Canadian Recreational Cannabis Laws by Province and Territory

The legal cultivation and purchasing of cannabis in Canada is no longer a grey area. Cannabis is now legal in Canada, however, there are still a few nuances to consider. Canada is considerably complex and is divided into three main sections; federal, provincial/territorial and municipal. 

Despite Canada’s government legalizing the use of cannabis for recreational use in October 2018, there are certain legislations to adhere to, depending on the territory or province that you’re purchasing from. The country is made up of ten provinces and three territories.

What Are Canada Cannabis Laws by Territory and Province? 

The Canadian federal government is solely responsible for the regulation of cannabis cultivators, processors and distributors. However, it’s up to the provinces and territories to implement the laws for cannabis consumers and retail cannabis stores

It can be a little confusing to understand which laws apply to the different areas of Canada. Don’t worry, we’ve broken them all down for you, so you know where you can legally purchase recreational cannabis and which laws may apply to you.

 

Alberta 

MINIMUM AGE

The minimum age for purchase and possession is 18. Anyone under 18 caught with five grams or less will face sanctions similar to those for underage possession of alcohol or tobacco. Youth found in possession of over five grams continue to be subject to federal criminal charges.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

License suspensions and vehicle seizures that apply to alcohol-impaired driving have been extended to cannabis impairment. There will be zero tolerance for those with a graduated license. Cannabis consumption will not be allowed in vehicles. Police can suspend licenses and seize vehicles if people drive impaired, including impairment by cannabis. 

HOME GROWING

Adults can grow cannabis at home; up to four plants per household (not per person) for personal consumption.  Landlord and tenant agreements or condo bylaws can be used to set rules for consumption and growing.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

AGLC will operate online sales of cannabis products on behalf of government. The only legal place to buy cannabis online is at www.albertacannabis.org.  Purchases at physical stores may only occur with licensed locations. 

POSSESSION

Adults may possess 30 grams at any given time; there will be zero tolerance for youth under the legal age of 18 possessing any cannabis.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Adults may smoke or vape cannabis at home and in some public places, but not in vehicles, any cannabis retail outlets, anywhere smoking or vaping tobacco is already prohibited, or in specific areas frequented by children, including school and hospital properties and within five meters of skate parks, spray parks, and playgrounds.

 

British Columbia    

MINIMUM AGE 

The minimum age for purchase and possession is 19. A minor must not possess, consume, produce, supply, sell, purchase or attempt to purchase cannabis or cannabis accessories. 

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

The use of cannabis on school properties and in vehicles is prohibited by law.

HOME GROWING

The Government of British Columbia has authorized adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property, and home cultivation will be banned in homes used as day-cares.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

Three outlets are available for the purchase of non-medical retail cannabis. Consumers can purchase non-medical retail cannabis via three methods: They can purchase through government issued stores, licensed private retailers, and online through the government’s official online store.

POSSESSION

An adult must not possess in a public place an amount of cannabis that is more than 30 g of dried cannabis, or an amount of cannabis that is equivalent, to 30 g of dried cannabis.

This does not apply to an adult if the cannabis the adult possesses is medical cannabis. The adult must be carrying the prescribed proof of authority to possess medical cannabis, and the amount of medical cannabis the adult possesses is not more than the amount permitted. These regulations do not apply to cannabis that is a cannabis plant.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Regulations prohibit cannabis smoking and vaping everywhere tobacco smoking and vaping are prohibited, as well as at playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, and other places where children commonly gather; .The consumption of cannabis also prohibits the use of cannabis on school properties and in vehicles; 

 

Manitoba 

MINIMUM AGE   

To legally purchase cannabis products in Manitoba, you must be at least 19 years of age. In Manitoba, you may purchase cannabis from licensed cannabis stores and online from licensed cannabis retailers.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Driving under the influence of cannabis is strictly illegal in Manitoba. 

