Canadian Cannabis Laws: Summarized

Federal Cannabis Laws:

  • purchase 30 grams of dried cannabis or the calculated “equivalent”. There are dried cannabis equivalent calculations for Cannabis products OTHER THAN dried cannabis flower; edibles, extracts, concentrates and topical cannabis products. Each vary so refer to packaging details. 
  • possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form in public; 
  • grow up to four cannabis plants per household (not per person) for personal use, from licensed seeds or seedlings from licensed suppliers; 
  • share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent with other adults; 
  • make legal cannabis-containing products at home, such as food and drinks, provided that dangerous organic solvents are not used in making them. 

Provincial Cannabis Laws:

Where you can use it 

The government has enacted the following rules for using cannabis, both medical and recreational. 

Where you can smoke and vape cannabis 

  • Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (for example, long-term care and retirement homes) 
  • Many outdoor public places (subject to the smoke free Ontario Act) 
  • Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns 
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored) 
  • Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes) 
  • Controlled areas in:
    • long-term care homes 
    • certain retirement homes 
    • residential hospices 
    • provincially-funded supportive housing 
    • designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements and the policies of employers and property owners. 

Where you cannot smoke or vape cannabis 

Indoors 

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in: 

  • indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences 
  • enclosed public places and enclosed work places 
  • non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns 

Schools and places where children gather 

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis: 

  • at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds 
  • on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds 
  • in child care centres or where an early years program is provided 
  • in places where home child care is provided — even if children aren’t present 

Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities 

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis: 

  • within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public and private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities 
  • on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public and private) and psychiatric facilities 
  • in non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices 

Publicly owned spaces 

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas. 

Vehicles and boats 

You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping and eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven. 

Other outdoor areas 

You cannot smoke or vape cannabis: 

  • in restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio 
  • on outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings 
  • in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations 
  • on grounds of community recreational facilities and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds 
  • in sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (for example, a bus shelter) 

Cannabis and Driving: Shape

Overview 

Driving a vehicle while you’re impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. This includes cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles. 

You are not a safer driver when you’re high. Cannabis affects your judgment, coordination and reaction time, and increases your chances of being in a collision. In 2016, 74 people were killed in collisions involving a driver under the influence of drugs in Ontario according to police reports. 

Barely high is still too high to drive – don’t risk your future or your life. Never get behind the wheel after using cannabis. 

Zero tolerance for young, novice or commercial drivers 

Just like alcohol, you are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved drug screening device) if you are driving. The penalties for violating Ontario’s zero tolerance law include licence suspensions and financial penalties. Repeat offenders face longer suspensions and additional consequences such as mandatory education and treatment programs. 

Medical cannabis users 

You will not be subject to the zero tolerance drug requirements. You may still face penalties and criminal charges if your ability to drive has been impaired. 

How to avoid impaired driving 

Impairment from cannabis begins almost immediately and can last up to 6 hours or more, depending on factors such as THC levels and how it is consumed. The effects can last longer if you’re a new user, have consumed a lot or have combined cannabis with alcohol. 

Since the effects of cannabis vary, there is no way to know exactly how long to wait before it’s safe to drive. Even if you think the high has worn off, your ability to drive may still be impaired. 

The best way to avoid impaired driving is to not take a chance. Plan another way home: 

  • have a designated driver 
  • use public transit 
  • call a friend or family member for a ride 
  • call a taxi or ride share 
  • stay overnight 

Enforcement and penalties 

If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug or alcohol, you will face serious penalties, including: 

  • an immediate licence suspension 
  • financial penalties 
  • possible vehicle impoundment 
  • possible criminal record 
  • possible jail time 

Transporting cannabis 

Similar to the rules for alcohol, it is illegal to transport cannabis in a motorized vehicle (such as a car or boat) if it is: 

  • open (“unfastened”) and not in its original packaging 
  • not packed in baggage and is readily available to anyone in the vehicle 

It is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border. For information on transporting cannabis in an airplane within Canada, check with your airline.