Canada’s New Cannabis Laws and Regulations

Cannabis Laws in Canada

Cannabis Regulations regarding cannabis, process of legalization, cannabis in provinces and territories, and driving laws.

As set out in the Cannabis Regulations:

  • licences will be required for:
    • cultivating and processing cannabis
    • sale of cannabis for medical purposes
    • analytical testing of and research with cannabis
  • permits will be required to import or export cannabis for:
    • scientific or medical purposes, or
    • industrial hemp
  • licence holders will be subject to strict physical and personnel security requirements
  • plain packaging will be required for cannabis products:
    • the Regulations set out strict requirements for:
      • logos
      • colours
      • branding
    • cannabis products must also be labelled with:
      • mandatory health warnings
      • standardized cannabis symbol
      • specific information about the product
  • access to cannabis for medical purposes will continue to be provided for patients who need it:
    • the Regulations will substantively incorporate the current rules for access to cannabis for medical purposes, as set out in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations
    • certain changes have been made to create consistency with rules for non-medical use of cannabis, to improve patient access and to reduce the risk of abuse of the system
  • manufacturers of prescription drugs containing cannabis, while primarily subject to the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations, will also be subject to certain regulatory requirements set out in the Cannabis Regulations.


Feds announce date of legalization

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadians will be able to consume marijuana recreationally starting on Oct. 17, 2018.


“One of the things that we heard very clearly from the provinces is that they need a certain amount of time to get their bricks and mortar stores, and their online sales ready. Producers need time to be able to actually prepare for a regimented and successful implementation of the regime.”

Aurora Cannabis Aurora Sky facility at the Edmonton International Airport. Shaughn Butts / Postmedia

“This is something that we want to get right,” Trudeau told reporters.  “By giving the provinces more time to ensure that they are fully ready for the day of coming into force of this legislation, it will be a smooth success in all the ways that we can hope for.”

Upon coming into force, adults in Canada will be legally allowed to:

  • purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from either a provincially or territorially regulated retailer, or — where this option is not available — directly from a federally licensed producer;
  • possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or its equivalent in public;
  • share up to 30 grams (or its equivalent) of legal cannabis and legal cannabis products with other adults;
  • cultivate up to four plants at home (four plants total per household); and
  • prepare varying types of cannabis products (e.g., edibles) at home for personal use provided that no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process.

e Source: The Government of Canada

Timeframe coming soon

The government initially suggested July 1 as the date for retail sales to begin but the timeline was pushed back as senators debated the bill at length.

Until the bill receives royal assent — the last procedural step of the legislative process — it will be illegal to transport cannabis. So the federal government believes it will take weeks to formally establish a distribution system that will allow producers to transport their product to provincially-run stores or, depending on the province, to private retailers.


Editor’s comment:

Why did they not select a more memorable date (i.e. October 7th – 710)?