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While it may be simpler for Canada to launch a nation-wide policy on consuming and growing cannabis, the reality is much more complicated. Every province dictated how it would manage the Cannabis Act within their borders, from the minimum age to buy cannabis, to its retail plan, to homegrow restrictions.

This is where we come in. Below is a handy province-by-province breakdown on cannabis laws with information current to November 2018. Unless otherwise stated, the age of consumption is 19 and no cannabis consumption is allowed while operating a motor vehicle. Homegrow limits are set at four plants per household.


The most striking feature of Ontario’s cannabis rules relate to its sale of the product: cannabis can only be purchased online via the Ontario Cannabis Store, where dozens of LPs will have their buds and oils available. It was expected a public-private hybrid model would be in place for Ontario, but that model may play out in spring 2019.

Retail cannabis outlets are expected to open in April 2019.

Public consumption is allowed wherever smoking cigarettes is allowed. Ontarians can’t consume cannabis within nine metres of a patio, in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations, or university campuses such as the University of Toronto.

An interesting wrinkle to the retail rollout is news that Second Cup may be interested in getting into the cannabis game once the province opens the door to private firms.1  


The Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC) is the only entity allowed to buy cannabis from a producer, and will manage the selling, transporting and storing of the product. Quebec is one of the few regions where growing cannabis for personal use will be illegal.

Outside of public spaces, it is prohibited for an adult to possess any more than 150 grams of dried cannabis. Rules on where to smoke cannabis will reflect those which coincide where an individual may smoke tobacco.

Quebec, along with Alberta, lowered their legal age to purchase cannabis to 18.

What’s unique about Quebec is its strict marketing guidelines: retailers across the province are banned from selling products decorated with the cannabis leaf or any other symbol promoting cannabis.


The Manitoba government green-lit four private companies or consortiums to retail cannabis. Enclosed public spaces are off–limits to cannabis consumers. 

The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba is regulating the sale of cannabis and municipal governments have the option to ban sales by referendum. Manitoba joins Quebec in not allowing any homegrows whatsoever. Saskatchewan Like Manitoba, Saskatchewan is easing cannabis into the private sector, with a restricted number of licenses issued during the first three years. The product can only be consumed in private residences, given that permission has also been granted by the landlord.


Albertans can buy cannabis from retail stores and through government-run online sales. Despite residents only being able to carry up to 30 grams, there will be no possession limit within private homes.

The minimum age of consumption is set at 18 in Alberta.

British Columbia

Smoking cannabis is prohibited in British Columbia anywhere that children congregate, in cars, and wherever tobacco is also banned.

Retail sales are open through public and private stores, and retailers are permitted to sell cannabis in stores that sell liquor or tobacco. Dispensaries already selling cannabis prior to October 17 can continue doing so if they receive such a license.

New Brunswick

The province announced people would be able to buy cannabis at a subsidiary of the province's liquor commission. Around 20 government-run locations opened post-legalization, but in early November New Brunswick was forced to temporarily close more than half its stores due to a supply shortage.

Nova Scotia

Cannabis is sold beside alcohol in provincial liquor commission stores, as well as through online sales, to anyone who is at least 19. The province has established provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.


Our quaintest province sells cannabis at stand-alone outlets run separately by its liquor commission, via four government-owned locations. P.E.I. allows e-sales and restricts cannabis use to private residences.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Sales in private stores are allowed and the Crown-owned liquor corporation oversees distribution to private retailers. Consumption is restricted to private residences.


Yukon follows the national act by allowing the public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, and personal cultivation of up to four plants per household. Consumption is limited to privately owned residences and adjoining properties, as long as the owners permit it.

The Northwest Territories

NWT residents can consume cannabis on private property and in restricted public areas. The NWT Liquor Commission is responsible for the distribution and sales at existing liquor stores.

Residents can mail-order cannabis in order to allow access to marijuana in communities that don’t have a liquor store. The government can fine stores that don't post signs about the health risks of cannabis.


Consumption is restricted to areas where tobacco also can’t be smoked, along with school grounds, hospitals and playgrounds. A public-private retail model is in place, and Nunavut is also ensuring that no “dry” communities will be permitted.

  1. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cannabis-second-cup-1.4615943

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