What to expect in Atlantic Canada
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.