Canadian Recreational Cannabis Laws by Province and Territory

Weed Is Legal, But Different Provinces Have Different Laws.

Cannabis NB Canada weed laws iStock / madsci

While the answer to the question “is weed legal in Canada” is yes, there are some nuances that you need to be aware of. Canada’s government is divided into three levels: federal, provincial or territorial, and municipal.  Canada is comprised of 10 provinces and 3 territories, so while the country’s federal government legalized personal use cannabis in October 2018, Canada weed laws can look different depending on the province or territory you live in or visit.

Canada’s federal government is responsible for overseeing the licensure and regulation of producers, processors, and wholesale distributors, but the provinces and territories determine the rules for consumers and retail stores.

What Are Canada’s Weed Laws?

Alberta

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase is 18. Consumers can possess a maximum of 30 grams when in public. Cannabis can be purchased from licensed stores. It can also be delivered to them through Alberta CannabisGenerally speaking, smoking in public is prohibited. There may be some exceptions based on municipality.

Adults may grow a maximum of 4 plants per household.

Driving while high is illegal.

Retail

Brick and mortar stores must be licensed with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) in order to distribute cannabis products. License applicants must submit a background check on themselves and their employees. Applicants must submit a $400 non-refundable application fee for each store site, a $700 yearly license fee, and a $3,000 deposit for background checks. Prospective dispensary owners must also receive municipal approval.

Dispensaries cannot grow or process their own cannabis products. All cannabis products must be purchased from the AGLC.

Each retail store must have an alarm system, video surveillance system, and secure product display.

British Columbia

A panoramic drone view of Vancouver downtown.

iStock / Aolin Chen

Consumers

The legal age of purchase in British Columbia is 19. Consumers have three ways to buy their cannabis: government-run stores, licensed retailers, and online from this government-run site. Delivery is only available through the government site.

Legally aged adults may possess up to 30 grams of flower on their person or its equivalent. B.C. residents may not possess more than 1,000 grams of flower or its equivalent in their homes.

Limited public consumption is permitted—cannabis can be smoked in the same places as vaping and tobacco smoking. However, playgrounds, public buildings, transportation centers, parks, public patios, schools, and health board properties are off limits.

Cannabis is not allowed on moving vehicles unless the vehicle is also a private residence or being used off-road in a camping designation. However, unopened cannabis products can be transported in a vehicle. If the cannabis product is opened, it must be inaccessible to the driver (placed in the trunk, for example). Driving while high is illegal.

Residents may grow up to 4 cannabis plants.

Retail

Cannabis retail is regulated by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB).

Retailers must comply with the regulations described in the Cannabis Retail Store Terms and Conditions.

Private cannabis retail stores are prohibited from selling alcohol, tobacco, or any non-cannabis affiliated items.

Cannabis retailers are prohibited from advertising themselves as cannabis retailers. Yep, you read that right: stores that sell cannabis cannot use marketing or advertising strategies like signs, slogans, commercials, billboards, etc. to let the public know that they sell cannabis.

Private retailers must buy their cannabis from the LDB.

Manitoba

Consumers

Adults who are 19 years or older may purchase cannabis from licensed retail stores. Legally aged adults may possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on them when in public.

Public consumption is prohibited, but consumers may smoke cannabis in the privacy of their own homes.

Driving while high is illegal.

It is illegal to grow cannabis at home in Manitoba.

Retail

Private retailers that have been selected by the Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) from a competitive bidding process will receive their license. Wholesale cannabis must be purchased from the LGCA.

Cannabis retailers are prohibited from selling alcohol.

Storefronts must have security systems and video surveillance.

Retailers may not sell live plants and/or cannabis seeds. 

New Brunswick

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada - July 18, 2018: A CANNABIS NB retail store, where legalized cannabis is to be sold.

iStock / madsci

Consumers

The legal age of purchase in New Brunswick is 19. Adults may access cannabis at Cannabis NB, the only legal retailer serving the province.

Cannabis cannot be consumed publicly.

Driving while high is illegal.

When outside of their homes, legally aged consumers may have up to 30 grams of flower on them at a time.

Residents may grow up to 4 plants in their homes.

Retail

The only legal cannabis retailer in New Brunswick is the government-run Cannabis NB. It is a subsidiary of New Brunswick Liquor Corporation (ANBL).

There are 20 stores located in 15 communities within the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase in Newfoundland and Labrador is 19.

Cannabis can be purchased from a licensed retail store online.

Legally aged adults may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Residents may grow a maximum of 4 cannabis plants.

Public consumption is prohibited.

Driving while high is illegal.

Retail

Cannabis retail is regulated by the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation (NLC). The NLC uses a selective bidding process based on geographic location to award retail licenses. 

Currently, there are no license openings, but this may change if the NLC determines that more retail stores are needed.

Northwest Territories

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iStock / SeanXu

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase in the Northwest Territories is 19. Legally aged adults may possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis in public.

