While it may be simpler for Canada to launch a nation-wide policy on consuming and growing cannabis, the reality is much more complicated. Every province dictated how it would manage the Cannabis Act within their borders, from the minimum age to buy cannabis, to its retail plan, to homegrow restrictions.
This is where we come in. Below is a handy province-by-province breakdown on cannabis laws with information current to November 2018. Unless otherwise stated, the age of consumption is 19 and no cannabis consumption is allowed while operating a motor vehicle. Homegrow limits are set at four plants per household.
The most striking feature of Ontario’s cannabis rules relate to its sale of the product: cannabis can only be purchased online via the Ontario Cannabis Store, where dozens of LPs will have their buds and oils available. It was expected a public-private hybrid model would be in place for Ontario, but that model may play out in spring 2019.
Retail cannabis outlets are expected to open in April 2019.
Public consumption is allowed wherever smoking cigarettes is allowed. Ontarians can’t consume cannabis within nine metres of a patio, in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations, or university campuses such as the University of Toronto.
An interesting wrinkle to the retail rollout is news that Second Cup may be interested in getting into the cannabis game once the province opens the door to private firms.1
The Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC) is the only entity allowed to buy cannabis from a producer, and will manage the selling, transporting and storing of the product. Quebec is one of the few regions where growing cannabis for personal use will be illegal.
Outside of public spaces, it is prohibited for an adult to possess any more than 150 grams of dried cannabis. Rules on where to smoke cannabis will reflect those which coincide where an individual may smoke tobacco.
Quebec, along with Alberta, lowered their legal age to purchase cannabis to 18.
What’s unique about Quebec is its strict marketing guidelines: retailers across the province are banned from selling products decorated with the cannabis leaf or any other symbol promoting cannabis.
The Manitoba government green-lit four private companies or consortiums to retail cannabis. Enclosed public spaces are off–limits to cannabis consumers.
The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba is regulating the sale of cannabis and municipal governments have the option to ban sales by referendum. Manitoba joins Quebec in not allowing any homegrows whatsoever. Saskatchewan Like Manitoba, Saskatchewan is easing cannabis into the private sector, with a restricted number of licenses issued during the first three years. The product can only be consumed in private residences, given that permission has also been granted by the landlord.
Albertans can buy cannabis from retail stores and through government-run online sales. Despite residents only being able to carry up to 30 grams, there will be no possession limit within private homes.
The minimum age of consumption is set at 18 in Alberta.
Smoking cannabis is prohibited in British Columbia anywhere that children congregate, in cars, and wherever tobacco is also banned.
Retail sales are open through public and private stores, and retailers are permitted to sell cannabis in stores that sell liquor or tobacco. Dispensaries already selling cannabis prior to October 17 can continue doing so if they receive such a license.
The province announced people would be able to buy cannabis at a subsidiary of the province's liquor commission. Around 20 government-run locations opened post-legalization, but in early November New Brunswick was forced to temporarily close more than half its stores due to a supply shortage.
Cannabis is sold beside alcohol in provincial liquor commission stores, as well as through online sales, to anyone who is at least 19. The province has established provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.
Our quaintest province sells cannabis at stand-alone outlets run separately by its liquor commission, via four government-owned locations. P.E.I. allows e-sales and restricts cannabis use to private residences.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Sales in private stores are allowed and the Crown-owned liquor corporation oversees distribution to private retailers. Consumption is restricted to private residences.
Yukon follows the national act by allowing the public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, and personal cultivation of up to four plants per household. Consumption is limited to privately owned residences and adjoining properties, as long as the owners permit it.
The Northwest Territories
NWT residents can consume cannabis on private property and in restricted public areas. The NWT Liquor Commission is responsible for the distribution and sales at existing liquor stores.
Residents can mail-order cannabis in order to allow access to marijuana in communities that don’t have a liquor store. The government can fine stores that don't post signs about the health risks of cannabis.
Consumption is restricted to areas where tobacco also can’t be smoked, along with school grounds, hospitals and playgrounds. A public-private retail model is in place, and Nunavut is also ensuring that no “dry” communities will be permitted.
Smoking a joint on a Winnipeg street will be very different than doing the same on Toronto’s Spadina Avenue. One is illegal while the other is not, according to the varied provincial laws on public consumption. Understandably, it can be confusing, but experts hope laws will eventually change to allow safe spaces for cannabis consumers to enjoy their products.
Few cannabis industry influencers have a resume as impressive as Deepak Anand. An active speaker, Anand sits on the board of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) and the National Association of Cannabis Professionals. As the vice-president of business development and government relations at Cannabis Compliance Inc., Anand works daily to help companies cut through the regulatory red tape of commercial and retail cannabis licensing. We recently caught up with Anand to discuss reform, the future of medical cannabis, and his latest venture, the Global Cannabis Partnership. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
What is hemp and how does it differ from cannabis? A unique variety of the cannabis sativa species, hemp is one of the planet’s most diverse and far-reaching crops. A non-psychoactive form of cannabis, hemp has little THC content, but its applications are even more robust than its more popular counterpart.
When Cassandra Farrington decided to take on cannabis, she did so with one vision: lend the industry some business wings. Since helping Marijuana Business Daily take flight in 2010, Farrington has watched the platform – formed to help business professionals navigate the space – evolve to include one of the most popular business-to-business trade shows in the industry, the MJ Biz Conference. With popular events held in Las Vegas and New Orleans, the conference now has an international arm that calls Toronto home. We caught up with Farrington during her company’s first Canadian stop to discuss its recent successes, and the future of the MJ Biz Conference.
