What do the new laws on cannabis mean?

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

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

Federal laws

Depending on the suspected , 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
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