Excited to try pot? Do you regret not sampling “reefer madness” while sitting in an abandoned parking lot in high school? If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has his way, you could be taking a toke from your first joint by summer 2018.
Bill C-45 would make cannabis legal across Canada and finally allow Canadians their first legal taste of marijuana.
Pay Attention to Your Provincial Law
Although Bill C-45 will make pot legal across Canada, each province and territory will still set their own marijuana laws to regulate how much you can possess and where. For example, you can possess a minimum of 30 grams of dried cannabis publicly, since that will be the federal standard. But some provinces, such as Alberta, will allow you to possess more. In fact, Alberta doesn’t intend to limit possession amounts in private residences, so you can definitely stock up at home.
Bill C-45 also allows people to grow up to four marijuana plants per residence, though some provinces will be able to ban it. Manitoba and Quebec have indicated that they intend to ban the personal growth of marijuana plants, but Alberta hasn’t.
The minimum age should be 18—along the lines of the minimum drinking age, which is 18 or 19 in all provinces. However, your province or territory can raise the minimum age for cannabis consumption, so pay close attention to your local law before you head out to buy your first supply of hash.
Where Can I Buy Marijuana?
Like almost everything else, it will depend on where you live. Each province and territory has the right to decide whether you can buy from privately owned or publicly owned stores. Some provinces will probably require that you buy from publicly-owned stores, just as you do alcohol. However, some provinces are creating stand-alone subsidiaries that only sell marijuana and not alcohol. In Alberta specifically, the government plans to allow privately-run storefronts; you can also purchase from government-operated online sales.
Where Can I Smoke?
The past few decades have seen a crackdown on smoking tobacco in public, and you shouldn’t expect to be able to smoke weed wherever you can’t have a regular old cigarette. In Alberta, you’ll only be able to smoke your joint where smoking tobacco is permitted. Other providences have yet to determine where smoking marijuana will be legal.
Be Careful Smoking and Driving
Current tests to measure blood alcohol concentration don’t work so well with marijuana, yet drivers can be as easily impaired after a few joints as they can after throwing back a few steins of beer. The government is working on using roadside saliva tests to measure marijuana use, though these can’t precisely measure whether you are impaired. To protect themselves, some provinces have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, essentially making it illegal to have any amount of cannabis in your system while you are driving.
Contact an Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyer
Although legalization is a dream for many, the government isn’t legalizing all uses of marijuana, and the new law will lay traps for the unwary. If you carry too much marijuana or purchase it from an unauthorized dealer, you could be prosecuted. At Bourdon Defence, we’ve stayed on top of the passage of Bill C-45 and the response from the Alberta government. If you or a loved one is arrested for illegal possession, contact us at 403-474-4143.