Cannabis le­gal in Canada Oct. 17: five things about what’s le­gal and what’s not

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Southern Alberta - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS SOUTH­ERN AL­BERTA NEWS­PA­PERS

OT­TAWA – Canada’s new law le­gal­iz­ing re­cre­ational cannabis goes into force on Wed­nes­day. Here are five things about what’s le­gal and what’s not un­der this his­toric piece of leg­is­la­tion:

1. Can’t vote, can’t toke: The le­gal age for con­sum­ing cannabis is at least 18 or 19, de­pend­ing on the prov­ince. The Jus­tice Depart­ment says the age re­stric­tions are in keep­ing with, “a strict le­gal frame­work for con­trol­ling the pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion, sale and pos­ses­sion of pot.” Of the three pri­or­i­ties the depart­ment cites for ac­com­plish­ing those goals, the top one is keep­ing cannabis “out of the hands of youth.”

2. If you missed that point, the slam­mer awaits: The law builds in fea­tures that the gov­ern­ment says are de­signed to keep young peo­ple from us­ing pot. The act cre­ates two new crim­i­nal of­fences for giv­ing or sell­ing cannabis to a young per­son, or us­ing a youth to “com­mit a cannabis-re­lated of­fence.” If you’re con­victed of ei­ther, the penalty could be steep: a max­i­mum prison sen­tence of 14 years.

3. Mad Men stand down: The law pro­hibits ad­ver­tis­ing mar­i­juana or do­ing any­thing to en­tice or pro­mote its use among young peo­ple. It’s the same ap­proach that ap­plies to ban­ning to­bacco ad­ver­tis­ing. That means no pack­ag­ing or la­belling of a prod­uct to make it “ap­peal­ing” to youth. It will also be against the law to sell pot through a vend­ing ma­chine or self­ser­vice dis­play. Pro­mot­ing weed is for­bid­den “ex­cept in nar­row cir­cum­stances where young peo­ple could not see the pro­mo­tion,” says the Jus­tice Depart­ment. A con­vic­tion on any of this could lead to a fine of up to $5 mil­lion or three years in prison.

4. So what is le­gal? If you are of le­gal age, you can pos­sess, in pub­lic, 30 grams of le­gal cannabis, dried or its equiv­a­lent in non-dried form. It will be le­gal to share that amount with other adults. It will be le­gal to buy fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provin­cially-li­censed re­tailer, or on­line from a fed­er­ally-li­censed pro­ducer. It will also be le­gal to grow four cannabis plants per res­i­dence for per­sonal use from a li­censed seed or seedling – ex­cept in Que­bec and Man­i­toba, which have banned home grown weed. You can also make food or drinks us­ing cannabis, in your own home as long as you don’t use or­ganic sol­vents to cre­ate con­cen­trated prod­ucts. But it won’t be le­gal buy ed­i­bles or con­cen­trates for about one more year.

5. Leave it at home: It will still be il­le­gal to carry cannabis across Canada’s in­ter­na­tional borders. That in­cludes when trav­el­ling to places where it is also le­gal, such as the Nether­lands. As for the United States – don’t even dream about it. Yes, pot might be le­gal in some U.S. states, but that sim­ply doesn’t mat­ter. The U.S. bor­der is fed­er­ally con­trolled and, un­der the fed­eral Con­trolled Sub­stances Act, cul­ti­va­tion, pos­ses­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion of cannabis re­main il­le­gal. U.S. cus­toms agents have sweep­ing pow­ers to deny en­try to any­one sus­pected of hav­ing used the drug in the past – even with­out a con­vic­tion – or plan­ning to use it in the U.S.

Pal­l­liser Schools pho­tos

FIRE PREVEN­TION WEEK TOUR IN COALDALE: Deputy Chief Gary Gettman helps Lukas Gy­orffy try on the turnout gear of his grand­fa­ther, a vol­un­teer fire­fighter, dur­ing a tour of the Coaldale fire hall. Kinder­garten stu­dents at Jen­nie Emery El­e­men­tary School vis­ited the Coaldale and Dis­trict Emer­gency Ser­vices hall as part of Fire Preven­tion Week.

Jen­nie Emery El­e­men­tary School stu­dents check out some of the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of a pumper truck.

Coaldale fire­fighter Colby Stone shows JEES stu­dents how a ther­mal imag­ing cam­era works.

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