Canada Cannabis Legalization: A Guide to Marijuana Laws by Province

(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Going into effect on October 17, Canada’s Cannabis Act will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis across the country, allowing every adult Canadian the right to possess and share up to 30 grams of marijuana in public (though public consumption is, for now, forbidden). Further specifics of legalization—from where marijuana can be sold and grown to the minimum age for purchase—have been left to provinces to set for themselves.

Below you’ll find a province-by-province guide to Canadian cannabis regulations. To jump to a specific province’s regulations, click the province name below. (And if you’d like to see all this info placed in a helpful-for-comparison grid format, check out the creation of Canadian cannabis lawyer par excellence Trina Fraser.)

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Alberta • British Columbia • Manitoba • New Brunswick • Newfoundland and Labrador • Northwest Territories • Nova Scotia • Nunavut • Ontario • Prince Edward Island • Quebec • Saskatchewan • Yukon

Alberta

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Alberta
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Alberta Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis

Cannabis distributor: the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in private standalone stores and through a government-run website. Cannabis stores may sell marijuana accessories (bongs, pipes, rolling papers), but co-location with alcohol is forbidden. No one under 18 may enter a retail cannabis store.

Minimum age for purchase: 18

Possession restrictions: Those 18 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. You can’t transport cannabis unless it is closed packaging that is out of reach of the driver and other occupants of the vehicle.

Consumption restrictions: No consumption on any hospital, school or child-care facility property. No consumption where cigarette smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household (although landlords and condo boards may be able to place restrictions on the practice).

Online sales: Yes, through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission website.

Points of interest: No minor may enter any licensed premises that sell marijuana, and proof of age must be requested for anyone that appears 25 year of age or younger. There will also be a 100 metre buffer between stores and schools, school reserves, and provincial health care facility.

Population: 4.15 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: There’s no cap of the number of allowable stores—although the Alberta government assumes there will be 250 stores in the first year. No person or entity can hold more than 15 per cent of retail cannabis license, which would come to 37 stores.

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British Columbia

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in British Columbia
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to British Columbia Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: Cannabis Control and Licensing Act & Cannabis Distribution Act

Cannabis distributor: the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in both government-run stores and privately-owned stores, with no-cohabitation with alcohol permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. Marijuana transported in a motor vehicle must be in a sealed package or inaccessible to vehicle occupants.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis use will be generally allowed in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. Smoking and vaping of non-medical marijuana will not be permitted in areas “frequented by children” such as parks, playgrounds, and community beaches. Marijuana consumption inside motor vehicles is forbidden. Local governments may set their own restrictions on consumption.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household (so long as the house is not also used as a daycare). Landlords and strata councils are able to place restrictions on or prohibit home cultivation.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website.

Point of interest: The government is indicating that Vancouver’s outlaw dispensaries, which the city has started to license, will be able to apply to continue selling marijuana, but the marijuana would have to be legally sourced. Also, the Council Chamber of Tofino, a district located on Vancouver Island, passed a proposed zoning amendment in June that would prohibit the use of any land or building for the commercial sale, production, and distribution of cannabis.

Population: 4.63 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: The province is placing no limit on the number of stores, but municipalities may limit or prohibit marijuana shops within their boundaries.

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Manitoba

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Manitoba
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Manitoba Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: the Safe & Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Harm Prevention Act

Cannabis distributor: the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in stores run by four licensed private entities that the province conditionally approved in February: Tokyo Smoke/Hiku, Delta-9 Cannabis/Canopy Growth, National Access Canada, and a fourth corporation that consists of Avana Canada, MediPharm Labs, and two First Nations communities.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. On moving boats, marijuana must be stored in a secure compartment.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption of cannabis in motor vehicles is prohibited.

Home-grow: Not permitted

Online sales: Yes. Private stores will be able to sell to residents of the province online.

Point of interests: The province’s request for proposals for private stores included a big emphasis on Indigenous ownership.

