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Recently, several important changes relating to cannabis use and its sale have occurred in Quebec, including changes to the legal age of purchase and use, where cannabis can be used and how much may be grown by an individual at home.

Changes in Quebec Laws on Cannabis

Legal Age of Purchase and Use

When cannabis first became legal in Quebec, the government had set the legal age of purchase and use at 18, which is the same age required to purchase tobacco and alcohol.

However, the Quebec legislature passed the Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis (the “Act”) on November 1st, 2019, which amends the Cannabis Regulation Act

As a result, as of January 1st, 2020, the minimum legal age to possess or purchase cannabis and to be admitted to the premises of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), among other things, will be raised to 21 years of age.

Where Cannabis Can be Used 

Additionally, the Act also changes where cannabis can be used.

Prior to the Act, smoking and vaping were allowed in public, except wherever tobacco smoking was prohibited. They were also prohibited in a long list of other places, including bars, restaurants, educational institutions, hospitals, bus shelters and play areas intended for children.

However, under the changes to the Act, it will forbidden to smoke or vape cannabis in any public place, whether indoor or outdoor.

Changes in Growing Cannabis for Personal Use

Originally, the Quebec provincial government banned the cultivation of cannabis at home.

However, a recent Superior Court decision overturned those provisions, finding them unconstitutional. The court concluded that they infringed upon the jurisdiction of the federal government, which has sole responsibility for legislating on criminal matters. The decision means that homegrown cannabis in Quebec would be instead regulated by Canadian law, which allows citizens to grow up to four cannabis plants.

The Quebec government has indicated that it is likely to appeal the decision.

Current Ontario Laws on Cannabis

Legal Age of Purchase and Use

Currently in Ontario, a person must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis, which is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Where Cannabis Can be Used

As set out on the Ontario government’s website (https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-laws), there are a complex set of rules on where cannabis may be consumed.

Where a person can smoke and vape cannabis

  • Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (for example, long-term care and/or retirement homes)
  • Many outdoor public places (for example, sidewalks and parks)
  • Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)
  • Scientific research and testing facilities(if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)
  • Controlled areas in:
    • long-term care homes
    • certain retirement homes
    • residential hospices
    • provincially-funded supportive housing
    • designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities

However, a person cannot smoke or vape cannabis in:

  • indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences
  • enclosed public places and enclosed work places
  • non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds
  • on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds
  • in child care centres, or where an early years program is provided
  • in places where home child care is provided — even if children aren’t present
  • within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
  • on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/private) and psychiatric facilities
  • in non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices
  • in restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio
  • on outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings
  • in reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations
  • on grounds of community recreational facilities and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds
  • in sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (for example, a bus shelter)
  • in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas
  • in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven.

Growing Cannabis for Personal Use

A person maygrow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person) if they are 19 years of age and older, it is only for personal use and the starting material was purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized retail store.

Get Advice

At Campbell Bader LLP, we have experience helping new businesses and business owners successfully navigate the provincial regulatory framework for authorized cannabis retailers. We will work with you to develop a course of action, and keep you well informed throughout the process and ensure you make the best strategic decisions at every stage. If you need guidance with respect to becoming an authorized cannabis retail operator, contact the Mississauga business lawyers at Campbell Bader LLP. We regularly advise clients on a wide variety of business concerns, including regulatory and licencing issues. Contact us online or by phone at 905-828-2247 to schedule a consultation.

Additionally, at Campbell Bader LLP, we have a team of exceptional Mississauga criminal defence lawyers who have been representing clients charged with criminal offences since 1999. We are highly skilled litigators and have conducted trials in the Superior Court and Ontario Court of Justice. We have the knowledge, experience, and skill-set to effectively defend clients charged with even the most serious of offences. We will listen, consider, and provide you with practical options. Contact us online or at 905-828-2247.