When Was Weed Legalized in Canada?
Canada legalized weed on October 17, 2018. This is the first time Canadians have been allowed to smoke marijuana recreationally. The new law allows people over the age of 18 to use recreational cannabis and to grow up to four plants at home for personal use.
People may be thinking “wait, the title is about weed legalization in Ontario, Canada, so why is it talking about when it was legalized?” Well, that’s because the question of “when was weed legalized in Canada?” is one of the most common questions we get asked. People are curious and want to know more about the history of cannabis legalization in Canada and how it could possibly affect them. When did weed actually become legal for recreational purposes?
In Canada, the legalization of marijuana became effective on October 17th, 2018. This means that anyone who is 19 years old or older will be able to purchase and use it without worrying about legal repercussions. The only exception is for those who live in Quebec—the Canadian Province decided to postpone legalization until the end of summer 2019 for reasons yet to be determined.
Why was weed legalized in Canada?
The Canadian federal government has been easing restrictions on marijuana since the 1960s when they first passed the Narcotics Control Act (NCA). Before this act, people who were caught with pot could be fined and serve up to two years in jail. With the NCA, it was legal to possess small quantities of cannabis, so long as it wasn’t used in public or sold to anyone else.
“Small quantities” meant 30 grams of pot or less—enough for about 100 joints.
For many years after the initial relaxation of marijuana laws, police were still cracking down on drug possession and use, especially when it involved kids or teens. In 1987 and 1988, Toronto police targeted marijuana use at high schools across the city and even dealt out suspensions to students caught smoking pot.
Has legalizing weed helped Canada?
Legalizing weed could help Canadians in a variety of ways. The Canadian government has used legalization as an opportunity to invest in developing better products for everyone. These new products include edibles (like cookies and cannabis-infused chocolates), pre-rolled joints from legitimate growers like Tantalus, and even marijuana-infused drinks. They’ve also created new packaging that is tamper-proof (to prevent children from accidentally eating their parents’ pot brownies), and they’re working on new labeling to make sure consumers know how much THC is in each product.
Now, more than ever, Canadians are aware of the potential effects of cannabis—and they’re becoming increasingly knowledgeable about what’s safe for them to consume.
Without cannabis consumption being restricted to an illicit market, the federal and provincial governments have created a safe space for cannabis users to consume legal cannabis and have taken away to stigma for people who enjoy consuming recreational cannabis without any specific medical needs (medical cannabis).
Who was the first country to legalize weed?
The answer might surprise you: The first country to legalize marijuana was actually the United States, back in the year 1619. But it wasn’t technically legal, since there was no legislation, so a more accurate way to put it would be that weed was de facto legalized in the American colonies when they began importing hemp from China to make rope, clothing, sails, and other items. While this might not seem like a big deal now, it took until 1961 for cannabis to be removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia (the list of drugs recognized as medicine), and it wasn’t until 1970 that it became illegal under federal law.
At first glance, it seems like Canada has been much more progressive on this topic than the U.S. since it has now legalized cannabis, but that’s not quite true—in fact, marijuana has been illegal in Canada for almost as long as it has in the U.S., though its prohibition has admittedly been less strictly enforced. Legalizing cannabis has changed the stigma of cannabis use in Canada for good (we hope).
Many consumers of cannabis and cannabis growers are relieved that they won’t receive a criminal record for cannabis possession, assuming they are still within the limit as set by individual provinces and territories for the legal cannabis industry.
Why is weed stronger now?
There are a few theories why at least some cannabis strains have become much stronger over time, especially cannabis available in the legal market provided by the government of Canada. We think it is due to selective breeding and advances in growing technology over the past fifty years. The average THC content of marijuana has gone from less than 1% in the ’70s to 4-15% today.
In legal dispensaries, consumers can buy cannabis extracts, cannabis edibles, and others products for cannabis use with a THC content of over 15%.
Are CBD edibles legal in Canada?
CBD edibles are currently legal in Ontario, Canada when bought from a licensed legal cannabis dispensary. Although licensed producers selling cannabis in the legal cannabis market are protected under federal legislation, drug laws can still differ from province to province.
Cannabis Laws In Canada & The Cannabis Act
In 1997 and 1998, Ontario introduced the Cannabis Control Act (CCA), which increased penalties for selling marijuana and added new rules around possession—you had to keep all your pot under one ounce (about 28 grams) in order to stay within the law.
But it didn’t take long before Ontario started relaxing those laws as well.
Since legalization, the Canadian government has been keen to set the record straight about a few things. If you’re in Canada and you’re wondering about future weed legalization, here are some key points for you to know:
-The Cannabis Act is a federal law
-Each province will set its own rules about where and how weed can be bought and sold
-The minimum age for cannabis use in Canada is 19
-Cannabis will only be legal for adults (meaning anyone over the age of 18 or 19)
-It’s still illegal to take cannabis across Canada’s borders
-You need ID to buy cannabis in Canada, but it doesn’t have to be a government ID; any photo ID will do and this applies to online sales delivered to your door as well as in-store cannabis sales
-These rules apply to cannabis flower and cannabis vapes
What happens if you grow more than 4 cannabis plants in Ontario?
The Ontario Court of Appeal has said that growing more than 4 cannabis plants is a serious criminal offense. The court ruled that a serious criminal offense requires a prison sentence of more than 2 years. After the Supreme Court of Canada said that you can’t get arrested for simple possession of small amounts, the government had to change the law to make simple possession a crime.
There are various kinds of crimes in Canada. Some require a prison sentence, and some don’t. Serious crimes are ones that do require a prison sentence.
The court also said that growing 4 or fewer plants isn’t as serious an offense as growing 5 plants or more. People who grow 4 or fewer plants won’t face prison time if convicted.
People who grow between 5 and 200 cannabis plants could face up to 14 years in jail if convicted.
Cannabis Legalization: Where Do We Go From Here?
The Cannabis Act is still new and is currently undergoing adjustment. Where we go from here will heavily depend on how consuming cannabis goes for customers and the federal and provincial governments over the next few years. If we’ve learned anything from the history of drug laws in Canada and America over the past 70 years, things can always change, especially when there is a change in one government official (i.e. the prime minister).
Support Local Dispensaries: Buy Legal Cannabis!
Buying legal cannabis is a great way to support local dispensaries. With your support, they can continue to provide you with their products and services.
If you live in Hamilton, Ontario, visit Bud Brothers Cannabis for the best recreational cannabis products on the market including flower, CBD oil, edibles, concentrates, pre-rolls, vapes, and all of your weed accessories. Stop by on Canada day July 1st to receive 10% off your total purchase!
Bud Brothers Dispensary: Hamilton, Ontario
We hope you have learned everything you wanted to know about legalized cannabis and the cannabis act issued by the federal government. Keep yourself up-to-date on marijuana legalization and support local legal cannabis dispensaries to continue to place your vote to legalize cannabis going forward.