Population: 1.28 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: It’s not known how many stores each of the four entities will run, although it is likely they will each be able to run multiple stores.

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New Brunswick

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in New Brunswick
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to New Brunswick Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Management Corporation Act

Cannabis distributor: the Cannabis Management Corporation 

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in stores operated by New Brunswick Liquor, under its new subsidiary CannabisNB. Locations must be at least 300 metres away from schools, cannabis must be displayed under glass, and no overlap with alcohol sales permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public.

Consumption restrictions: Marijuana may only be consumed in private dwellings with consent of occupant.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants, which must be in a locked enclosure.

Points of interests: In private residences, personal-use cannabis is legally required to be kept under lock and key.

Online sales: Yes, through the CannabisNB website

Population: 753,914

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 20—three in Greater Moncton, two in each of Fredericton and Greater St. John, and one each in Oromocto, Bathurst, Miramichi, Sussex, St. Stephen, Rothesay, Edmundston, Sackville, Shediac, Richibucto, Tracadie, Perth-Andover, and Campbellton.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Newfoundland & Labrador
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Newfoundland and Labrador Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: An Act to Amend the Liquor Corporation Act

Cannabis distributor: the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold at privately owned stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Home-grow policy: Yes, up to four plants.

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis may only be consumed in private residences.

Points of interest: Ontario’s Canopy Growth has struck a supply and production agreement with the province, resulting in the company being given four retail-sale permits.

Online sales: Yes—through a government-run site at first, and through private retailers’ sites in the future

Population: 528, 448

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 24 locations have been approved to sell cannabis in the province.

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Northwest Territories

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Northwest Territories
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Northwest Territories Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislationLegalization and Regulation Implementation Act

Cannabis distributor: Northwest Territories Liquor Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will initially be sold through liquor stores.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. Marijuana in a vehicle must be unopened. Any opened marijuana package must be resealed and placed in a space in the vehicle inaccessible to others.

Consumption restrictions: Public smoking or vaping of marijuana will be banned in areas frequented by children and crowds, in vehicles, and anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants per household, but rental agreements and condominium bylaws can restrict cultivation.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Point of interest: As they can with liquor sales liquor, communities will have the ability to hold referendums to place restrictions or prohibitions on cannabis.

Number of brick-and-mortar stores: TBD, although there are seven liquor stores and one liquor warehouse.

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Nova Scotia

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Nova Scotia
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Nova Scotia Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: Cannabis Control Act

Cannabis distributor: Nova Scotia Liquor Corp (NLSC)

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold in NSLC stores, including existing NSLC liquor outlets.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis smoking is forbidden in all indoor public places and many outdoor places, including such as school and daycare grounds, bar and restaurant patios, parks, beaches, sports venues, and playgrounds.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through the NSLC website

Population: 942,926

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Twelve, with two in Halifax and one store each in Amherst, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, New Glasgow, Sydney River, Truro, and Yarmout

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Nunavut

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Nunavut
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Nunavut Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: Cannabis Statutes Amendment Act

Cannabis distributor: Nunavut Liquor Commission

Retail sales: No retail sales are planned for 2018—the government wants to hear from communities first. The government is proposing to be allowed to outsource operations, such as sales, to privately-run “agents.”

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. The government is considering limits on the storage of marijuana in order to limit stockpiling for the purpose of illegally reselling it. However, there will be no “dry” communities as there are with alcohol.

Consumption restrictions: No marijuana consumption in vehicles, school grounds, hospitals, health centre grounds, playgrounds, and any where else tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Home-grow: No home growing is permitted.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Point of interest: The Western Convenience Store Association, representing over 7,000 such stores in Northern provinces including Nunavut, have lobbied the government to sell cannabis.