Residents may grow a maximum of 4 plants in their homes.

Cannabis is available for purchase from most liquor stores or online through the Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s website.

Public consumption is illegal. Cannabis use may only occur in a private residence.

Driving while high is illegal.

Retail

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC) is responsible for retail cannabis regulation. As of now, liquor stores sell cannabis. However, the law permits the operation of private retailers. Criteria for private retail are in the process of being developed.

Nova Scotia

Consumers

The legal age of purchase in Nova Scotia is 19. Legally aged adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.

The only legal retailer is the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.  Cannabis may be purchased at their brick and mortar or online stores. 

Cannabis can be consumed in private residences only.

Driving while high is illegal.

Residents may grow up to 4 plants per household.

Retail

Cannabis retail is regulated by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC). For now, the NSLC is not distributing more than the 12 cannabis retail licenses it has already issued.   

Nunavut

Apex, Nunavut.

iStock / Henry Baillie-Brown

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase in Nunavut is 19. Cannabis can be purchased at licensed retail stores or through a government-run website. Legally aged adults can carry a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on them while in public.

Cannabis can be consumed in cannabis lounges or in a private residence.

Driving while high is illegal.

Residents may grow a maximum of 4 plants per household in their homes.

Retail

The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NULC) regulates retail cannabis.

An avenue for private licensing for retail is possible under Nunavut’s law, but it has not been clearly defined. Government-run stores are currently the only cannabis providers in the province.

Ontario

Consumers

The legal age of purchase in Ontario is 19. Cannabis can be purchased from licensed retailers and online from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Some public consumption is permitted in Ontario. Consumers may smoke cannabis on sidewalks and in parks, designated smoking rooms in places like hotels, vehicles and boats that are used as residences, and in private residences.

Driving while high is illegal.

Legally aged consumers are permitted to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis on them when in public.

Residents may grow up to 4 plants per household in their homes.

Retail

Cannabis is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The AGCO is responsible for issuing cannabis licenses to prospective retailers.

Private retailers are selected for the application process through a lottery system.

Applying for a retail license requires the payment of a $6,000 license fee.

Ontario does not authorize the side by side sale of alcohol and cannabis.

Prince Edward Island

Lighthouse at Peggys Cove

iStock / Meybruck

Consumers

The legal age of consumption in Prince Edward Island is 19. Cannabis can only be purchased through PEI Cannabis. There are only 4 brick and mortar storefronts, but cannabis can also be purchased online.

Cannabis can be consumed in a private residence only.

Legally aged adults may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis on them while in public.

Driving while high is illegal.

Residents may grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household in their homes.

Retail

Prince Edward Island Cannabis Management Corporation (PEICMC) regulates cannabis in cooperation with the PEI Liquor Control Commission (PEILCC).

There is no private retail in Prince Edward Island, and the province has limited the number of government-run physical storefronts to 4.

Quebec

Consumers

The legal age of purchase in Quebec is 21. Adults who are 21 and older may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis on them when in public. Adults may not possess over 150 grams of cannabis in their homes.

Home growing is prohibited.

Cannabis is available for purchase from a limited number of public stores or online from the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC).

Driving while high is illegal.

Retail

Cannabis is regulated by the SQDC.

There are no private retail licenses currently available.

Saskatchewan

Edmonton downtown from riverbank after sunset, alberta, Canada

iStock / Jacek_Sopotnicki

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase is 19. Cannabis can only be consumed in private residences.

Cannabis is available for purchase from storefronts with province-issued permits. These retailers may also sell their cannabis online.

Adults may possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on them in public at a time.

Driving while high is illegal.

Residents may grow a maximum of 4 plants per household in their homes.

Retail

Cannabis is regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). The SLGA issues the necessary cannabis licensure.

Licensed retailers may also sell their cannabis online.

The province allotted 51 cannabis retail permits, and each of those has already been issued. There are currently no more available permits. The government will reconsider the need for additional retail stores 18 months post-legalization.

Yukon

Consumers

The minimum age of purchase is 19.

Legally aged adults may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis when in public. They may also gift up to 30 grams of cannabis to another legally aged adult.

Cannabis can be purchased from a licensed retailer. Cannabis may also be purchased online from Cannabis Yukon.

Cannabis must be consumed in a private residence or in an establishment that allows cannabis use and is authorized by the territory’s regulations.

Driving while high is illegal.

Residents are permitted to grow a maximum of 4 plants per household in their homes.

Retail

The Yukon Liquor Corporation (YLC) is responsible for regulating retail cannabis.

Retailers must have a valid license issued to them from the Cannabis Licensing Board.

Wholesale cannabis must be purchased from the YLC.

There is no cap on the number of licenses that the territory may issue.

Retail employees must submit criminal background checks.

Storefronts must have secure storage capacity and video surveillance.

An initial application fee for a license is $2,050. The renewal fee is $1,550. 

Canadian Recreational Cannabis Laws by Province and Territory was last modified: by