Today, Canada became the second country in the world, following Uruguay, to fully legalize recreational cannabis.
Here’s what you need to know about the Cannabis Act in Ontario.
You must be 19 or older to grow, purchase and use marijuana in Ontario, the same age as alcohol and tobacco.
Beginning Oct. 17, the only legal option for purchasing marijuana will be through the new Ontario Cannabis Store website. Strict guidelines set by the federal and provincial government will be followed.
You can purchase up to 30 grams of dried recreational cannabis at one time.
If you have been issued a valid medical licence by Health Canada, you can possess in excess of 30 grams.
Smoking marijuana is allowed wherever smoking tobacco is permitted.
You can grow cannabis in your residence, up to a four-plant maximum.
If you are transporting cannabis, the best place to store it is in the trunk of your vehicle. All cannabis must be packaged, sealed or inaccessible to all vehicle occupants.
Driving while impaired by cannabis is a criminal offence. Penalties are the same as for alcohol or other drugs.
On suspicion of impaired driving, by drugs or alcohol, an officer can compel a driver to take a standardized field sobriety test.
Police officers will use roadside oral screening devices and drug recognition experts to test for marijuana impairment.
For G1, G2, commercial drivers and those under 21, no amount of cannabis is legal.
On April 1, 2019, you will also be able to legally buy recreational cannabis from regulated private storefront shops in Ontario.
Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to choose to opt out of private storefront sales.
How does Canada’s legalization of cannabis affect you locally?
In York Region, Markham, Richmond Hill and King Township have opted out of allowing cannabis sales in their municipalities. Newmarket, Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Stouffville, Vaughan and Georgina have yet to make a final decision.
Yesterday, Markham council passed a bylaw banning smoking marijuana in public places.
“There will be a workshop in December for Newmarket’s new council to discuss the matter of ‘opting out’ of allowing private cannabis retail stores in Newmarket,” said Esther Armchuk, Commissioner of Corporate Services. “There will be opportunities for public input and the matter will be placed on a committee of the whole agenda in early January 2019 for a decision.”
Who is responsible for enforcing cannabis laws in York Region?The Regional Municipality of York, including the public health and bylaw departments, and the region’s nine municipalities, are responsible for enforcing non-criminal incidents, such as complaints around public consumption, odour and retail locations, as well as the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017 which regulates the sale, supply, use, display and promotion of tobacco, vapour products and cannabis.
Today, York Regional Police reminded residents that although cannabis is legal, “we are committed to enforcing the existing laws around impaired driving, illegal distribution, cultivation and possession”.
“Our officers will continue to ensure our community is safe and secure as we transition to this new environment,” Chief Eric Jolliffe said. “Working closely with our federal, provincial, regional and municipal partners, we have identified our enforcement responsibilities and want to be sure our residents are aware of them as well.”
York Regional Police will continue to enforce illegal distribution, either commercial or non-commercial, as well as the unlawful trafficking of cannabis via an illicit location. Police will also investigate and charge owners of illegal cannabis grow operations, including those growing in excess of Health Canada licences.
For more Information and links to additional resources, visit the York Regional Police website here
For York Region inquiries and concerns, click here
To learn more about the Cannabis Act go to www.Canada.ca/Cannabis.
For additional information on acceptable documentation from Health Canada, click here.