Cannabis in Canada: an overview of the legislative framework

SUMO Cannabis

As of October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act came into effect in Canada. Here are some of the main points that are covered in this law. 

Depending on the province, adults are allowed to (the age at which an individual is considered adult varies by province):

  • possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public
  • share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  • buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer
  • grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence (not per person) for personal use
    • from licensed seed or seedlings (the number of plants allowed actually depends on the province or territory)
    • In Québec, the provincial legislature states that you are not allowed to grow cannabis in your home. However, this law was recently challenged and overturned. As a result, it is now legal to grow cannabis at home. It has to be taken into account that the case will be heard by the Court of Appeal and that the law could change at any moment. If you do decide to grow cannabis at home, it is recommended that you be cautious and stay informed of legal changes that may occur. (

One of the main objectives of the Cannabis Act is to protect the health and safety of young people. For this reason, there are serious penalties for producers or distributors that do not respect the regulations in effect. 

Furthermore, other than in specialty stores, such as SQDCs in Québec, the sale of cannabis remains illegal and is subject to serious penalties. In Québec, a person who obtains cannabis elsewhere than in a SQDC can be charged with a crime. 

Also, driving while under the influence of cannabis is illegal everywhere in the country. In Québec, the “zero tolerance” approach implemented means that it is illegal to drive after consuming cannabis, regardless of the amount. 

In Canada, the regulations in this regard are complex, since they involve both the federal legislative framework as well as the regulations of each province and even of each municipality. 

It is important to always be aware of the regulations in effect, especially if you plan to travel outside of your own province or territory. 

Québec’s provincial legal framework prohibits the act of buying cannabis for anyone under the age of 21. 

It is also illegal in Québec to smoke or vape cannabis in any public place whether indoor or outdoor. 

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