeal to youth

  • Selling cannabis through vending machines or self-service displays

  • Promoting or advertising cannabis in areas or platforms where young people can see the promotion

If you break these rules, you could go to jail for up to three years or pay a $5 million fine.

Protecting the Public’s Health

The Cannabis Act protects both marijuana user's and non-users public health by establishing strict safety and quality regulations. The federal government has imposed some restrictions in this regard, including:


Adults over the age of 18 can legally possess no more than 30 grams (1 oz) of legal cannabis, either dried or in its non-dried form, in public. Equivalents have been developed for other cannabis products to determine what the possession limit should be:

One gram of dried cannabis is equivalent to:

  • 1 marijuana plant seed

  • 5 grams of the fresh cannabis

  • 70 grams in liquid form

  • 0.25 grams of concentrates (liquid or solid)

This means that anyone of legal age can legally own 150 grams of fresh marijuana.

Where to use

Cannabis can be consumed anywhere tobacco products are permitted, but not in boats or motor vehicles. Cannabis possession is prohibited in the following locations:

  • On hospital grounds

  • At and near schools

  • At child care centers

  • In enclosed workplaces

  • In and near children's playgrounds

  • On City property such as beaches, arenas, city parks, pools, buses, transit stations, and recreational centers

  • In common areas of condominiums, apartment buildings, and college or university residences, such as the laundry rooms, elevators, hallways, and entertainment rooms

Landlords, cooperative housing boards, and condominium boards may impose additional restrictions on cannabis use while on their property.

Production distribution and selling of legal cannabis

  • Where can I buy legal cannabis? Only adults over the age of 18 are permitted to purchase fresh or dried cannabis, as well as cannabis oil. Only a provincially licensed retailer can sell legal cannabis. The sale of legal cannabis is regulated by the provincial government. Those who live in provinces or territories where there is no legal retailer can purchase marijuana from licensed producers online.

  • Can I plant my own cannabis? Yes. Cannabis plant cultivation, on the other hand, is only legal for people over the age of 18. Furthermore, cannabis can only be grown from licensed seeds or seedlings. Each household is permitted to grow up to four plants for personal use only.

  • Can I make Cannabis byproducts: People over the age of 18 can make cannabis byproducts at home, such as food and drinks, as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products.

Public education on cannabis legalization

The Canadian government has made significant investments in marijuana public education and other awareness activities. These programs attempt to teach people, particularly young people, how to use cannabis safely and the health risks associated with its misuse.

Reducing Criminal Activity

Even after cannabis was legalized in Canada, the illicit market remained active. To curb this, federal and provincial governments have set strict rules and regulations targeting those acting outside the legal framework, like retailers selling cannabis illegally or cannabis users caught in drug-impaired driving. Penalties are proportionate to the gravity of the crime committed. Minor offenses may result in a warning letter or a ticket. For more serious offenses, you may face felony charges or even imprisonment.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes

Medical cannabis is governed by a different set of rules than recreational cannabis. The production, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis are all regulated by the federal government. The current medical cannabis regime will be maintained for those who have received authorization from their healthcare provider.

Need Legal Cannabis in Ottawa, Ontario?

Munchies Cannabis is an independent, family-owned cannabis retailer authorized to sell cannabis in the Ottawa region. Our goal is to bring you the best legal product, educate you, and create a fun, friendly, and positive environment for cannabis users. For all of your cannabis needs, please visit our store or contact us.

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