Marijuana is on its way to becoming legal, but with legalization comes increases and changes in regulation. How does this impact current laws surrounding marijuana use in Canada?
The Liberal government has made promises to introduce new legislation to legalize marijuana in Canada, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can puff away on that doobie without worry. There are still a lot of regulations being generated to control some of the more controversial aspects of cannabis—like controlling availability so children don’t gain access or accidentally consume cannabis that has been baked into pastries, or controlling who is distributing cannabis to limit the possibility of other more harmful drugs being added to it, and measuring intoxication on a substance that seems to have a more individualized effect on people.
What does this legislation mean when it comes to marijuana use? It means there are still laws you need to follow. Here are three all marijuana users should be aware of.
Despite the fact that more and more cannabis shops seem to be popping up across the country, it is important to remember that marijuana still isn’t legal. Cannabis is still considered a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. That means, according to the Department of Justice, that it’s still illegal to produce, distribute, or possess marijuana for any reason beyond an approved medical purpose.
If the bill is approved by parliament as it moves through the legislative process, cannabis could be legalized as early as 2018; however, should that become the case, there will still be strict legislation in place to control the production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of cannabis.
Here are three laws to look out for:
One of the problems with controlling cannabis use right now is that the substance affects everyone differently, which means impairment may be hard to regulate—but it won’t be difficult to detect. Innovations are already in progress, and there may soon be a breathalyser that can detect marijuana use.
One of the biggest legislation efforts will include controlling access to the drug—that means controlling who can grow the drug, how much an individual can access, and what age that individual needs to be.
Some of the proposed regulations:
- Adults 18 years old and over will legally be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis (or the equivalent in non-dried form). However, individuals must purchase the dried or fresh cannabis (and cannabis oil) from a provincially-licensed retailer (or in some cases, online from a federally-licensed producer). Individuals can still be prosecuted for possessing non-legally distributed cannabis.
- Sharing of the legal cannabis will be permitted, but an individual can be prosecuted for sharing more than 30 grams of legal cannabis, or for sharing the drug with underage individuals.
- An individual may grow up to up to four cannabis plants, but those plants may not exceed a maximum height of 100cm, and the plants must be used for personal use and must be grown from licensed seed or seedlings.
- An individual can make cannabis products (food or drink), as long as organic solvents are not used.
It will remain illegal for individuals to travel across the Canadian border with cannabis, no matter the form or quantity.
Criminal penalties will still be in place for those who use or distribute cannabis outside the legal framework. For instance, illegal distribution or sale, possession over the limit, production of cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits, production of cannabis with combustible solvents, or attempting to take cannabis across Canada’s borders could result in penalties ranging from being ticketed to receiving jail time of up to 14 years.
Have you been charged with a marijuana-related crime? Our defence team can help. Give us a call today at (780)-437-3030.