Feature Image

Canada Marijuana Laws & Policy

Following a historic vote by the Senate in June 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. Medical use of cannabis has been legal with a valid recommendation from a health care practitioner since 2001.

Current Legislation

In June 2018, Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. The Cannabis Act was approved by the Senate with a 52-29 vote, paving the way to a nationwide marijuana market that is expected to launch in October.

The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) allows adults 18 years and older to carry and use up to 30 grams of marijuana, as well as cultivate up to four plants at home for personal use. It also creates a national regulatory framework for a nationwide marijuana market. Adults will be able to buy marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces and territories. If neither of those is available, cannabis will be available from federally licensed producers.

The passing of the law ends 90-plus years of prohibition. Prior to the passing of the Cannabis Act, cannabis had been classified as a Schedule II drug under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, making the use, possession, cultivation, transporting and selling of cannabis is currently illegal.

Industrial hemp cultivation is legal as long as the farmer has acquired a license and a permit for exportation. Purchasing, using and consuming hemp oil is also legal.

Medical Marijuana Laws

As of August 24, 2016, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) replaced the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). The new rules eliminated the requirement that patients acquire cannabis for licensed producers and authorized users to cultivate a “limited amount” of cannabis for their own supply.

Under the rule, adults 18 years or older with a prescription from a licensed producer, health care practitioner or hospital can legally to possess and use cannabis. The maximum amount that can be possessed by medical marijuana participants is 30 times the daily amount indicated by their healthcare practitioner, to a maximum of 150 grams. The “limited amount” of cannabis a patient can grow depends on the amount of cannabis a patient is prescribed. According to the rule, “In general, every one (1) gram of dried marijuana authorized will result in the production of five (5) plants indoors or two (2) plants outdoors.”

References:

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (2015, October 15). Justice Laws Website. Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-38.8/.

Industrial Hemp Regulations (SOR/98-156). (2015, October 15). Justice Laws Website. Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-98-156/index.html.

Marihana for Medical Purposes Regulations. (2015, June 5). Justice Laws Website. Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2013-119/page-1.html.

Understanding the New Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. (2016, August). Health Canada. http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/publications/drugs-products-medicaments-produits/understanding-regulations-medical-cannabis-medicales-comprehension-reglements/index-eng.php.

  • November 3, 2015
  • Eve Ripley