What to ex­pect in At­lantic Canada

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY COLIN CHISHOLM

Mar­i­juana will be le­gal­ized across Canada as of Oct. 17. Some cu­ri­ous con­sumers may be won­der­ing what's al­lowed and what isn't. Here's what you need to know about con­sum­ing mar­i­juana prod­ucts in Nova Sco­tia, Prince Ed­ward Is­land, New­found­land and New Brunswick.

19 IS THE MIN­I­MUM AGE

Much like al­co­hol, if you want to con­sume, you'll have to wait un­til you're of age to do so. And 19 is the le­gal age to use, buy, grow or pos­sess cannabis in all four prov­inces. Those un­der 19, who are caught with the sub­stance, could face fines and/or crim­i­nal charges. In Nova Sco­tia, restora­tive jus­tice pro­grams could come into play, de­pend­ing on the per­son's age and cir­cum­stances. If you're un­der 18 and in pos­ses­sion of more than five grams, you'll be charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence, and will be pros­e­cuted in the same way as with youth drug pos­ses­sion. Those over 18 in pos­ses­sion of more than 30 grams of mar­i­juana could face charges un­der the fed­eral Cannabis Act. If you sell or pro­vide some­one un­der the age of 19 with cannabis, you could face fines of up to $10,000.

WHERE YOU CAN AND CAN'T SMOKE IT

In Nova Sco­tia, the Smoke-free Places Act will ap­ply to all smok­ing of mar­i­juana in pub­lic. Ba­si­cally, any­where you can't smoke a cig­a­rette, you can't smoke a joint. That means you can't smoke cannabis in any in­door work­place or pub­lic place, out­door li­censed area or pa­tio, restaurants, lounges or cabarets. There’s no smok­ing within four me­tres of win­dows, air in­take vents or en­trances to places of em­ploy­ment. If you smoke within one of these re­stricted ar­eas, you could face fines of $2,000. Many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are pass­ing their own by­laws with stricter rules, such as no smok­ing on side­walks or in pub­lic parks. Some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have also promised to in­crease en­force­ment of ex­ist­ing by­laws. You will be able to con­sume mar­i­juana in your own home, but if you're a renter, your land­lord is legally al­lowed to amend your lease and re­strict the con­sump­tion or grow­ing of cannabis. Cannabis, in any form, is banned from be­ing used in ve­hi­cles by pas­sen­gers or driv­ers. Fines of up to $2,000 could ap­ply for con­sump­tion in a ve­hi­cle. In P.E.I., recre­ational cannabis use will be re­stricted to pri­vate residences, with some ex­cep­tions made for des­ig­nated spa­ces. The govern­ment says this de­ci­sion aims to pro­tect the pub­lic from sec­ond­hand cannabis smoke. Pri­vate residences in­clude: a house, apart­ment, trailer, tent, guest room or ho­tel room. How­ever, prop­erty and condo own­ers have the au­thor­ity to re­strict cannabis use on their ren­tal or tourism prop­er­ties. Pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion will be up­dated to pro­hibit the smok­ing of recre­ational and med­i­cal cannabis in pub­lic places where to­bacco smok­ing and elec­tronic smok­ing de­vices (e.g., va­p­ing) are al­ready not per­mit­ted. Con­sump­tion of cannabis is also pro­hib­ited in any ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing cars, boats and off-road ve­hi­cles. Given the num­ber of re­stric­tions in place, the province is also al­low­ing for des­ig­nated con­sump­tion spa­ces to be put in place. The High­way Traf­fic Act will be amended to en­sure cannabis in­tox­i­ca­tion in a mo­tor ve­hi­cle re­flects al­co­hol im­paired driv­ing. A new sum­mary of­fence will be cre­ated in cases of im­paired driv­ing with a mi­nor. The province is plan­ning to train ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers to step up en­force­ment. More are also be­ing trained as drug recog­ni­tion ex­perts. In New­found­land and Labrador, the use of cannabis for recre­ational pur­poses is re­stricted to pri­vate residences and it can’t be con­sumed in pub­lic places, in ve­hi­cles or in work­places. Don’t con­sume in your cars. The High­way Traf­fic Act has been amended, and with it fines that range from $300 to $10,000 de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the of­fence. Novice driv­ers — those un­der 22-years-old — and com­mer­cial driv­ers will be un­der a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties may also establish their own by­laws on where res­i­dents are al­lowed to con­sume it.

LIM­ITED AMOUNT AL­LOWED

Adults over 19 will be al­lowed to have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in pub­lic. There are no re­stric­tions on how much you can keep in your home, as long as it's for per­sonal use. There is a limit to how much you can grow — adults aged 19 and older will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants per house­hold. Each apart­ment in a house or build­ing is con­sid­ered a sep­a­rate house­hold. Again, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties may pass ad­di­tional by­laws that fur­ther re­strict the cul­ti­va­tion of mar­i­juana plants.

TRANS­PORT­ING IT IN NOVA SCO­TIA

Sim­i­lar to trans­port­ing al­co­hol from the store to your home, cannabis must re­main in a closed, sealed pack­age and out of reach of any­one in a ve­hi­cle. Fines of up to $2,000 can ap­ply for im­proper trans­porta­tion. Med­i­cal mar­i­juana will con­tinue to be reg­u­lated and li­censed in its cur­rent form.

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