Legalization | 09.27.2022

Road To Legalization: 10 Things That Are Still Illegal After Legalization

Legalization did not come as a free pass, there are still certain things that are illegal and punishable even with jail time.

Marijuana has been legal in Canada for some time now, thanks to the Cannabis Act, but there are still several activities that are illegal and could get you into trouble if you engage in them.

Although legalization does open many doors and makes consumption more flexible, it’s still not a free pass to do whatever one wishes. 

There are limits that legality brings to the table, and that cannot be skipped unless legal entanglements are desired; who wants that.

What is the Cannabis Act?

On October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal in Canada for adults over the age of 18, making it the second country in the world to legalize recreational use of the drug.

The Cannabis Act, introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, creates a legal framework to control the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada.

The Act is primarily intended to achieve these three objectives:

  • Keep cannabis out of the hands of young people.
  • To keep profits out of the hands of criminals
  • Protect public health and safety

What Is Legal

This depends on provincial or territorial restrictions, but in general, adults over the age of 18 are legally allowed to:

  • Possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public
  • Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  • Purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially licensed retailer
  • Grow, from licensed seeds or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per household for personal use
  • Making cannabis products, such as food and beverages, at home as long as no organic solvents are used to create concentrated products

Important Fact: As of October 17 – 2019, cannabis edibles and concentrates are legal for sale.

Things That Are Still Illegal

Photo by Alina Rosanova / Adobe Stock Photo

Here is the list of things related to cannabis that are still illegal despite the legalization of weed.

1. Carrying More Than 30 Grams In Public

Thirty grams is the limit people can have on their possessions in public places. However, Canadians can store more than 30 grams of cannabis or the equivalent in non-dried form in their homes.

The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison, according to the Cannabis Act.

2. No More Than Four Plants

Growing more than four recreational cannabis plants per household is illegal. If you live in a province or territory that allows home cultivation, make sure your home has no more than four plants.

That’s 4 plants per house. The house includes the patio, kitchen, garage, and all your other areas. We repeat: they are per house, not per person.

Fact: In Quebec and Manitoba you cannot grow any cannabis plants – sorry guys.

3. Selling Cannabis Without A License

If you have a good “crop,” it can be tempting to sell a few grams of weed to a friend to make a quick buck. Well, forget it. It’s also illegal.

Without a license, anyone selling cannabis to others can face heavy fines and jail time.

To avoid punishment, giving the weed to others for free and enjoying a good smoke session with friends is safer. But don’t let it exceed 30 grams. If it’s more than that amount, you could face the distribution laws of Bill C-45 and face up to 14 years in prison.

4. Crossing The Border With Weed

This ban works both ways, you can’t take marijuana out of the country, and you can’t bring it into the country either.

Canadians can travel with a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on domestic flights within Canada but cannot carry it with them when crossing international borders.

Despite legalization, it is also illegal for travelers to bring marijuana into Canada.

It is also a crime to possess recreational cannabis to export it. So keep it out of your luggage.

5. Distribute Cannabis To An Organization

Want to send your friend some weed? While it would be legal to give up to 30 grams to a person of legal age, doing so through the mail or a courier is illegal.

Unless expressly authorized, organizations cannot possess, distribute, sell, cultivate, propagate or harvest cannabis.

Tip: Canada Post allows individuals to send and receive a maximum of 30 grams of dried recreational cannabis as long as it is shared between adults.

6. Giving Weed To A Minor

It is an offense for anyone over the age of 18 to give or sell cannabis to a person under the age of 18. The offense is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

That means an 18-year-old passing a joint to his 17-year-old friend at a party could be charged with distributing marijuana to a minor. So think twice before passing that joint.

There are two criminal offenses related to supplying cannabis to young people:

  • Giving or selling cannabis to young people
  • Using a young person to commit a cannabis-related offense

7. Possessing A Flowering Plant In Public

It is legal to possess four flowering or budding cannabis plants in a private home – except in Manitoba and Quebec – but growers cannot travel in public with them.

Moving and want to take your home-grown cannabis plants with you? Please make sure they are free of buds and flowers.

Those caught in public with a budding or flowering cannabis plant can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

8. Possessing Any Kind Of "Illicit" Weed

You may be wondering, illicit cannabis? That’s right. Illicit cannabis means it was sold, produced, or distributed by someone who was not authorized to do so.

Confused? We get it. Some examples to bring clarity to the issue:

  • If someone buys marijuana from an unlicensed seller, they would be in possession of illicit cannabis
  • If a grower has more than four plants. It is illicit cannabis
  • If you live in Quebec or Manitoba and you grow anything for recreational purposes in your home, that’s illicit cannabis
  • If you buy more than 30 grams of dried recreational cannabis, that’s illicit cannabis

Persons convicted of possessing illicit cannabis can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.

9. Consume Anywhere In Public

Just because cannabis is legal does not mean Canadians can smoke wherever they want.

While cannabis can be consumed in some public places, regulations may vary at the municipal and provincial levels, so it is essential to always check with local laws.

10. Driving Under the Influence Of Cannabis

Like alcohol, driving under the influence of cannabis or any other drug will remain illegal.

It is an offense to have more than two nanograms per milliliter of THC in the blood within two hours of driving a motor vehicle.

There are several questionable aspects to this point. First, the science shows no consistent connection between THC blood levels and the impairment that might result from using THC.

In addition, each person eliminates THC from their body at a different rate; THC in some people may take days to disappear from the body completely.

Possession Limits For Cannabis Products

Photo by MOUTHWASH STUDIOS

The possession limits in the Cannabis Act are based on dried cannabis. Therefore, equivalents were developed for other cannabis products to identify their possession limit.

One (1) gram of dried cannabis can be equivalent to:

  • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 15 grams of edible product
  • 70 grams of liquid product
  • 25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
  • 1 cannabis plant seed

In short: adults can carry a maximum of 30 grams of recreational dried cannabis in public. But if you switch to other products, you will have to take into account the equivalent conversion.

Cannabis For Medical Purposes

The current regime for medical cannabis is different from what is mentioned here, and completely different restrictions and legal guidelines apply to it.

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