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Offences and penalties under provincial cannabis law

Region: Ontario Answer # 2333

While the federal Cannabis Act regulates the production, possession, distribution and sale of cannabis across Canada, including criminal driving offences, each province and territory is responsible for developing its own regulations regarding the sale and distribution of cannabis. They can also add additional restrictions to the federal legislation, for example increasing the age of access.

Individual municipalities in each province can also pass bylaws to regulate the use of cannabis locally.

Provincial cannabis laws include a number of offences and penalties, such as for:

  • selling cannabis to minors,
  • smoking cannabis in a prohibited place,
  • not properly transporting cannabis in a vehicle, and
  • driving while impaired by cannabis.

Alberta

Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis sets out the laws for public consumption and possession of cannabis in Alberta. Other provincial laws, including the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act and An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol Impaired Driving (not yet in force) list offences regarding consuming cannabis in public or in a vehicle. Penalties for offences have not yet been legislated.

British Columbia

The BC Cannabis Control and Licensing Act creates a number of provincial cannabis rules and offences, including:

  • sets minimum age to buy, possess, or consume cannabis
  • prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping everywhere tobacco smoking and vaping are prohibited
  • prohibits the use of cannabis on school properties and in vehicles
  • allows adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household which may result in a fine ranging from $2,000 to $100,000, imprisonment of three to 12 months, or both

Manitoba

The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act is the provincial law regarding the distribution and use of cannabis in Manitoba. Rules under the Act include:

  • a person must not cultivate cannabis at his or her residence
  • smoking or vaping cannabis is only allowed in a private residences (including backyards)
  • it is illegal to grow cannabis at home

Provincial offences result in preset fines ranging from $1113 for Failing a drug screening test as a novice driver, to $2,542 for Supplying cannabis to a young person under 19.

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, Bill 16: Cannabis Control Act controls the consumption, distribution and use of cannabis. It establishes many rules, including:

  • the legal age to purchase, possess, cultivate or consume cannabis is 19 years
  • consuming cannabis in public is not permitted
  • Cannabis NB is the only legal retailer
  • Cannabis NB stores are restricted to people aged 19 and older
  • people aged 19 and older may have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in their possession when outside their home
  • in the home, cannabis must be kept secured and inaccessible to minors
  • people aged 19 and older may grow up-to four plants on their own property for their personal use

If an offence under this Act continues for more than one day, the offender will have to pay the minimum fine set by the Provincial Offences Procedure Act – multiplied by the number of days during which the offence continues, up-to a maximum.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Cannabis Control Act (currently Bill 20: An Act Respecting the Control and Sale of Cannabis), along with amendments to the Highway Traffic Act and the Smoke-Free Environment Act, 2005 regulate various activities in Newfoundland and Labrador, including offences and penalties under the Acts.

For example, rules under the Act include:

  • the legal age to purchase, possess, cultivate or consume cannabis is 19 years,
  • a person cannot sell (or otherwise supply) more than 30 grams of dried cannabis or the federal equivalent amount to a person on any one occasion
  • cannabis cannot be consumed in a public place or vehicle, unless permitted specifically.

Fines range from $200-$100,000 depending on the nature and severity of the offence.

Northwest Territories

The Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act, not yet in force, is the provincial law regarding the distribution and use of cannabis in the NWT.

Rules under the Act include:

  • selling or offering to sell cannabis to a minor is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction
  • initially cannabis will only be sold through liquor stores,
  • once the Act is in force, smoking cannabis in defined public places will be prohibited. The law provides the definition of a public place. and will include additional areas such as areas frequented by children, youth, and crowds.

Nova Scotia

The Cannabis Control Act, An Act to Provide for the Regulation and Sale of Cannabis is Nova Scotia’s provincial cannabis legislation. Rules under the Act include:

  • making it an offence to smoke cannabis in prohibited places (under the Smoke-free Places Act),
  • adults can grow up to four cannabis plants per household,
  • the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is the only authorized retailer of cannabis in Nova Scotia.