Population: 35,944

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Zero in 2018

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Ontario

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Ontario
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Ontario Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Act, 2017 and The Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017

Cannabis distributor: The Ontario Retail Cannabis Corporation (ORCC)

Retail sales: Starting October 17, cannabis will be sold online through the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store website. Privately-owned physical retail outlets will follow on April 1, 2019.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. Marijuana may only be transported in vehicles if it is “packed in baggage that is fastened.”

Consumption restrictions: No consumption in vehicles, enclosed public spaces, or workplaces.

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through the Ontario Retail Cannabis Corporation website

Points of interests: The Ontario government is considering allowing cannabis consumption in hotel rooms—including recreational use.

Population: 13.6 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Private retail stores are set to launch by April 1, 2019, and while the province is placing no limit on the number of stores, municipalities may “opt-out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries”.

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Prince Edward Island

(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Prince Edward Island Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: An Act to Respond to the Legalization of Cannabis

Cannabis distributor: PEI Liqour Control Commission

Retail sales: Cannabis will be sold at government-run stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. Marijuana can only be transported in motor vehicles in unopened packaging, and where an open package is being transported it must be secure and inaccessible to anyone in the vehicle.

Consumption restrictions: Restricted to private residences, “with a potential for expansion to designated public spaces at a later date.”

Home-grow: Yes, up to four plants

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Population: 152,021

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: Four, in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and West Prince

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Quebec

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Quebec
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Quebec Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Regulation Act

Cannabis distributor: The Quebec Alcohol Corporation

Retail sales: Government-supplied cannabis will be sold in government-run stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 18

Possession restrictions: Those 18 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. Youth who possess even a small amount of marijuana will be liable to a fine.

Consumption restrictions: Cannabis is prohibited in a number of enclosed spaces, including workplaces, post-secondary educational institutions, enclosed spaces where sports, recreational, judicial, cultural or artistic activities or conferences are held, as well as common areas of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings.

Home-grow policy: Not permitted

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Points of interests: Quebec is the only province to limit possession in a private place to 150 grams, on top of the federal 30-gram public limit. Federal legislation generally allows cultivation of up to four plants but the province of Quebec is prohibiting it completely within their boundaries.

Population: 8.215 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 15 stores by mid-2018, with more than 150 within two years.

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Saskatchewan

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Saskatchewan
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Saskatchewan Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act

Cannabis distributor: Licensed cannabis producers will sell directly to private retailers, with the market regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority.

Retail sales: Cannabis from Canadian LPs will be sold in private-owned stores, with no alcohol co-habitation permitted.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Adults can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption in vehicles and in public places will be prohibited.

Home-grow: Yes, although landlords and condo boards may be able to restrict the growing of marijuana.

Online sales: Yes, through retailers’ websites.

Points of interest: Provincial legislation will require cannabis being transported in a motor vehicle to be either in an unopened package, or secured in an inaccessible space (AKA the trunk)

Population: 1.13 million

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 51 retail permits were given to locations in 32 communities.

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Yukon

Marijuana Legalization in Canada: Marijuana laws in Yukon
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

Guide to Yukon Marijuana Laws & Information

Provincial legislation: The Cannabis Control and Regulation Act

Cannabis distributor: The Yukon Liquor Corporation

Retail sales: Government-supplied cannabis will be sold first in government-run stores and later in privately-owned stores. Neither will allow cohabitation with alcohol.

Minimum age for purchase: 19

Possession restrictions: Those 19 and up can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. A person possessing marijuana must take reasonable measures to ensure that a young person cannot access the cannabis.

Consumption restrictions: Consumption to privately-owned residences and adjoining properties where permitted by the owner.

Home-grow: Yes, with the mandate that plants must be out of public view.

Online sales: Yes, through a government-run website

Points of interests: Private retailers must be approved by the province’s Cannabis Licensing Board.

Population: 35,874.

Number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores: 1 to start

 

Editor’s note: As we were assembling this roundup, Trina Fraser at Brazeau Seller Law tweeted out her own such roundup, which was a helpful comparison and you should absolutely follow her on Twitter.