Marijuana in Canada: What Tourists Need to Know

Updated on April 20, 2020

Canada is the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalize recreational marijuana on a federal level. On October 17, 2018, the northern country completely legalized recreational marijuana.  Growers of the cannabis plant can acquire licenses from the federal government, and decide how each product gets sold and distributed among its provinces.

This new legislation is a big tourism pull, and globetrotting cannabis aficionados love to get high in the Great White North. So if it’s to kayak near Vancouver or to spend a few days along the mountain tops of Whistler, tourists can enjoy smoking up and relaxing after hours of traveling and exploring.

But if you chose to sample what the country has to offer in its finest marijuana leaves, oils, hash, pre-rolled joints, and edibles – it’s good to know how to do so safely and legally.

To start, the national standards of consumption are restricted to those who are 18 years of age and older. But be sure to check, because some rules vary from town to town. Most provinces have a required minimum age of 19.

The ideal recommendation for cannabis possession is up to 30 grams of marijuana or the equivalent amount of a cannabis-infused product on their person in public.

The Canadian Federal Government has a website that discusses the rules of each province for cannabis possession and purchasing. It is highly recommended to visit the online dispensary Canada to know what each town has to offer to help you make the best decision.

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is compound responsible for your ‘high’. Different strains come with different percentages of potency and related physiological effects.  Get to know the plant varieties. The Indica plant has lower THC levels and is used to relax and relieve pain. The Sativa plant has higher counts of THC and is used to treat chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.  Always pace yourself, a small amount can be fun, but that doesn’t entail that more is better. Taking too much pot can also make one feel anxious or sick.

The Canadian laws on driving while ‘high’ are punishable by license suspension and criminal fines, charges, and arrest. If you’re pulled over by authorities it must be clear that you have not been smoking in your car. So be responsible if you have come with your own vehicle over the border. Taking marijuana in and out of the country without proper permission is a serious offense despite its legalized status in Canada.

In most provinces, public smoking is treated the same way as tobacco smoking.  However, know for sure which provinces do not tolerate public smoking at all. People of legal age are only permitted to own up to four marijuana plants for personal use. If someone owns more in their house, they are breaking the law.

Only licensed retailers can sell cannabis. Legalization does not assure you will be able to buy wherever you please. To assist, we have listed information on the Canadian provinces that are popular cannabis destinations for tourists.

British Columbia
Cannabis consumption is allowed anywhere tobacco smoking is permitted, but not where there are children around. This means one must remain sober along beaches, parks, playgrounds, and vehicles. The legal buying age is 19 and the city has a fairly relaxed attitude towards recreational marijuana use. The best places to buy are within government and independent licensed retailers or a BC dispensary online. Certain hotels in this province also have designated pot-smoking areas, but it’s good to know before checking in your accommodation’s limitations towards cannabis use.

Expect stricter laws. It is advised to purchase from private retailers. The legal age of buying is 18 years old. There is a strong movement to prevent public smoking in the area.

The general attitude towards marijuana use is loose in this province. Buy from government retailers. Cannabis can be used anywhere one is allowed to use tobacco as long as they are over the age of 18. Make sure to check if there are any on-going weed-friendly festivals to go to over the summer.

Nova Scotia and Ontario
These provinces have stricter laws that only allow anyone over 19 years of age to smoke in their private residences. Purchases are only made through government assigned retailers. The local government of Nova Scotia is seeking legislation that will allow landlords to ban marijuana use in their buildings. Punishments for illegal possession and driving under the influence in this province are also a lot harsher.

The majority of Toronto’s parks are cannabis-friendly, even dog parks. As long as you are 19 years of age and older you can share cannabis in this city legally. Purchase through an authorized dealer. An individual is allowed to possess 30grams of dried marijuana for personal use.

In conclusion, the cannabis industry in Canada is estimated to generate a minimum of $4 Billion worth of sales according to the country’s Parliamentary Budget Office.  The impact of making Canada a prime destination for cannabis has helped the general tourism and hotel industry rise significantly. The government-sanctioned cannabis program in Canada is by far a benchmark moment for the country, and the rest of the world watches and dreams of the following suit.

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