Cannabis is legal in Canada as of midnight on Oct. 17. However, the drug is still a regulated substance, with many laws governing who can possess it, where it can be used, how it can be transported and especially around driving.
With that in mind, here are explanations for a few of the most common questions and concerns surrounding Canada’s framework for legal cannabis.
You must be 19 or older to buy, possess or use cannabis. Minors caught with over 5 grams on them can be charged. Federal laws carry penalties of up to 14 years in prison for those caught selling pot to minors, or using a minor in a cannabis-related crime.
Where can you use cannabis?
Public consumption is prohibited across Saskatchewan and is subject to a $200 fine.
How much can you carry?
Adults are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.
How much can you grow?
Up to 4 plants. However, renters require landlord approval to grow cannabis.
It’s illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border for international travel. This includes travel into U.S. states where cannabis is also legal. For air travel only within Canada, the federal government allows adults to bring up to 30 grams in either their carry-on or checked baggage.
What about edibles?
People can legally make edibles in their homes, provided they aren’t making concentrates using organic solvents, which include substances like ethanol, isopropanol or butane.
Again, landlords get to set their own policies as far as people making or consuming edibles in rental units. Edibles and concentrates are expected to be able to be sold legally in year.
Where are the stores in Saskatchewan?
Seven out of 51 licensed retail marijuana stores opened on Wednesday including: one outside Regina, one in Martensville, Yorkton, Battleford, North Battleford, Moose Jaw and Esterhazy.
You can find them on this map.
Marijuana Stores Open in Sask – https://t.co/RzyTsFIcgq
— 980 CJME (@CJMENews) October 17, 2018
Getting cannabis in the mail
Each province sets its own policies for online and mail ordering, so far, all have put rules in place barring inter-provincial shipments by mail. In Saskatchewan, online sales will be allowed only from retailers licensed to operate in the province. Canada Post and Purolator will require proof-of-age for those taking deliveries of cannabis. For security, packages will not be labelled as containing the drug, but will be marked as requiring proof-of-age.
American courier companies have different policies. UPS has been doing medical cannabis deliveries in Canada for years, but has announced no plans to expand into the recreational market. FedEx outright will not transport cannabis.
Under new federal laws, police at the roadside can ask you to take a saliva test, or a field sobriety test measuring things like reaction time and co-ordination. If either of those give officers reason to believe you’re impaired, they can then require a blood sample, which will measure blood for THC, the active compound in cannabis.
Penalties vary depending on the level of THC per millilitre found in your blood within two hours of driving. (The law exempts people proven to have consumed cannabis within that two-hour window, but after they’d ceased operating a vehicle.) Recognizing that mixing cannabis and alcohol causes higher levels of impairment, there is also a new hybrid offence for those caught with levels of both alcohol and THC in their system.
A blood level of 2 nanograms (ng) but less than 5 ng of THC is punishable by a fine up to $1,000
A blood level of 5 ng or more of THC is treated the same as a conviction for driving with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08: penalties range from a minimum $1,000 fine up to 5 years in prison, depending on an offender’s previous record and how prosecutors choose to proceed.
Having a blood alcohol level of 0.05, combined with a THC level greater than 2.5 ng per ml of blood would be treated the same as 5 ng of THC, or a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.
On top of the federal laws, provincial penalties for impaired driving – whether by alcohol or drug- remain in effect just like they always have been. Those penalties include roadside vehicle seizures immediately upon being charged, license suspensions, and fines up to $2,500 under SGI’s safe driver program.
-With files from The Canadian Press
Check out more of 980 CJME’s special coverage of cannabis legalization in Canada.