HOME GROWING

It is illegal to grow cannabis plants in your own home in Manitoba.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

In Manitoba, you may purchase cannabis from licensed cannabis stores and online from licensed cannabis retailers.

POSSESSION

Adults may possess up to a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis flower or the equivalent in public. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Consuming cannabis products in public is strictly prohibited in Manitoba.  Smoking and vaping cannabis will be illegal in public places, including:

  • streets and sidewalks
  • parks and beaches, including provincial parks
  • school grounds
  • restaurant patios and decks
  • the grounds of health-care facilities
  • any additional places that may be specified by regulation

Consumers may enjoy cannabis products within their own residences. 

 

New Brunswick 

MINIMUM AGE   

It is now legal for those aged 19 and older to purchase, possess, cultivate and consume cannabis in New Brunswick.  The stores are restricted to people 19 and older and can only sell up to 30 grams of cannabis (or equivalent) to each customer.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Like alcohol, cannabis can cause impairment. It’s illegal to drive while impaired in New Brunswick.

HOME GROWING

People aged 19 and older may grow up to four plants on their own property for their personal use in the Province.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES 

Cannabis NB is the only legal retailer. Cannabis is also available to order online through Cannabis NB. No one under the age of 19 is able to order online or accept online orders. Deliveries are only made within New Brunswick.  All dispensaries are illegal in New Brunswick. Buying cannabis online from any website other than Cannabis NB is also illegal.

POSSESSION

There are no restrictions on how much cannabis you can keep at home.  In the home, cannabis must be kept secured and inaccessible to minors. People aged 19 and older may have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in their possession when outside their home.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

In New Brunswick, consumption of cannabis in any form will be prohibited anywhere but in a private dwelling or on land adjacent to a private dwelling (in your house, in your backyard, etc.). If consuming cannabis in another residence, you must have the permission of the homeowner.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

MINIMUM AGE   

The minimum age to buy or possess cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador is 19 years. Minors caught with cannabis can have the cannabis confiscated by police and may have other penalties imposed on them, like those applicable to having alcohol while underage. Adults providing cannabis to minors could face jail time.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Driving while impaired is dangerous and is a criminal offense.  Drivers found to be impaired while driving will face driver license suspensions, fines, vehicle impoundment and/or time in jail.  In addition, cannabis must be kept in its sealed packaging while being transported in a car. If it is not in its original sealed container, it must not be accessible to anyone in the vehicle (i.e. stored in the trunk).

HOME GROWING

As permitted by federal law, a private dwelling can contain up to four cannabis plants. This is a maximum limit per dwelling, not per person. Having more than four cannabis plants in a private dwelling or possessing a cannabis plant in public that is budding or flowering are criminal offenses.

Cannabis may only be grown indoors at the dwelling house in which a person ordinarily resides or in a secure, adjacent building such as a shed. Growing cannabis outdoors is not permitted.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES 

Non-medical cannabis can only be legally purchased at stores licensed through the Newfoundland and Liquor Corporation (NLC) or online through NLC’s web portal.  There are more than 20 licensed stores spread throughout the province.

POSSESSION

You are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) in a public place.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

You can consume cannabis in a private dwelling or yard attached to a private dwelling. You may be able to consume cannabis in hotel rooms or units in apartment buildings, subject to restrictions that may be imposed by the building owner or operator. Cannabis cannot be consumed in any of the common areas of those buildings.

You may be able to consume cannabis on a rented campsite, subject to restrictions that may be imposed by the park owner or operator. You may be able to consume cannabis in a vehicle that is being used as a temporary or private residence while it is not in motion or on a road.

 

Northwest Territories

MINIMUM AGE   

The legal minimum age to buy, possess or use cannabis is 19, the same as the legal drinking age in the Northwest Territories.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Cannabis use in vehicles will not be allowed and there are penalties for driving while impaired.

HOME GROWING

NWT residents may grow up to four cannabis plants per household – regardless of the number of adults in the home.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES 

People 19 and over can buy cannabis at most NWT Liquor Stores. The NWT Liquor & Cannabis Commission’s website is the only legal option for purchasing cannabis online in the NWT.

