Is Cannabis Legal in Canada?

Cannabis is currently legal for medicinal purposes in Canada, and is expected to become legal for recreational use in July 2018. However, there are still some restrictions in place, so it’s important to understand the law before using cannabis.

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In 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The Cannabis Act, which took effect on October 17, 2018, made it legal for adults in Canada to possess and consume small amounts of cannabis (up to 30 grams). The legalization of cannabis has been a controversial issue in Canada for many years. Some people believe that it will help to reduce crime and keep people safe, while others believe that it will lead to more problems.

The Current Situation

As of October 17, 2018, cannabis is legal in Canada for both medical and recreational use. The Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, was passed by the Canadian Senate on June 7, 2018, and came into effect on October 17, 2018. Prior to this, cannabis was only legal for medical purposes.

Federal Legislation

In June 2018, the Government of Canada introduced legislation entitled Cannabis Act, Bill C-45. This Act would create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The Cannabis Act received royal assent on June 21, 2018 and will come into force on October 17, 2018.

The Cannabis Act sets out the following objectives:

– to protect public health and safety by establishing strict product safety and quality requirements;
– to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those who contravene the law; and
– to better protect young persons by restricting their access to cannabis.

The Cannabis Act would also establish two new offences: selling cannabis to a minor, and using a youth to commit a cannabis offence.

Provincial Legislation

In November 2018, the Cannabis Act came into force. This new federal legislation keeps cannabis illegal except for authorized medical or non-medical purposes.

The provinces and territories are responsible for regulating the production, distribution and sale of cannabis within their jurisdictions. As a result, there is some variation in how cannabis is regulated across the country.

Most provinces and territories have chosen to sell cannabis through government-operated stores, while some have chosen to allow private retailers to sell cannabis. Some jurisdictions have also opted to allow online sales of cannabis.

The legal age to purchase and consume cannabis varies by province or territory, with the majority setting the age at 19 years old. Quebec has set the legal age at 21 years old, while Alberta has set it at 18 years old.

Cannabis possession is still illegal in Canada unless you are authorized to use it for medical purposes or you are using it in accordance with provincial or territorial legislation.

The Future of Cannabis Legislation

Canadian cannabis legislation is always evolving. As of October 17th, 2018, cannabis is now legal for recreational use across the country. This means that adults are now able to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis products from licensed retailers. However, there are still some key rules and regulations that consumers need to be aware of.

Federal Legislation

The Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, was introduced in the House of Commons by the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau on April 13, 2017. The stated goal of the act is to “provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale”.[1] The Cannabis Act replaces the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which currently governs cannabis in Canada.

The bill passed second reading in the House of Commons on May 30, 2017,[2] and was referred to the Senate on November 28, 2017.[3] The Senate amended the bill, and it returned to the House of Commons for consideration of those amendments on June 7, 2018. The amended bill passed third reading in the House of Commons on June 18,[4] and received royal assent on June 21, 2018,[5] making Canada the second country after Uruguay to nationally legalise cannabis for recreational use.

Cannabis legislation in Canada has been largely influenced by international treaties to which Canada is a signatory, most notably the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.[6] This treaty requires signatories to prohibit possession or use of cannabis except for medical or scientific purposes. However, parties are allowed to temporarily deviate from these requirements if they inform other signatories of their intention to do so.[7][8] Canada has done this several times throughout its history with respect to cannabis; most notably in its exemption from certain provisions of theSingle Convention in 1971[9][10], and again in 1988 with respect to scientific research.[11][12][13]

Provincial Legislation

The Cannabis Act will create a new strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The Act aims to accomplish three key goals:
-keep cannabis out of the hands of youth;
-prevent profits from going to criminal organizations; and
-protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to legal cannabis.

To help achieve these goals, the Cannabis Act will:
-create strict penalties for those who sell or provide cannabis to minors;
-create a federal framework for licensing producers;
-restrict advertising and promotions targeted at youth; and
-establish new rules around packaging and labelling.

In addition to the federal legislation, each province and territory will also have its own rules around the legal age, where cannabis can be consumed and how it will be sold.


Yes, cannabis is legal in Canada. Adults over the age of 18 are able to purchase and consume cannabis products from licensed retailers.

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