Cannabis in Canada: The State of the Law Today

UPDATE: As of April 13, 2018, every province and territory in Canada had tabled legislation outlining their plans for regulating cannabis. Our primer has been updated to include proposed legislation details from across the country.

On April 13, 2017, the Canadian Federal Government introduced the first draft of the Cannabis Act setting out the federal regulatory framework for legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes, including personal possession limitations, minimum age requirements, authorization for personal production and restrictions on the locations for cannabis consumption. Since its introduction, the Cannabis Act has been passed by the House of Commons and has been sent to the Senate for approval.

The Cannabis Act reserved significant discretion for the provinces with respect to the distribution, sale and retailing of cannabis. Only Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Québec, and New Brunswick have introduced cannabis regulations; however, every province and territory, other than Nunavut, has made an announcement regarding plans for regulating recreational cannabis.

This article provides a detailed look at the state of the law surrounding the production, selling, purchasing and consumption of cannabis across Canada, including:

  • The federal licensing regime
  • Provincial laws re: minimum age, possession, and personal cultivation
  • Criminal penalties and related enforcement frameworks
  • Federal regulations regarding licensing, packaging and labelling, and taxes
  • Provincial distribution models
  • Product and consumption options
  • Provincial enforcement measures 

Get your copy of Cannabis in Canada here