Examples of penalties under the Act include:

  • a fine of $150 if you are under 19 and caught in possession of cannabis,
  • if you sell or give cannabis to someone under 19 or involve them in a cannabis-related crime you may be fined up-to $10,000,
  • a fine of up-to $2,000 for smoking cannabis in a prohibited place.

Nunavut

Nunavut’s Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Statutes Amendments Act are the provincial laws regarding the distribution and use of cannabis in Nunavut.

Under the Acts:

  • the legal age to purchase, possess, cultivate or consume cannabis is 19 years
  • the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission is allowed to sell cannabis remotely (on-line and by phone), in physical stores, and through an Agent
  • the Government of Nunavut is allowed to licence establishments that sell cannabis, including stores and lounges

Penalties under the Cannabis Act range from fines of between $200 for less serious offences, up-to $100,000 and imprisonment for more serious offences.

Ontario

Ontario’s Cannabis Act, 2017 defines the rules regarding the sale, use, and possession of cannabis along with how the rules are enforced and the penalties; and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), regulates where it is prohibited to smoke or vape cannabis in the province.

Offences under the Cannabis Act include:

  • people under 19 years of age are not allowed to possess, consume, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • only Ontario cannabis retailers can sell or distribute cannabis
  • landlords cannot knowingly allow a rented premises to be used in the prohibited sale or distribution of cannabis
  • it is illegal to sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 19 years

People convicted under the Cannabis Act are liable to fines (ranging from about $200 for less serious offences to $500,000 for the most serious), and jail time of up-to two years less a day. Under the SFOA, if you are convicted of smoking or vaping where it is not allowed, you may be fined $1,000 for a first offence, and $5,000 for any further offences. 

Prince Edward Island

The Cannabis Control Act is PEI’s law regulating the distribution and use of cannabis in province, and the Smoke-Free Places Act regulates where it is prohibited to smoke or vape cannabis in the province.

Rules under the Cannabis Control Act include:

  • people under 19 years of age are not allowed to possess, consume, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • it is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis (or its equivalent) when in public
  • it is illegal to sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 19 years
  • adults are allowed to have four (4) cannabis plants per household

In PEI, penalties for breaking cannabis laws include tickets, fines, or charges, based on the seriousness of the offence. Fines range from about $200-$20,000.

Quebec

Quebec’s The Cannabis Regulation Act regulates the sale, purchase, consumption, and use of cannabis and sets out offences and penalties.

Rules under the Cannabis Regulation Act include:

  • people under 18 years of age are not allowed to possess, consume, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • it is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis (or its equivalent) when in public
  • It is prohibited to smoke cannabis in certain open or enclosed spaces
  • it is illegal to sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 18 years
  • it is illegal to possess a cannabis plant or cultivate cannabis for personal use

Fines for breaking cannabis laws range greatly, based on the seriousness of the offence. Fines range from about $200-$1,000,000.

Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act, currently Bill 121, regulates the sale, purchase, consumption, and use of cannabis and sets out offences and penalties. It has amended regulations to allow for the ticketing of numerous offences under the Act.

Rules under the Act include:

  • people under 19 years of age are not allowed to possess, consume, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • it is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis (or its equivalent) when in public
  • It is prohibited to consume cannabis in public places
  • it is illegal to sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 19 years
  • adults are allowed to have four (4) cannabis plants per household

Penalties under the Act include:

  • a fine of not more than $25,000 for an individual and not more than $100,000 for a corporation;
  • imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months; or
  • both a fine and imprisonment.

Yukon

Yukon’s Cannabis Control and Regulation Act governs the distribution, retail, consumption, personal cultivation and possession of of non-medical cannabis in Yukon.

Rules under the Act include:

  • people under 19 years of age are not allowed to possess, consume, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • it is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis (or its equivalent) when in public
  • at this time, it is prohibited to consume cannabis in public places
  • it is illegal to sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 19 years
  • the Yukon Liquor Corporation is responsible for the distribution of cannabis
  • adults are allowed to have four (4) cannabis plants per household

Penalties under the Act include:

  • a fine of not more than $250,000;
  • imprisonment for a term of up-to two years; or
  • both a fine and imprisonment.

View other sections of Cannabis Law for more information or visit Cannabis Links.

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


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