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In Ontario, it is legal to smoke cannabis anywhere where cigarettes may be smoked. Although, some municipalities have passed a by-law banning smoking cannabis in public.

  • Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces
  • Many outdoor public places (for example, sidewalks and parks)
  • Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)

Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements and the policies of employers and property owners.

Indoors:

  • Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences
  • Enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces
  • Non designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns

Schools and Places where Children Gather:

  • At school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds
  • On children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds
  • In childcare centres or where an early year’s program is provided in places where home childcare is provided — even if children aren’t present
  • Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities

Healthcare Facilities:

  • Within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public and private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
  • On outdoor grounds of hospitals (public and private) and psychiatric facilities in non-controlled areas
  • In long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices

Publicly Owned Spaces:

  • You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in publicly owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.

Vehicles and Boats:

  • You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping and eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven.

Other Outdoor Areas:

  • In restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio
  • On outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings
  • In reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations
  • On grounds of community recreational facilities and public areas within 20 metres of those grounds
  • In sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (for example, a bus shelter)

Legal possession is 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent.

30 grams of dried cannabis is equal to:
- 150 grams of fresh cannabis
- 450 grams of edible product
- 2,100 grams of liquid product
- 7.5 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
- 30 cannabis plant seeds

Possession over the limit is a criminal offence with penalties of up to 5 years in prison.

Transporting Cannabis
Similar to the rules for alcohol, it is illegal to transport cannabis in a motorized vehicle (such as a car or boat) if it is open (“unfastened”) and not in its original packaging or not packed in baggage and is readily available to anyone in the vehicle. And it is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border.

Impairment from cannabis begins almost immediately and can last over 6 hours, depending on factors such as THC levels and how it is consumed. The effects can last longer if you’re a new user, have consumed a lot or have combined cannabis with alcohol or medication. Since the effects of cannabis vary, there is no way to know exactly how long to wait before it’s safe to drive. Even if you think the high has worn off, your ability to drive may still be impaired. The best way to avoid impaired driving is to not take a chance. Plan another way home:

  • have a designated driver
  • use public transit
  • call a friend or family member for a ride
  • call a taxi or a rideshare
  • stay overnight

Driving a vehicle while you’re impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. This includes cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles. Cannabis affects your judgment, coordination and reaction time, and increases your chances of being in a collision. Canada had 4,679 drug-impaired driving incidents in 2018. Ontario had 974 impaired driving incidents.

The Criminal Code prohibits driving while (1) impaired and (2) having over the legal limit of THC in the blood. Being over the limit and being impaired are not the same.

There are many factors that can affect the level of impairment for each person. Someone with a low tolerance can be impaired and not over the legal limit. Similarly, someone with a high tolerance can be over the limit, but not observably impaired. While being over the limit and being impaired are not the same, the law is the same for everyone. This means that you can be under the limit but still considered impaired and therefore charged with impaired driving.

  1. Impaired driving - You can be under the limit and still be impaired. Under section 320.14 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a crime to operate a car while impaired by alcohol or a drug (inclusive of cannabis), regardless of whether you are below the legal limit of THC in your blood concentration. In other words, if you are under the THC blood level limit, based on a police officer's observations, you can still be charged criminally with impaired driving.
  2. Over the limit - The Criminal Code prohibits driving while over the legal limit of THC in the blood. For cannabis, the limit is set at 5 nanograms of THC/ml of blood. Any amount above this is considered over the legal limit and you will be charged criminally with impaired driving.

Zero Tolerance for Young, Novice or Commercial Drivers
In Ontario there is zero tolerance for young, novice or commercial drivers. Just like alcohol, you are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved drug screening device) if you are driving and you:

  • are 21 or under
  • have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
  • are driving a vehicle that requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)
  • are driving a road-building machine

The penalties for violating Ontario’s zero tolerance law include licence suspensions and financial penalties. Repeat offenders face longer suspensions and additional consequences such as mandatory education and treatment programs. Medical cannabis users will not be subject to the zero tolerance drug requirements but may still face penalties and criminal charges if ability to drive has been impaired.

