Canada makes history with the legalization of Cannabis set to take place on Oct. 17th, 2018!
As this is a huge win, there are still some kinks to work out with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada. It is not a perfect system but it’s a step in the right direction, now people have safe access to cannabis.
The government has placed strict standards on how it is distributed and how you can access it. We will explore what you can expect from Cannabis legalization below.
Although Federal law (Bill-C45) dubbed the ‘Cannabis Act’ will supersede provincial legislation, there are a lot of the specifics that will vary from province to province.
How Cannabis will be Distributed
In order to ensure we have safe access to cannabis, there are some measures in place, the rules are:
- You need to be the minimum of 18 years of age to purchase and possess cannabis, other provinces or territories may be 19 years or older, the same rules apply as it would with alcohol
- You can purchase cannabis from federally licensed producers or from designated and approved retailers, such as dispensaries in-store or online
- You cannot sell or give cannabis to anyone that is under the age of 18 or what the legal age limit is for that province or territory, otherwise, charges could land you in jail for up to 10 years
- The packaging of cannabis has very strict standards as it should not appeal to youth, licensed producers, dispensaries alike need to take this into account when packaging the material
Possession of Cannabis
How much cannabis you are able to have on you on a given time is pretty standard you are able to:
- Possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form in public
- Share up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis with other adults that are 18+ or what the age limit is deemed for that particular area
Growing and Consuming Cannabis in Canada
On a Federal level, each household are able to grow up to four cannabis plants, for personal use or medicinal use.
- You can make legal cannabis-containing products at home, such as food and drinks, provided that there are no dangerous solvents when making them
- Proper ventilation and safe storage needs to be considered when growing cannabis
- There may be different rules and regulations applied when growing cannabis dependant where you reside in Canada
- Edibles are still not legal to sell and distribute, however, in the coming year that is expected to change. The government has been very vague about the details but has said we can expect edibles to be legal within a year after recreational cannabis has become legal.
Drug-impaired driving remains illegal in Canada. Law enforcement can currently detect drug-impaired driving using a Standard Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Expert evaluation.
As with alcohol, driving while impaired by cannabis is illegal. It can harm your ability to drive. It can also affect your ability to operate equipment safely.
Below is a guideline law enforcement will follow to determine the conviction of offence if suspected impairment while driving is taking place.
Safety in the Workplace
Just like alcohol the same rules apply, you cannot be impaired in a workplace. However, an employer has a duty to accommodate a medical cannabis user.
The patient needs to disclose this to their employer prior to reasonable grounds of suspicion and/or before a workplace incident occurs. In a safety sensitive environment, this is extremely crucial that both parties adhere to the laws. That is why a very well laid out drug and alcohol policy should be in place to protect the employer and employee so they both understand their expectations.
What will Happen to Medical Cannabis?
Under the Cannabis Act, access to cannabis for medical purposes will continue for those who have the authorization of their healthcare practitioner.
Under the ACMPR, those who are currently registered to purchase from a licensed producer may continue to do so without any interruptions to their supply.
There may be some confusion between medical cannabis but there are a few things that differentiate between the two:
- Medical Cannabis producers will use science and technology to provide medical relief to their registered patients – So quality counts and it will be in a controlled environment
- The supply of medical cannabis will always take precedence over recreational cannabis – In an event of a shortage registered medical cannabis users will be given top priority
- Medical cannabis may be covered by your insurance provider, recreational cannabis will not
- The ability to ask medically related questions about cannabis with a registered health provider
- The cost of medicinal cannabis may be lower to accommodate the user as well as compassionate programs may be offered