In preparation for nationwide Canadian cannabis legalization on October 17, 2018, British Columbia enacted its own set of marijuana rules and regulations, known as the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
The legislation serves as the framework for British Columbia’s emerging cannabis infrastructure and is aimed at ensuring public safety for both adults and children.
The legal minimum age for the purchase, possession and consumption of recreational cannabis has been set at 19 years old. This age is consistent with British Columbia’s alcohol and tobacco laws as well.
As of October 17, 2018, adults 19 years of age and older are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of recreational (non-medical, as defined in British Columbia law) cannabis in a public place.
British Columbians of legal age are permitted to purchase cannabis at private retail stores, government-operated retail stores or government-operated online retailers. The British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) operates and oversees public retail dispensaries and online stores while the Liquor and Cannabis Regulations Branch (LCRB) is tasked with licensing private dispensaries and overseeing retail components.
British Columbia allows legal cannabis consumption in private residences as well as most public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. In an effort to reduce child and youth exposure to cannabis smoke, recreational cannabis consumption is banned in areas with high traffic of children such as schools, parks, playgrounds and sports fields. Additionally, consuming cannabis within a vehicle is not permitted in any circumstance.
The passing of recreational cannabis laws has no relationship with medicinal marijuana. All medical cannabis laws and programs will remain unchanged and is still regulated and operated by the Federal Government.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal in British Columbia. Additionally the province is devoted to increasing training and providing more resources for law enforcement to eliminate drug impaired driving. Anyone who is found to be driving under the influence will be placed on a 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP).
Adults 19 years or older are legally allowed to transport cannabis in their vehicle if they abide by the following rules:
- The cannabis in question must be from a licensed federal producer
- The cannabis must be in its original packaging, never opened
- The cannabis must not be readily available to the driver or any passengers
- There must not be more than 4 cannabis plants budding or flowering in the vehicle
Cannabis in the Workplace
Cannabis consumption is strictly illegal within workplaces, which are defined as any place where a person performs services in return for compensation.
Home cannabis cultivation is legal in British Columbia. Residents 19 years of age or older are legally allowed to grow up to 4 plants per household. These cannabis plants must be completely out of view from the public and individual landlords are allowed to restrict home growing within lease agreements. Homes that double as day-care facilities are prohibited from growing cannabis.