Legal Cannabis in 800 Sq. Ft.

Janet Moje
Legal Cannabis in 800 Sq. Ft.

On October 17, for every adult in Canada, it will be lawful to possess and share up to 30 grams of cannabis in public for recreational use, and to grow up to four plants for personal use. However, public consumption is not and in some areas, is restricted to your own home. Smoking cannabis while driving is strictly prohibited, and even smoking inside your vehicle is banned, whether it is running or not.

The Federal Government decided that the details of how it is sold, grown, consumed, and the minimum age for consumption should be determined by each province and territory. Currently there are some similarities. For example, all provinces are planning a government run website for online sales. All transported cannabis must be inaccessible to drivers and passengers (like alcohol, unopened and out of reach). Public consumption is prohibited in the same ways as cigarette smoking, as well as anywhere near children such as schools, parks, playgrounds, and daycares.

Many provincial and municipal laws are still being worked on so you need to do your research to avoid any unpleasant altercations. Laws are being adjusted and can change rather quickly as many areas simply were not ready for the October 17th deadline. What follows is a brief guide for each region as it currently stands.

Age limit: 18 or older.
Sales: Private retail stores - cannot sell alcohol in the same place.  
Consumption restrictions: no hospital, school or childcare facility.
Cultivation: up to four plants per household with landlord/condo approval.

Age limit: 18 or older. The new provincial government is looking to raise it to 21.
Sales: Government retail only.
Consumption restrictions: banned from any school property, in or near public buildings, parks or facilities.
Cultivation: Complete ban.
Possession up to 150 grams of dried pot is permitted.  

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: Four private retail companies approved and government liquor stores will distribute.
Private online stores are allowed.
Consumption: Looking to ban all outdoor consumption.
Cultivation: Complete ban unless you have medical use license.

New Brunswick
Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: 20 government stores and online.
Consumption: No public smoking at all.
Cultivation: Up to four plants.
Residents must store cannabis in locked containers or locked rooms, but there is no limit on how much you can store at home.

Age limit: 19 and older.  
Sales: private retailers, government online store.
Consumption: Public consumption illegal, only on private property or in own home.
Cultivation: Up to four plants.

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: Government liquor stores will distribute to start, and online government website.
Consumption: Public consumption limited, not permitted near children.
Cultivation: undecided at this time.
Municipalities can have referendums to restrict / prohibit. 

Nova Scotia
Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: government retail and liquor stores.
Consumption: Not in any smoke free places, 20 meters from outdoor sport centres or playgrounds, nine meters away from any hiking trail, beach or park.
Cultivation: up to four plants per household with landlord/condo approval.
Anyone under 19 possessing five grams or more will be charged with drug possession, a criminal offense.  

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: No retail stores for 2018, government website for online sales only.
Consumption: Same as smoking restrictions.
Cultivation: No home growing.

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: Four government dispensaries, private retail. Online government website.
Consumption:  restricted to private residences.
Cultivation: up to four plants, no access to minors.
No limit to possession at home, 30 gram max in public.

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: Government and private retail stores, separate from liquor sales.
Consumption: only legal in private residences.
Cultivation: up to four plants per household with landlord/condo approval.

Age limit: 19 or older.  
Sales: Retail stores 60 permits (40 in municipalities, 20 first nations communities). Consumption: Outdoor smoking ban, barred from schools and daycares.
Cultivation:  up to four plants per household with landlord/condo approval.
Transportation of cannabis will be like restricted firearms. After purchase you must go directly home, can’t stop for gas or groceries.  

Age limit: 19 or older.
Sales: government retail stores and website.
Consumption: Only on private property or residences.
Cultivation: Up to four plants out of public view.

British Columbia
In British Columbia, the Provincial Government has decided that the details of how it is sold, commercially grown and distributed is up to the municipal governments. This means the rules can change from city to city within our province but in general the following applies:

Age limit: 19 or older
Sales: Sold through government run and private stores. No alcohol sales allowed in the same premises. BC Cannabis Stores is the government banner for retail stores and online sales are through the government website, delivered through the post office.
Consumption: Permitted in any space where cigarette smoking is allowed, but not in areas frequented by children. Must not consume in a vehicle or boat, moving or not. Not allowed near bus stops, taxi stands, ferry docks, or train stops.
Cultivation: can grow up to four plants per household with landlord/condo approval, out of public view.

Cannabis sales are not permitted to anyone who is intoxicated or high although there is no mention as to how the people selling it are to determine who is or isn’t under the influence. New drivers are banned from having any THC in their system, which can last up to 30 days from last use, but it doesn’t specifically say that new drivers would be randomly drug tested or need to take mandatory blood tests.

To add to the provincial confusion, local government may set their own restrictions. For example, Tofino has banned any land or building to be used for sales, production or distribution of cannabis. Valemount has not yet determined its municipal laws pertaining to cannabis, leaving it to be determined by the new council which takes office in November 2018.

Some governments are setting prices above the street price. Over-regulation will just make prices even higher. What will happen if cannabis sold in McBride is $2 per gram more than Valemount? Making recreational cannabis legal is one thing, but if the goal is to end the illegal cannabis market and make it harder for youth to get their hands on it, then making laws that are understandable and easily enforceable while offering a product at a lower price is the way to achieve it. Otherwise the black market will continue to thrive, perhaps even more so when it is legal to “share” small amounts with no penalties at all.

Penalties for breach of cannabis laws are just as varied, region per region. It is best to check before travelling out of area as some jurisdictions are much less cannabis-friendly than others. Perhaps it is best to just indulge at home, your 800 square foot, for-sure legal place.