Cannabis in Canada: All About Canada’s Marijuana Industry

By WeedWeek Sep 30, 2020
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When Canada legalized marijuana, it sent shockwaves throughout the country and the world. Pot lovers everywhere rejoiced, since this decision was a big step towards legitimacy for cannabis in Canada, yet also in places like the United States, where companies, entrepreneurs and investors saw a green light towards new, legitimate markets.

Ever since legalization, people across the country have been enjoying weed in more legal and socially-acceptable ways. Whether you’re planning a trip, or are living in Canada and are just beginning your journey towards legal cannabis consumption, this article will provide you with an idea of how much legal cannabis costs, how much you can possess at one time, and where you can buy it. 

Canada Legalization 2018       

In June 2018, with the passing of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, Canada became the second country to federally legalize marijuana (with Uruguay being the first). This legislation was widely celebrated as another indication of the country’s embrace of progressive ideals, as lines quickly formed at new dispensaries around the country, and a green rush erupted across North America. Part of the motivation behind the legislation was to quell the multi-billion dollar black market, however these markets have proved resilient in the years since legalization. 

Canadian Cannabis Sales       

Cannabis sales in Canada have been holding strong since legalization and are showing impressive growth. In May, record sales were reached with totals of $138.1 million dollars. That record was then smashed in June with sales totaling 152.1 million. Should these numbers continue, the market could total over $2 billion dollars in annualized sales. 

How Many Canadians Consume Cannabis?       

In 2019, Statistics Canada assembled the data on how many Canadians consume cannabis. Around one in six Canadians – or roughly 5.7 million –  were found to have imbibed within three months of the survey. Men were found to be nearly twice as likely to consume pot than women.

Age Of People Using Cannabis In Canada       

The same 2019 Statistics Canada study found that the cannabis market in Canada is driven largely by the young, with the biggest demographic being people under the age of 35. Of this population segment, young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for over 27 percent of people who had consumed marijuana within three months of the study, while people aged 25 to 34 were the second-largest demographic, coming in at around 23 percent. 

What’s The Legal Smoking Age?       

Although the federal Cannabis Act mandated a legal smoking age of 18, many provinces have created their own laws, thus the legal smoking age for cannabis varies based on location. Across most provinces, people have to be at least 19 years of age in order to purchase cannabis or cannabis-derived products. Quebec, which has one of the youngest alcohol-drinking ages, paradoxically has one of the highest smoking ages: 21. Towards the west coast of the country, Alberta chooses to abide by the federal recommendation of 18 years of age. 

Where Can I Buy Cannabis In Canada?       

Where cannabis can be purchased depends on provincial law. Physical storefronts exist in all provinces except Nunavut and are either private retail, government-managed, or a combination of the two. Sites like BudHub can provide you with listings based on your city or province. 

How Much Is Cannabis in Canada?       

The price of cannabis varies across the country. But one analysis of price indexes of marijuana calculates a national average for one ounce of high-quality cannabis in 2020 an average of around $200, which breaks down to around $7.15 per gram. 

How Much Cannabis Are You Legally Allowed To Purchase In Canada?       

The marijuana laws in Canada pertain to private and public possession, and since purchasing is done in public, public possession laws apply. It is legal to publicly possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis. As for private (at home) possession, in Quebec and Nunavut the limit has been set at 150 grams, British Columbia at 1,000 grams, and many of the rest of the provinces have no limits whatsoever. 

Where Can I Smoke?       

Unfortunately, finding a nice place to smoke in Canada can sometimes be tricky – but there are usually plenty of options. Generally, toking up is prohibited on public transit, in public indoor spaces such as restaurants or shopping malls, and at workplaces. Some provinces keep it simple: the same rules apply as those pertaining to tobacco cigarettes. In other provinces, such as Halifax, maps are provided to point you to designated Mary Jane-friendly sections of a given region.

What About Delivery and Online Ordering?       

There are many venues to purchase marijuana online based on province. The Ontario Cannabis Store is the provinces’ only online retailer, while BC Cannabis Stores is run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.  A list of other venues can be found here

How Has COVID-19 Affected Cannabis In Canada?       

Statistics Canada released a report about how COVID-19 has impacted cannabis sales in the country. From March 29 to April 3, 2020, Canadians over the age of 15 reported increasing cannabis consumption by 6.5 percent generally, with some increased rates of use observed among individuals who reported lower or impacted mental health.

What I Can’t Do?   

Although marijuana has been entirely legalized in Canada, there are still some restrictions related to its purchasing and possession. These regulations tend to be similar to those placed on tobacco or alcohol. Below are two additional restrictions you should be aware of when enjoying cannabis in Canada.    

    Smoke And Drive   

Just like alcohol, there are strict rules around smoking and driving. Along with the passing of the Cannabis Act, three new offenses have been added to the criminal code: 

  • Driving with less than 5 ng (nanograms) but more than 2 ng of THC per ml of blood
  • Driving with more than 5 ng per ml of blood
  • Driving with a combination of alcohol and at least 2.5 ng per ml of blood

These offenses can carry punishments ranging from fines to years of imprisonment. 

    Bring It Back To The U.S.   

Because marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, it remains illegal at the federal level. This means that it is illegal to bring marijuana from Canada into any U.S. state – even those that have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, such as Alaska. Crossing the border into the United States requires passes through federal jurisdiction, and you could face penalties or convictions should you bring legal Canadian weed through a federal facility. 

Conclusion       

Canada has proven its progressive attitude towards marijuana by federally legalizing the drug, and has seen strong sales and consistent demand over the years, despite upsets such as the coronavirus pandemic. With Canada’s legalization having been proven a success so far, other countries may soon follow suit. 

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