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Yes – Weed is Legal in Canada Now – BUT What is Still Illegal About it?

October 17, 2018 – the day that marijuana became legalized in Canada. This was certainly a memorable day for many Canadians. With this notable news came many questions for people and we are here to answer some of them. Specifically, our goal is to educate you about marijuana as outlined in the Cannabis Control Act.

Cannabis Control Act

Below are some helpful law you can expect to see in the legislation. Knowing this information can help you avoid violating the law.

  • No person shall sell cannabis, other than an authorized cannabis retailer
  • No person shall distribute cannabis that is sold, or that is intended to be sold, other than by an authorized cannabis retailer
  • No person shall knowingly sell or distribute cannabis to a person under 19 years of age
  • No person shall purchase cannabis except from an authorized cannabis retailer
  • No person shall purchase cannabis online or by any means other than in person at a cannabis retail store, as defined in the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, except from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation
  • No person under 19 years of age shall possess, consume, attempt to purchase, purchase or distribute cannabis
  • No person under 19 years of age shall cultivate, propagate or harvest, or offer to cultivate, propagate or harvest, cannabis
  • No person shall drive or have the care or control of a vehicle or boat, whether or not it is in motion, while any cannabis is contained in the vehicle or boat. The exception is if the cannabis (a) is in its original packaging and has not been opened; or (b) is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat
  • A police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that cannabis is being contained in a vehicle or boat may at any time, without a warrant, enter and search the vehicle or boat and search any person found in it
  • and many more.

Refer to https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/17c26#BK6 for more information on the law on cannabis.

Penalties

The penalties for violating sections of the Cannabis Control Act vary. The range includes for example, fines (including hefty ones), imprisonment, participation in youth programs, court order prohibiting certain activities, and/or any discretionary court order requirements that a judge considers appropriate to prevent similar unlawful conduct or to contribute to the person’s rehabilitation.

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

If you do not apprise yourself of the laws surrounding marijuana and you are a recreational marijuana user, then you may at one point or another, face one of the above noted penalties. If you are not a recreational marijuana user, chances are someone in your life is. In the event that you are someday accompanying someone who has marijuana on their person, it would be wise for you to be aware of what may constitute a violation of the laws surrounding marijuana. This knowledge may help you avoid being, by default, caught with a violation.

The way the law stands is that a claim of not knowing the law cannot be presented as a defence. Therefore, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by informing yourself of cannabis law. There are significant amounts of resources available on the Internet on the topic and in particular, on the government’s website. Here is a helpful resource to get you started:

Now, if you are already facing charges related to the fairly new marijuana laws, then feel free to contact our office for a free consultation to better understand your charges and the options available to you.

Yasmine Al-Zaman

Yasmine’s patience, compassion and understanding allow her to work collaboratively and effectively with her clients. She appreciates the level of fear and confusion most people feel when confronted with the legal system. With that in mind, Yasmine puts her best foot forward to offer quality legal services.

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