As part of our ‘Oh Cannabis!’ pot education series, today we’ll discuss the legalities of cannabis and how it may affect you.  In terms of cannabis SEO and cannabis digital marketing, understanding this evolving industry is critical to the safety of our clients.

Cannabis 101

How much cannabis is legal to possess?

According to the government of Canada website, adults 19 years of age or older (depending on province or territory, in Quebec for instance the legal age is 18) are able to:

– possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public

– share up to 30 grams with other adults

– purchase cannabis products from a provincial or territorial retailer

– grow up to 4 plants per residence (not per person) for personal use from licensed seeds or seedlings (except in Quebec and Manitoba where growing your own is prohibited)

What does this mean?

According to the Huffington Post, one of the main goals of the Justice Department in creating the Cannabis Act is to keep pot out of the hands of young people. That means no one below the age of 18 or 19 depending on the province where you live can possess or use cannabis. And guess what? That means anyone of the legal age is not allowed to provide cannabis to minors. The Justice Department created 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.

Don’t distribute!

Sharing is great when it’s a pack of gum. When it comes to marijuana, you’re better off getting your own and knowing its source. Legally, you have to buy cannabis for recreational use from a recognized government source. Also, even though you may grow your own, you can’t sell it. That means even if your neighbour comes knocking on your door to borrow a cup of sugar and offers to buy some of your crop so they can make brownies, just say no.

How much is too much?

Again, you may grow four plants per residence, emphasis on the residence part. This means even if you have roommates or live with ten other people, that’s four plants total. Per household. Not four each and not at all in Quebec and Manitoba.

www.canada.ca states: “Possession, production and distribution, and sale outside of what the law allows remain illegal and subject to criminal penalties, ranging from ticketing up to a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.”

Translation, you can’t possess more than the allotted 30 grams in public, or four plants per household. You can’t sell it. You can’t distribute to minors or provide online marketing aimed at minors. If you do you will probably be fined and might go to jail. It would totally suck to have marijuana made legal only to go to prison for not knowing the law so be sure to check the laws/rules where you live.

Which brings us to:

Laws in your area

Did you know that each province and territory has their own rules for cannabis?

Saying “I didn’t know” is not enough, you must check what the rules are where you live. Some things that vary:

  • legal minimum age-nineteen in most of Canada, but eighteen in some provinces
  • where adults can buy it-in Ontario it’s from government sources
  • where adults can use it
  • how much adults can possess or grow

You must respect the laws of the province, territory or Indigenous community you are in, whether you live there or are visiting. Municipalities may also pass bylaws to regulate the use of cannabis locally. Review your provincial and territorial guidelines. Also check your municipality’s website for local information.

Where can I buy it?

Legal cannabis products are only sold through retailers authorized by your provincial or territorial government, and online through the Ontario Cannabis store, the only online legal retailer. There are laws coming into force that will allow retailers to directly market and advertise cannabis and this of course provides opportunities for online cannabis marketing and cannabis SEO work.

Counterfeit Cannabis

Buyer beware. Legal cannabis products have an “excise stamp” on the package with security features to prevent forgery, just like passports and banknotes. Each province and territory have a different coloured excise stamp. Legal cannabis products will have the standardized cannabis symbol along with mandatory health warning messages.

Are all types of cannabis legal?

Nope. THC gummy bears and lollipops may be your thing, but you’re going to have to wait a while to partake in that form of cannabis in Canada. If you’ve got the munchies for edibles, you’ll have to make your own. For now, adults can legally purchase fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds or plants for cultivation from authorized retailers.

When will edibles be legal?

Edible products and concentrates will be legal to purchase approximately one year after the Cannabis Act has come into force. Federal regulations for their production are still being developed and when they can be enforced, the government will allow the sale of these types of products. Until then, you are going to have to settle for your own pot brownies since edibles and concentrates are not yet legal for purchase in Canada.  We think the edibles market will be extremely competitive and provide many opportunities for cannabis online marketing.

Will recreational use of Cannabis affect me when travelling?

Border beware

Yes, Cannabis is legal in Canada but it’s still illegal in most of the US and other countries. Even if you’re crossing into a state where it is legal, it is always illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border, entering and leaving Canada. This applies to all countries whether or not cannabis is legal there.

Border security may ask you about your history with the drug and whether or not you use it recreationally. According to the Huffington Post, “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.” They can refuse entry as it is seen as a criminal act in their country. This may interfere with those in the cannabis industry travelling on business, or those who own shares in a cannabis company. If it does come up, be honest. It’s easy to find out you’re lying by checking your social media and digital footprint. Lying to border control may get you banned for life from that country or worse.

Did you know?

In a country famous for it’s “Coffee Shops” and pot shops it may come as a surprise that technically Cannabis isn’t legal in the Netherlands, it’s merely tolerated.

While you’re here…

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