What do the new laws on cannabis mean?

Cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. Cannabis is also called weed, pot, and marijuana.

There are federal and provincial laws that deal with:

  • how cannabis can be bought and sold
  • where cannabis can be bought, sold, and grown
  • who can buy, sell, and grow cannabis
  • who can have and smoke cannabis

In Ontario you must be 19 and older to buy, have, use, and grow cannabis. This is the same age requirement that applies to alcohol and tobacco use.

You can only buy recreational cannabis from the online Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

You can also grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household using seeds purchased from the OCS.

You can also get cannabis from someone as long as:

  • you are both over 19 years old
  • it is under 30 grams dried
  • they bought it from the OCS or grew it at home using seeds purchased from the OCS and as long as they don't have more than 4 cannabis plants
  • you did not pay money for it

It is illegal to get cannabis any other way.

Before the new laws, it was illegal to have or use cannabis for a recreational purpose. The only exception was medical cannabis.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis is cannabis prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition. There are different rules that apply to medical cannabis.


If you're travelling within Canada, you have to follow the laws of the province and municipality you're in. For example, each province has different age requirements about how old you must be to have, smoke, and use cannabis.

If you're travelling outside of Canada, it is illegal to take recreational and medical cannabis across international borders.


The federal government has said it will give pardons to everyone previously of possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis. They are working on a process for how this will be done.

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