POSSESSION

Adults can have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent in public at any time.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Cannabis use is restricted to private property and is prohibited at public events and in public spaces used by children.

 

Nova Scotia

MINIMUM AGE   

19 is the legal age to use, buy, grow or possess cannabis in Nova Scotia. If you’re under 19, you can be fined or face criminal charges.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Cannabis in any form cannot be used in vehicles by passengers or drivers. You may be fined up to $2,000 for consumption in a vehicle.  The rules for transporting cannabis in a vehicle are the same as alcohol. Cannabis must be in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $2,000 for improper storage.

HOME GROWING

Legal age adults can grow up to four cannabis plants per household. Each apartment in a house or building is considered a separate household. Take extra care to grow safely if you have children or pets at home. 

Municipalities may pass additional bylaws that further restrict cultivation. Some have, so be aware of local bylaws. 

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES 

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is the only authorized retailer of cannabis in Nova Scotia. Cannabis can be purchased by adults 19 or over at designated NSLC stores or online. While edibles can be produced at home for personal use, it remains illegal under federal law to sell edibles, including at restaurants and markets. 

POSSESSION

If you’re 19 or over, you can have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) with you in public. There are no restrictions on how much you can keep in your home, as long as it’s for personal use. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

The Smoke-free Places Act applies to the use of combustible cannabis in public places. You can be fined up to $2,000 for a violation. Municipalities may pass additional bylaws that further restrict the use of cannabis in public places. Some have, so be aware of local bylaws. You can use cannabis in the privacy of your own home. If you rent, your landlord may amend your lease and put rules in place about cannabis smoking or growing.

 

Nunavut

MINIMUM AGE   

19 plus years of age is the legal age for consumption of cannabis. 

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Driving while under the influence of cannabis is illegal.  Cannabis cannot be within reach of anyone in a vehicle. It must be stored away from arms reach. A good rule of thumb is the trunk of the car.

HOME GROWING

You can legally grow 4 plants per household in Nunavut. 

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

Non-medical retail cannabis sales is only available from licensed agents of the NULC at www.nulc.ca

POSSESSION

30 Grams is the most you can buy or carry at a time in Nunavut. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

You can’t smoke in most public places. You CAN consume cannabis in a private residence or licensed smoke lounge

 

Ontario 

MINIMUM AGE   

You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven.

HOME GROWING

You may grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person) if:

  • you are 19 years of age and older
  • it is only for your personal use
  • the starting material was purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized retail store

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

Cannabis can be purchased from licensed cannabis stores and online from certain websites. The Ontario Cannabis Store website is the only legal way to purchase recreational cannabis online. You can purchase cannabis in person only from authorized retail cannabis stores in Ontario.

POSSESSION

You are able to have a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis (or equivalent) in public at any time.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

The following is a summary of where you can smoke and vape cannabis in Ontario.  Smoking is allowed in private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (for example, long-term care and/or retirement homes).  

Other allowable areas include: Many outdoor public places (for example, sidewalks and parks), designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns, residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored), scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes) and controlled areas in: long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities.

 

Prince Edward Island 

MINIMUM AGE   

The legal age for consuming recreational cannabis in PEI is 19. 

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Driving under the influence of cannabis products is strictly illegal and offenders will be prosecuted. 

HOME GROWING

Regardless of how many adults living in the home, there can only be up to four plants per home.  You will also need permission from your landlord. A landlord can prohibit growing cannabis on their property. Condo owners will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants, unless their condo bylaws state otherwise.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

Cannabis can be bought from a small number of locations and can also be legally purchased online.  Cannabis can be bought from 4 locations in PEI and can also be legally purchased online from https://peicannabiscorp.com/.

POSSESSION

The public possession limit under federal legislation is 30 grams. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Cannabis cannot be consumed in public; however it may be consumed in private residences.

