Everything You Need To Know About Legal Cannabis in Canada
Did you know Canada is the only country offering legal places to blaze (despite what you think you know, cannabis is pretty much illegal in the Netherlands).
How much cannabis are you legally allowed to purchase in Canada?
Are you ready for it? No matter where you are in Canada, you can legally possess, carry, and share (with other adults, obviously) 30 grams of cannabis. If you’re trying to wrap your head around just how much that is, it is about 60 to 75 pre-rolled joints. Depending on where you are in the country, it could cost anywhere from 160-400 Canadian dollars.
What’s the legal smoking age?
In most provinces across Canada, the legal age to purchase and consume marijuana is 19. However, in Alberta the legal age is 18, and the newly elected government in Quebec raised the minimum age to 21.
So can you just smoke anywhere you want in Canada?
In Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, the law states that people can smoke cannabis where they can smoke cigarettes. Recently, Halifax designated 84 designated toking zones on municipal property throughout the Halifax region. The exact locations can be found via this map from the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Still unsure and don’t want to be fined or ticketed? This Wikipedia entry does a good job of breaking down province by province where you can smoke, without issue. Plus if you’ve got time on your hands, take a minute to read over the full Cannabis Act, province by province. It’s a long read, but a useful one if you plan to visit.
What about delivery and online ordering?
If the thought of going into a retail setting overwhelms you, you have options! Some provinces and territories offer online cannabis sales where you can have it delivered to your hotel or Airbnb for arrival within a matter of days. The other option is delivery, which is available in Ontario via leafythings.com or websites like collingwoodcannabis.co , a service that provides both business-to-business and business-to-consumer deliveries.
Can I smoke in hotels or AirBNBs?
Although legalization took place in Canada, Airbnb still has been noticeably silent on what exactly their policy is, with no official policy listed on their website.
Airbnb really is leaving the decision in their host's hands and how they feel about smoke, and moreover having cannabis in their homes. Across Canada, many hotels and rental landlords are banning cannabis. Before legalization, many condo boards were writing in rules to clamp down on cannabis use indoors. So the host’s policies really depend on where Airbnb is located and how they feel about cannabis in their space. You’ll often find that hosts will use keywords like “420-friendly,” “cannabis-friendly,” or “green-friendly” in their posting to indicate that smoking a little toke here and there is totally fine.
If that seems like a lot of work, check out Bud and Breakfast, an Airbnb-style site dedicated to providing folks with cannabis-friendly places to stay. Right now there are over 30 Canadian hosts, including places to stay in Ontario and Montreal. Following a similar path is Dank Destinations, which currently has just one listing for Canada (in Calgary). The listing (a chain hotel) indicates that cannabis is permitted and “smoking is allowed in the designated outside area.” If you’re looking for something a bit more high-end, check out Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa in Haliburton, Ontario. Dubbed Canada’s first cannabis-friendly resort, the property has lakeside views and tons of areas to smoke peacefully.
What about edibles and cannabis-infused meals?
Cannabis 2.0 products -- which included vape pens, beverages, edibles, and topicals -- first became available to consumers in some provinces in December 2019. Many people were anxiously waiting for this second wave of Canada's cannabis legalization process to hit. In January alone the Ontario Cannabis Store generated approximately $4.3 million in sales from the second-wave of cannabis products, according to a statement issued to the Financial Post. Deloitte has estimated that edibles and other alternative cannabis products would potentially make $2.7 billion Canadian dollars. Although the rollout onto retailer shelves was slow but steady, consumers seem enthusiastic about what they’ve been able to get their hands on including gummies, chocolate bars, cookies, cannabis-infused tea, infused waters, vapes, and more.
So since you can purchase edibles in-store, does this mean you can go to a bar/restaurant and have an infused meal? Not quite. Similar to smoke lounges and compassionate clubs, Health Canada has said that the Cannabis Act will maintain control over all edible products made from cannabis mixed with food ingredients, which means restaurant meals would be excluded from legal sale.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t DIY or underground infused dinners taking place around the country or infused cocktails with CBD being made somewhere. In Toronto, byMINISTRY and dirt are two of the go-to high-dining and high-concept cannabis events in the city. In Edmonton, chef Daniel Huber hosts a pop-up dinner for guests via his Edmonton Cannabis Dinner Club, and Travis Petersen, a former contestant on MasterChef Canada, started The Nomad Cook, where he hosts dinners for guests across Canada on a pop-up basis.
Should I try to bring some back on the plane with me?
So if you’re traveling within Canada, going from one province to another, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has confirmed that 30 grams (aka the legal amounts of recreational cannabis) will be allowed on checked or carry-on baggage on domestic flights.
If you’re traveling elsewhere, well that still remains illegal although if you’re really thinking about taking it across, you may want to refer to some of these handy tips. Just remember: the United States border authorities will likely not quiz you on your smoking habits whilst away. So don’t sweat it.
However, one thing to remember: The US Border Services has gone on record reminding folks that the United States still considers cannabis to be an illegal substance. Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisors were instructed to take away or deny passes to Canadian travellers who admitted to using cannabis, have purchased the drug, or been involved in legalized production. So it’s something to consider and be aware of.