Very few market research firms are as laser-focused as Cann Standard, a pricing analytics firm based in Calgary. What director Brad Martin and his two colleagues accomplish is the detail-oriented work of collating the various prices of dried cannabis, oil and pre-rolled joints to give Canadians a clearer picture of what they should expect to pay in this new post-legalization landscape.
Canada’s government has motioned that it will legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. On October 1 of this year, Canada will become the first G7 nation where the adult use of cannabis is permitted for both medical patients and recreational users. As reform looms, however, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered.
Leslie Best isn’t a prototypical cannabis advocate. In fact, she’s nothing short of the antithesis of a stereotypical stoner – a forty-something suburban mother of three children, and the loving wife of a firefighter and one-time winner of HGTV’s “Canada’s Handyman.” As the matriarch of the family, Best represents a completely new class of cannabis consumer, an altogether balanced presence to the areas of family, healthy living and alternative therapy options.
While practically every Canadian knows October 17, 2018, was the date when cannabis is legalized in the country, some confusion is still rippling from Victoria to St. John’s. Questions may include, “What exactly is legal and illegal?” and “Can I actually grow cannabis at home?” and, very importantly, “What will happen when I try to cross the border to the U.S. and I admit to having used cannabis?”
One of the leading human resource professionals in Canadian cannabis, Alison McMahon founded Cannabis at Work with hopes of helping bridge the industry’s education gap. In the three years since she set out with that earnest goal, her role in cannabis has grown, like the sector around her, to include both a medical and recreational arm. In addition to educating employers about workplace impairment, Cannabis at Work is quickly becoming a top staffing agency for the Canadian cannabis industry.
Marcus Richardson doesn’t pull punches. The first time we met was at a party in the backyard of a mansion in Toronto. He was nestled in the corner unit of an outdoor sectional – the best seat in the house, as far as I could see. When a space opened up on the couch, I slid in and struck up a conversation. I had no idea who I was talking to, and I don’t think he liked me.
There are few places in the world more fitting for a cannabis conference than Niagara Falls. A fast and vibrant city, ensconced by some of the quietest and richest agricultural lands the Canadian countryside has to offer, the natural beauty of Niagara Falls proved once again an inviting place for the second annual Grow Up Conference.
The days of cannabis journalism dominated by pothead stories on how to roll joints and profiles of cannabis-loving rappers are making way for a new kind of reportage in Canada: business journalism mixed with deep peerings into the wider culture of cannabis.
Jay Rosenthal is the professional archetype the cannabis industry once found it hard to attract: educated, intelligent, and insightful. As the co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis, Rosenthal has brought this new space 20 years of experience in media, business and politics – a career that has carried him from his home in Boston, to Washington, Silicon Valley, and finally, his adoptive home of Toronto. We caught up with him recently to discuss pot stocks, the significance of concentrates to consumers, and the future of the cannabis industry. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Cannabis is blazing a number of new trails. Across the industry, novel conventions are being set for what cannabis is, and who engages with it. As one of the strongest examples of the progressive nature of the plant and its culture, the cannabis industry is home to a strong number of female representatives – from executives and entrepreneurs, to influencers and activists.
Jon Liedtke is a passionate guy. Over the phone from his home in Windsor, Ontario, his voice rarely dips below an excited tone. For anyone close to cannabis, he’s easy to like. A man with equal parts charm and knowledge, Liedtke can hold a room, which is a fitting trait for the owner of the world’s largest vape lounge.
Whether looking at the commercial or cultural sides of the cannabis space, the potential is clearly visible. Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects for the adult-use market is a reality that has already started to take shape in states like California and Colorado – cannabis tourism. A far shot from conventional, this expanding model includes bus tours, camping, and cannabis friendly lodgings cleverly called, “bud and breakfasts.”
When Carol Gardner brought her English bulldog Max Daddy home for the first time, the Portland resident noticed how her new pet was hobbling around in pain. “He couldn’t walk because his joints were deteriorated,” the 72-year-old says in an interview. “The vet had given him Prozac so he was really out of it.”
Travis Lane has dipped his feet in both worlds. As one of the most respected craft cannabis growers on the West Coast, Lane spent the last decade developing his cultivation techniques and passing his wisdom on to a generation of green thumbs. In recent years, his resume has expanded to include titles like entrepreneur, consultant, and instructor. As Canada readies to welcome reform on October 17, we caught up with Lane to discuss his new projects, a changing of the times in British Columbia, and the future of legal cannabis in Canada.
These days, there are more colleges and universities than ever offering specialty cannabis courses. The diversity of programs – focussing on everything from cannabis cultivation to marketing – is impressive. Spanning nearly every aspect of this robust industry, there are now dozens of courses and colleges looking to accelerate students’ entry into the cannabis space.
Across Canada, entrepreneurs are looking at a new niche business growing rapidly thanks to growing interest in the country’s cannabis landscape: tours and specialized cannabis-heavy experiences.
As cannabis legalization rolled out across Canada, a new employment sector was also created, with trimmers, growers and quality assurance specialists finding work coast to coast. But the average Canadian public consumer will be chatting more often with the cannabis employee on the front lines: the budtender.
In 2018 we were treated to dozens of cannabis-friendly events that impacted both medical and recreational consumers across the world. We pared it down to the top 7 stories that you should know about right now, in order to better inform you for how cannabis will again be top-of-mind for many countries in 2019.
The path to cannabis legalization in Canada is paved with dank intentions.
With recreational cannabis winning the lion’s share of attention with cannabis legalization in Canada, the medical cannabis program faces an uncertain future. But it could still thrive, thanks to health care plans and older Canadians.
When Barinder Rasode watched cancer ravage her friend’s mother, it left a distinct impression on the Surrey, B.C. woman. But for a different reason than you may think: the Surrey native also saw how the cancer sufferer used cannabis in her final years to help ease the pain.