To ensure that recreational cannabis does not impact the province’s youth, Ontario passed several laws (on top of Canada’s existing laws set forth by The Cannabis Act) after much debate from the public and industry stakeholders.
These laws aim to regulate Ontario’s recreational cannabis industry and describe who can purchase, possess and consume recreational cannabis as well as how and where they can consume it.
Unlike in the United States where the minimum age limit for recreational cannabis is typically 21, Ontario has set their legal age minimum for recreational cannabis at 19, the same age the province adheres to for the sale of alcohol and tobacco products.
Adults 19 years of age or older are legally allowed to possess a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in cannabis oils. It’s important to note that at this this point in time, only dried marijuana flower and various forms of cannabis oils are available for purchase from licensed government producers.
Cannabis edibles and concentrates have been intentionally left out of recreational marijuana laws in Canada as lawmakers are concerned about their impact on public health and safety. Despite the illegality of these products on the October 17, 2018 legalization day, there are talks that Canadian Parliament will revisit cannabis consumption methods in 2019 where edibles will likely be approved.
As of April 1, 2019 consumers have two legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis – online via the Ontario Cannabis Store or at one of the province's authorized retail stores. Consumers 19 years of age or older are legally allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in other cannabis products through online or in-person sales and can expect safe, secure delivery of any orders placed over the Internet. To facilitate an online order, consumers must present identification verifying their age and accept the package at the door. To ensure public safety, no deliveries will be left at houses unattended.
When it comes to legal cannabis consumption, adults of age have several options. Individuals may choose to consume legal cannabis in private residences, outdoor places that also allow tobacco, designated hotel and lodging rooms, residential boats and vehicles, scientific research facilities and controlled areas in places like retirment homes and veterans' facilities.
Cannabis consumption is illegal in the following places:
- Indoor common areas
- Enclosed public places
- Enclosed Workplaces
- Non-designated guest rooms in hotels
- Schools or other places where children gather
- Vehicles and boats
- Publicly owned spaces
For more information, please visit Ontario's cannabis legalization page.
It’s important to understand that recreational cannabis and medical cannabis are two completely separate entities in Ontario that abide by different sets of laws and rules. Medical cannabis is regulated by the Federal Government and patients seeking more information about accessing it should contact Health Canada.
Driving Under the Influence
Similar to alcohol, it is illegal to drive under the influence of recreational cannabis or to consume it while driving. Driving under the influence of cannabis is treated very strictly in Ontario and violators could face the following penalties:
- License suspension
- Possible vehicle impoundment
- Fines and/or jail time
Click here to learn more about impaired driving in Canada.
In addition to the illegality of driving under the influence of cannabis, young, novice (21 years old or younger) and commercial drivers (operating road-building machines or vehicles that require an A-F driver’s license or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration) are not allowed to have any cannabis in their system while driving.
Click here to learn more about Canada’s young, novice and commercial driver policies.
Cannabis in the Workplace
In an effort to maintain safety in the workplace, Ontario has made consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace strictly illegal.
Adults of age are legally allowed to grow up to four plants per residence and purchase cannabis seeds online from the Ontario Cannabis Store.