5. Know what happens if you don't follow the rules

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What do the new laws on cannabis mean?
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5. Know what happens if you don't follow the rules

You can be charged with a crime or provincial offence if you don't follow the laws. 

Federal laws

Depending on the suspected offence, you could face serious consequences including criminal charges if you break the cannabis laws.

You can be charged with a crime if you:

  • have more cannabis in public than you are allowed
  • purchase cannabis from an illegal source
  • sell or distribute cannabis
  • grow more than 4 cannabis plants per household
  • import or export cannabis

If you do any of these things, you could have to go to jail or pay a fine. The maximum jail time for possessing more cannabis that you're allowed is 5 years. For many other offences, the maximum jail time is 14 years.

Provincial laws

Under provincial law, there are offences for:

  • buying cannabis from a retailer other than the Ontario Cannabis Store
  • having cannabis that was not bought or grown legally
  • sharing cannabis that was not bought or grown legally
  • knowingly sharing cannabis with a person who may be intoxicated

If you do any of these things, you could get up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.

If you use cannabis in a place where you're not allowed to, you can get:

  • a fine of up to $1000 for a first conviction, or
  • a fine of $5000 for a conviction that is not your first.

People under 19

There are strict rules to stop people under the age of 19 from buying, having, and using cannabis.

It is a criminal offence to:

  • give or sell cannabis to a person under the age of 19, or
  • use a person under the age of 19 to commit a cannabis offence.

If you do any of these things, you could be sent to prison for up to 14 years.

It is also an offence to:

  • advertise cannabis in a place where people under the age of 19 can take advantage of the offer
  • sell cannabis products that are specifically attractive to young people
  • package cannabis in a way that makes it more attractive to young people
  • allow people to buy cannabis by serving themselves, such as at a vending machine

If you do any of these things, you could be sent to prison for 3 years, pay a fine of $5 million, or both.

Offences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act

If you're 12 to 17 years old, you can be charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act for a criminal offence related to cannabis.

It is an offence to:

  • have over 5 grams of cannabis, or its equivalent
  • share cannabis with anyone under the age of 19
  • sell cannabis

You May Also Need

Government of Ontario
Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY)
Reviewed: October 17, 2018

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