Accessing legal cannabis

In Ontario, individuals aged 19 and over can purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS). The OCS online channel includes a verification system that ensures safe home delivery for cannabis products. A wholesale distribution network to supply cannabis to legal private stores in Ontario will be established once legislative requirements are put in place. The private retail model for cannabis is slated to take effect on April 1st, 2019.

It is unknown at this time whether municipalities within the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region will choose to opt-out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries. The provincial government will support municipalities to help keep communities safe.

Ontario plans to introduce an Official Ontario Cannabis Retailer Seal that will help consumers identify legitimate retailers where federally quality-assured products can be found. The federal government has set regulations on packaging and labelling information and restricted advertising. Retailers will have to ensure that products are not visible to children, and that all sales be made over the counter.

Medicinal cannabis is available through a federally licensed producer online or over the phone. Learn more about accessing cannabis for medicinal purposes.

For more information about the legalization of non-medicinal cannabis in Ontario, visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.

Youth access

Anybody who shares, sells, gives, or otherwise supplies cannabis to anybody under the age of 19 may be liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both.

A young person of less than 19 years old who possesses cannabis may be liable to a fine or participation in a diversion program, or both.

Possession of cannabis

In Ontario, people aged 19 and over can possess up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of non-medicinal cannabis in public at any time. Anyone carrying more than 30 grams could be subject to a ticket. It’s also possible that the cannabis over the limit could be seized.

In Canada, possession for medicinal purposes is limited to the lesser of a 30-day supply or 150 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent amount if in another form.

Places of use

The government of Ontario has introduced legislation about where individuals can consume cannabis in public. Please click here for details or visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.

Landlords and condominium boards can prohibit both the cultivation and smoking of cannabis in residential units. Under our human rights legislation, some accommodation should be made for disabled individuals who consume cannabis in their units for medical reasons.

Personal cultivation (growing cannabis)

In Ontario, people 19 and over can grow up to four plants per residence (not per person) for non-medicinal purposes. Legal seeds and seedlings are available for purchase from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

You can receive a licence from Health Canada to grow medicinal cannabis on your own, or designate someone else to grow it on your behalf.

Driving

In Canada, operating a motor vehicle while impaired is a criminal offence. Canadian legislation authorizes law enforcement officers, following a legal roadside stop, to demand that a driver provide an oral fluid sample if they reasonably suspect a driver has drugs in their body. Learn more about Oral Fluid Screening Devices.

Oral fluid tests can be used to enforce Ontario’s zero tolerance requirements, prohibiting any driver of a motor vehicle from having any cannabis in their system if:

  • they are 21 or under
  • they have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
  • the vehicle they are driving requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)
  • they are driving a road-building machine

If you have legal authorization to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, you will not be subject to Ontario’s zero tolerance drug requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers. However, you can still face penalties and/or criminal charges if a police officer determines that your ability to drive has been impaired.

It’s also important to know that any medicinal or non-medicinal cannabis within your vehicle must be fastened closed and not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle. All methods of cannabis consumption (e.g. smoking, vaping, ingesting) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or under a person’s care or control are prohibited (subject to exemptions that may be prescribed by regulation).

Territorial differences

Provinces and territories have the ability to set rules and added restrictions. Ontario has set the minimum age to 19. Other provinces, like our close neighbours in Quebec, have a minimum age of 18.

When you’re travelling within Canada, it’s your responsibility to know the laws of the province or territory you are going to. For example, if an 18-year-old crosses into Ontario from Quebec with cannabis, they may be subject to a fine because, in Ontario, you need to be at least 19 years old to possess cannabis.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) has passed the Akwesasne Interim Cannabis Regulation. Regulations apply to any person in MCA’s jurisdiction whether they are a member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne or not. The regulations include rules for possessing cannabis, growing, selling or distributing cannabis, as well as guidance on the enforcement of the regulation.

Cannabis and international travel

It is illegal now and will remain illegal to transport cannabis across Canada's international borders, even if you’re authorized to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. In most countries, cannabis is illegal. However, even if you’re travelling to or from places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis, it is still illegal to take cannabis across the border.

For example, if you’re travelling to the United States, it doesn’t matter if the state you are travelling to has legalized or decriminalized cannabis – it is against the law to bring it across the border into the United States. This is also true if you are returning to Canada with cannabis in your possession – it is against the law to bring it across the border into Canada.

Bringing cannabis across the border can result in serious criminal penalties, including arrest and prosecution. In the United States and other countries, it could also result in your being denied future entry into the country.

Cannabis and the border – Don’t travel with it