Canada: What You Need To Know About Cannabis Legalization

Last Updated: October 24 2018
Article by Jordan D. Assaraf

With the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17th, 2018, there are new questions and concerns surfacing. The legalization process may already be confusing to some, and because of this there are many conversations taking place regarding cannabis use and its new legal restrictions.

In this blog post, we will outline some of those conversations which are happening across the country. We will also offer practical tips and insights which you as a consumer will find helpful.

Is everything cannabis-related legalized and available for purchase?

Currently, all cannabis-related products are legalized, including dried leaves, oils and concentrates. However, only cannabis in its natural form is currently being sold by retailers. Other forms, such as edible cannabis products and concentrates, are currently not eligible for sale.

The Canadian Government has announced that edible cannabis products and concentrates will be available for purchase through regulated retailers one year after the Cannabis Act, which was put into place on October, 17th, 2018.

Are there restrictions to my personal cannabis consumption and use?

Yes, there are. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the details before regularly purchasing and consuming cannabis.

As a consumer, you are permitted to purchase 30 grams of cannabis at once (dried or equivalent) from a provincially-licensed retailer, as well as possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on your person at any time. It is also now legal for each residence (NOT person) to grow a total of four cannabis plants on their personal property.

For clarification of what this amount looks like when on your person, one (1) gram of dried cannabis is equal to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edible product
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
  • 1 cannabis plant seed

This means, for example, that an adult 18 years of age or older, can legally possess 150 grams of fresh cannabis.

What does legalization of cannabis REALLY mean for our country?

Canada now stands as the largest country to legalize cannabis in the world. This provides us with several opportunities. The legalization of cannabis opens many doors for the much-needed and much-anticipated study of the effects of cannabis on individuals on a far deeper level.

While there are some studies on the effects of cannabis, due to its illegal nature before the 17th of October, there were not very many substantial research studies available. In the face of legalization, the true benefits and effects of cannabis can be properly explored and tested. This could mean better healthcare options and prescriptions for sicknesses and illnesses, as well as a deeper understanding of how it affects the development of the brain.

Concerns with cannabis legalization.

  1. Travel: Countries, such as the United States, have declared that they will ban cannabis users from entering their country. It has even been determined that US border officials may check your credit card records to see if there is any evidence of cannabis purchase (they do in fact have the right to do this). It is important to note that lying to a border official is against the law, and if caught you can be banned from the US for life. Please also note that it is illegal to travel over the Canadian border, either in or out of the country, with cannabis in your possession. Leave your cannabis products at home, and do your research on foreign cannabis laws before traveling internationally.
  2. Roadside testing: We delve deeper into this topic in one of our previous blog posts; for more information please visit Marijuana Use and Roadside Testing for Drug-Impaired Driving. There are serious concerns as to how accurate THC in blood level testing will be, especially as the testing devices police will be using are known to have difficulties reading results in colder climates, such as Canada.
  3. Resting THC levels: For those who consume cannabis regularly for medical purposes, they may be restricted from driving. This is because those who take cannabis for medical purposes have developed a higher tolerance for THC. Though they may not show signs of impairment, THC concentrations in their blood would be considered over the legal than what is permitted in order to operate a vehicle.
  4. Lowering crime rates or just gaining profit?: The Canadian Government has stated that one of the bigger reasons for legalizing cannabis comes down to reducing crime rates and violence in the country. Some wonder if this is in fact true. Studies from the US do in fact show that following the legalization of cannabis, crime rates in states near the Mexican border did go down. That said, there are some who are skeptical of whether Canadian crime rates will go down following legalization, and instead feel the government pushed to legalize so that they could control the distribution for financial gain and profit.

Driving after the consumption of cannabis is still driving under the influence, and is illegal. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts yourself and others on the road at risk. Drive safe, drive smart, and never drive under the influence. Instead, call a cab or a friend. Make plans ahead of time, and when in doubt don't drive.

Sources

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/legalized-marijuana-questions-2018-1.4049808

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/14/legal-marijuana-medical-use-crime-rate-plummets-us-study

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