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Criminal offences and penalties under the Cannabis Act

Region: Ontario Answer # 2331

The ​Cannabis Act regulates the production, possession, distribution and sale of cannabis across Canada. Drug-impaired driving will remain illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada. In addition, new testing powers and penalties for drug-impaired driving allow police officers to test oral fluid or demand a blood sample if they reasonably suspect that a driver is impaired by drugs.

Penalties for offences under the Cannabis Act range from warnings and tickets for minor offences, to criminal prosecution and imprisonment for more serious offences. The Act also includes offences that are specifically aimed at people who make cannabis available to youth.

What is legal under the Act?

Under the Act, adults who are 18 years or older (depending on the province or territory) can legally:

  • possess up-to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public;
  • share up-to 30 grams with other adults;
  • purchase fresh and dried cannabis, and cannabis oils from authorized provincial or territorial retailers;
  • grow for personal use up-to 4 plants per residence (not per person) from licensed seeds or seedlings; and
  • make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products.

The amount of cannabis an adult is legally allowed to possess under the Act is based on dried cannabis.

Equivalent to dried cannabis amounts

Under the Act, one (1) gram of dried cannabis is equal to:

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

This means, for example, that an adult 18 years of age or older, can legally possess 150 grams of fresh cannabis.

Criminal offences and penalties

Possession over the limit

  • tickets for small amounts
  • up-to 5 years in prison for large amounts

Illegal distribution or sale

  • tickets for small amounts
  • up-to 14 years in prison for large amounts

Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits, or with combustible solvents

  • tickets for small amounts
  • up-to 14 years in prison

Taking cannabis across Canada’s borders

  • up-to 14 years in prison

Giving or selling cannabis to a person under 18 years old

  • up-to 14 years in prison

Using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence

  • up-to 14 years in prison

Offences regarding promotion and enticement of youth

To address the goal of discouraging cannabis use by youth, the Act prohibits:

  • products that appeal to youth
  • packaging or labelling that appeals to youth
  • selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines
  • promoting cannabis, except in limited circumstances where young people could not see the promotion


  • a fine of up-to $5 million, or
  • 3 years in jail

The Cannabis Act also contains two new criminal offences, one for giving or selling cannabis to a youth, and the other for involving a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence. Both new offences carry maximum penalties of 14 years in prison.

To erase your criminal record for simple cannabis possession or any other criminal charges, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.


For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .



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