Recreational Pot Is Coming and Here’s What You Need to Know

The federal government has set a deadline of July 2018 for the legalization of marijuana for recreational usage in Canada. Under the new law, those of legal age to buy marijuana will be allowed to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana.

However, there are some things that you need to know about the new law. First and foremost, is each province and territory is tasked with developing their own marijuana regulations. This includes setting the legal age as well as how it will be sold and distributed.

For instance, in Ontario, plans call for marijuana to be sold in retail stores that are operated as a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Other provinces are exploring options based on the current medical marijuana distribution models, such as online sales.

Most provinces are using similar age requirements as they do for tobacco. In Ontario, the legal age has initially been set at 19. In Alberta, they have opted to allow those age 18 and older to purchase legalized marijuana.

Even though the legalization of marijuana across Canada for recreational purposes will help slowly drive out the black market, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. The federal government still has not set pricing points or tax rates on legalized marijuana. As the July deadline draws closer it is anticipated the costs and taxes will be released.

In addition, the government has not established any rules on how legalized marijuana can be advertised. They are also still working on what standards they will impose on growers. Although, for growers, it is anticipated they will adapt similar framework already in place for Canada’s legalized medical marijuana standards.

Aside from these challenges, there will also need to be updates made to many of Canada’s laws regarding illegal and controlled substances, as well as impaired and driving under the influence laws. The federal government has not yet determined what limit one would be considered impaired while operating a motor vehicle, nor what precise testing method could be used to determine impairment beyond visual inspections.

Another key issue the federal government and provincial governments are going to have to address are the current illegally ran pot shops in various cities. These shops are not legal and will not be a part of legalized marijuana. Purchasing from these shops after the legalization of marijuana takes effect is expected to still be considered illegal.

In the meantime, to avoid being charged for marijuana-related drug offences or driving under the influence offences, Canadians will have to wait a little longer. While the federal government has a deadline of July 2018, people also need to remember that come July 1st, it does not mean the new laws will take effect. As July draws closer, we can expect the government to provide further updates with an actual start date for recreational marijuana in Canada.

If you have been charged with a drug offence or driving under the influence offence, remember to speak to a qualified Toronto criminal defence lawyer, like Jeff Hershberg. Call 416-428-7360 now to arrange a free consultation!


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/world/canada/canada-marijuana-legal-justin-trudeau.html
  2. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/new-laws-and-rules-coming-into-effect-in-2018-1.3731434