Medical Cannabis Users
If a police officer is satisfied that you are legally authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes, you will not be subject to Ontario’s zero tolerance drug requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers. However, you can still face penalties and criminal charges if a police officer determines that your ability to drive has been impaired. Even if you have been authorized to use cannabis or another drug by a healthcare professional, it is your responsibility to ensure you are not impaired while driving.

Being Pulled Over?
The police officer may not suspect you have smoked cannabis, this could just be a routine check, or the officer may have stopped you for a traffic infraction or other reason. Please note that you did not have to have done anything wrong for an officer to pull you over. Officers have the power to stop drivers and check to see if they have a valid license, if they are sober, and if their vehicle is roadworthy.

The officer may request a roadside test to determine if you recently used cannabis. If you have, or consumed cannabis products within the past three hours (although it may be longer depending on what cannabis product and method you consumed the it), are operating a motor vehicle, and a police officer has reason to suspect that you have alcohol and/or drugs in your body, they may demand for you to:

  • Provide a sample of your breath, on an Approved Screening Device (ASD);
  • Provide an oral fluid sample, on an Approved Drug Screening Equipment (ADSE); and
  • Participate in a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST).

Failing a roadside test is defined as:

  • If your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level is above 0.08; or
  • If your THC level is over 25 ng/mL in your oral fluid; or
  • If you fail the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) test

Failing any one of these tests will result in you getting charged, arrested and transported to the police station. Failure, or refusal, to comply with the SFST demand can also result in criminal charges that carry the same, or greater, penalties as impaired driving. Make sure to speak with your lawyer before you deny cooperation, such as remaining silent, or refusing to comply with the SFST demand.

Testing Following the Arrest
Following a failed roadside test the suspected impaired driver will be charged, arrested and taken to the police station. The police officer can proceed in any of the following ways:

  • Demand that the impaired driver provides a blood sample.
  • Demand that the driver undergoes a 12-step Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation.

Impaired Driving Penalties
If you are over the legal limit of THC in your blood or if you're determined to be impaired by a police officer, you will face both Federal & Provincial penalties:

Federal

  • 1st offence - minimum $1,000 fine
  • 2nd offence - mandatory 30 days in prison
  • 3rd offence - mandatory 120 days in prison

Provincial, Ontario (all occurrences)

  • 90-day license suspension
  • 7-day vehicle impoundment
  • $550 penalty
  • $281 license reinstatement fee
  • Mandatory education program (on 2nd + occurrences)

You may grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person) if:

  • you are 19 years of age and older
  • it is only for your personal use
  • the starting material was purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized retail store
  • it is not forbidden by your lease agreement or condo rules
  • Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits is a criminal offence with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

Cannabis edibles are legal in Canada as of October 17, 2019.

Edible cannabis products are allowed to have:

  • up to 10 milligrams of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in a single package;
  • up to 30 milligrams of caffeine, if it is naturally occurring (for example, in chocolate, coffee and tea);

Edible cannabis products must contain no nicotine or added alcohol.

Extracts and topicals are legal in Canada as of October 17, 2019.

Extracts (also known as concentrates) that are inhaled or ingested, and topicals (cannabis-infused products for skin, hair and nails) can have up to 1,000 milligrams of THC per package.

Products are prohibited from:

  • being appealing to youth;
  • making health, dietary or cosmetic claims (for example, low fat or suitable for joint pain);
  • having elements that associate the product with alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or vaping products;

If a healthcare professional has already authorized you to use cannabis for medical reasons, your access has not changed now that recreational cannabis is legal.

Medical cannabis is subject to different rules than recreational cannabis. The production and sale of medical cannabis is regulated exclusively by the federal government.

The only way to purchase medical cannabis is:

  • from a federally licensed producer online
  • by written order
  • over the phone and delivered by secure mail
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