Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use: What You Need to Know

When Prime Minister Trudeau took office, his initial goal was to have recreational marijuana legalized by July 1, 2018 – Canada Day. However, there have been delays in the process of passing the law.

Before Canadians despair, the Cannabis Act was passed by Canadian senators back in June, along with some added amendments to the Act. Now the bill has been sent back to the House of Commons, where Parliament will review the amendments and vote on their approval.

Once that occurs and the Act becomes law, there is an anticipated delay of about twelve weeks before the first actual sales of legalized marijuana for recreational use will occur. Right now, the earliest the first says could take place is late August. Although, a more conservative outlook puts the first legalized sales sometime in September to early October.

Part of the reason for the twelve week delay is to allow provinces time to finalize how they intend to sell marijuana for recreational purposes. In addition, each province will be able to set the minimum legal age to purchase recreational marijuana.

In Ontario, the provincial government has established the following rules and regulations that will take effect once the federal government finally passes the Cannabis Act:

  • You must be 19 or older to purchase recreational marijuana.
  • You can only use recreational marijuana in a private residence along with the adjoining outdoor space. If you live in a condo or apartment, use in your unit or on your patio/balcony will depend on your homeowner association rules or lease agreement.
  • The use of marijuana in public is a punishable offence with a $1,000 mandatory fine for first time offenders and mandatory $5,000 fines for subsequent offences.
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana will be treated the same as other impaired driving offences involving drug-impairment, with an immediate license suspension and minimum fines of $1,000.
  • There will be a zero tolerance for commercial, novice and young drivers if they are 21 or younger, have a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license or requires a commercial vehicle license.
  • The only legal place to purchase recreational marijuana from will be the Ontario Cannabis Store. Any purchases from other “shops” or individuals will be considered illegal and could result in being charged with a drug offence.
  • People will be allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of dried marijuana for recreational use at one time.
  • Up to four plants per residence can be grown as long as seeds/seedlings are purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store.
  • The use of recreational marijuana at work will still be illegal.

As you can see, even with the passage of the Cannabis Act, there will still be various drug-related criminal offences you could be accused of committing. If you are currently facing an impaired driving or other drug offence, please feel free to contact Toronto criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Hershberg, at 416-428-7360 to arrange a consultation appointment today.