Marijuana, Yes it’s Legal – What You Need to Know!

The Cannabis Act is now law and came into force on October 17th, 2018. The only legal way to purchase marijuana is through the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Important Points

cannabis plant on white background

  • The Act controls and regulates how cannabis is grown, distributed and sold. Canadians are able to purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, seeds and plants. Due to additional safety concerns, edible cannabis products are not yet available.
  • Individuals 19 years of age or older may purchase up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use.
  • While youth cannot purchase marijuana, those aged 12-18 will not face charges for either possessing or sharing amounts under 5 grams.
  • It is expected that in 2019, Ontario will open store-fronts that will be owned and operated through the private sector. Some municipalities will opt to not have store-fronts within their boundaries.

Where Can You Use Marijuana?

  • A private residence, including a backyard or porch.
  • A unit in a multi-unit apartment or condo, including a balcony (as allowed in lease or building agreements).
  • Some outdoor public spaces (including parks without playgrounds and sidewalks).

Where Can’t You Use Marijuana?

  • Restaurants & bars
  • Workplaces
  • In motorized vehicles, that are at risk of being driven (residential motor homes are exempt if parked and secured)
  • Within 20m of any school, child care centre (private or public), or playground

Why Has the Government Legalized Cannabis?

  • Legalization offers the opportunity to regulate the supply of marijuana. This increases the safety of the product as there will not be cross contamination. Consumers will know exact quantities that they purchase, as well as strength of the strains.
  • The government hopes to restrict access to youth. There are serious criminal penalties for individuals who provide marijuana to youth.
  • With legalization, minor possession charges will no longer occur. This is expected to reduce court costs significantly.
  • Increased tax dollars may be used towards other health care costs and enhancing education on the consequences of marijuana use.

Some Concerns…

  • Any substance taken into the body will have consequences, whether intended or not.
  • Legal does not mean it is always safe!
  • Although long-term studies on the effects are just beginning, it is known that marijuana use is linked with experiences of anxiety, depression, psychosis and schizophrenia. The risk appears to increase the earlier one begins to use marijuana and when use is regular.
  • Problematic use and addiction to marijuana is a real concern. This drastically increases when use occurs daily or near daily.
  • When you are pregnant, breastfeeding or in a caregiver role, there is no safe limit of marijuana.
  • Marijuana is second to alcohol, as the substance found among injured or fatally injured drivers.
  • When marijuana is smoked or vaped you should wait at least six hours, or more, before driving. If it is ingested, a minimum time of eight hours, or more, is recommended. Using these guidelines may still result in having elevated levels of the substance in your system should you be given a saliva and/or blood test. You could still be charged with impaired driving. Therefore you should not use any marijuana if you are planning on driving.

Want Additional Information?

Visit the Government of Ontario website and/or the Canadian Public Health website.