 

Quebec

MINIMUM AGE   

The minimum age of consumption of cannabis is 18 in Quebec, at the moment as of 1 Oct 2019. Plans to change this age to 21 are in progress. To legally purchase cannabis in Quebec, consumers will have to be at least 21 years of age in the near future. Bill 2 introduced by the Coalition Avenir Québec government will increase the legal age to consume cannabis in Quebec from 18 to 21.

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

It is highly illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. 

HOME GROWING   

It is prohibited to cultivate cannabis for personal use. Of note is that it is also prohibited to possess a cannabis plant for personal use.  Recent legislation introduced on 3 Sept 2019 allows adults to grow up to 4 plants, however legal counsel sources have indicated it is best to not grow at home at this time to avoid prosecution.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

Only the SQDC can sell cannabis retail in Québec.  A cannabis retail outlet of the SQDC may not be operated near schools (preschool, elementary and secondary).  No sale to persons under 18 years of age may occur and 

a minor may not be admitted to a cannabis retail outlet. In addition, it is prohibited to sell cannabis to a minor or to an adult buying for a minor and a minor is prohibited from buying cannabis.

POSSESSION

Since the government of Québec has not made a regulation to that effect, it will be possible to possess 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in a public place. The amount of dried cannabis or its equivalent that one may possess in a place other than a public place is set at 150 grams. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

It is prohibited to smoke cannabis in certain open or enclosed spaces.  It is prohibited to smoke or to vape cannabis in all places where smoking tobacco is already prohibited.

 

Saskatchewan  

MINIMUM AGE   

Saskatchewan’s legal age of consumption and purchasing for non-medicinal cannabis will be 19 years of age (the same as alcohol).

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

Cannabis can slow down your reaction time and increase your chance of a crash. If you use cannabis, it’s important that you do not drive. If you drive while impaired, you will be charged.  In addition, consumption in a vehicle by a driver or passenger is prohibited.

HOME GROWING

The province will adopt the federal minimum standards around home production, including a limit of four cannabis plants grown per household.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

In Saskatchewan, cannabis can only be sold by stores that have a permit from SLGA. Cannabis retailers must operate a storefront and can also choose to sell product online.  It is illegal to purchase cannabis from a cannabis retailer who does not hold a permit issued by SLGA. 

POSSESSION

In Saskatchewan, the maximum public possession amount will be 30 grams per legal-aged consumer.

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Consuming cannabis in public places will be prohibited for public health considerations.

 

Yukon 

MINIMUM AGE   

The minimum age of consumption of cannabis is 19 or older in the Yukon. 

DRIVING AND CONSUMPTION

It is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. If you’re going to consume, park your vehicle, snowmobile or quad and dock your boat. If you have cannabis products in your car, make sure they are in a closed container and out of the reach of both the driver and any passengers.

HOME GROWING

Yukoners can grow their own cannabis for personal use. Your house – regardless of how many people live there – can grow up to 4 plants. There is no restriction on the size of plant.

ONLINE PURCHASES AND LEGAL RETAIL SALES

You must buy from an approved retailer. It’s illegal to buy from your neighbor or any other unlicensed individual or source.

POSSESSION

Adults 19 and older can purchase up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per transaction and can possess no more than this amount in public. 30 grams of dried cannabis is equivalent to: 150 grams of fresh cannabis; 2100 grams of liquid (e.g. oil) product; or 30 cannabis plant seeds.  If you possess more than 30 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) in public, law enforcement officers could ticket you or you could face criminal charges. There is no limit to how much cannabis you can keep at home. 

PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

Cannabis consumption is legal within the confines of your private property (house and yard), unless you use your home to run a daycare or preschool. If you’re caught consuming in public, a law enforcement officer will either give you a warning, seize the cannabis or issue a ticket.

The information in this article is accurate as of 1 Oct 2019. Cannabis laws and regulations may be subject to change over time and could impact the details laid out above.