On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis becomes legal across Canada. This is a historic time for our country and for police services throughout Canada. As we move forward, we know you will have questions and we would like to help answer any inquires. Please see below for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Federal Cannabis Act/Ontario Cannabis Control Act?

The Federal Cannabis Act creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada.

The Ontario Cannabis Control Act contains laws about how, where and who can buy and possess cannabis in the province of Ontario. The government has also introduced legislation that, if passed, would help the province move forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1, 2019.

How Old Do I Have to Be To Buy Recreational Cannabis?

In the province of Ontario, you must be 19 years of age or older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis

Where Can I Legally Buy Recreational Cannabis?

The Ontario Cannabis Store website is the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis. In Ontario, people 19 and over will be able to purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Online orders will be delivered and consumers will be required to verify their age in order to accept the delivery. No packages will be left unattended at the door.

How Much Can I Purchase/Possess?

You will be allowed to purchase up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis at one time for personal use. Likewise, you will be allowed to have a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis in public at any time.

How Much Cannabis Can I Grow?

You will be allowed to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person).  Please note that Landlords will be able to prohibit growing on their properties.

Where Can I Use/Not Use Cannabis?

The government has proposed legislation that, if passed, would provide the following rules for using cannabis, both medical and recreational.

Where to Smoke and Vape Cannabis:

  • Private residences (excluding residences that are also considered workplaces)
  • Several outdoor public places
  • Designated guest rooms (hotels, motels, inns)
  • Residential vehicles and boats (that meet certain criteria such as, having permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities and ones that are parked or anchored)
  • Scientific research and testing facilities if the cannabis use if for scientific research and testing purposes
  • Controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric facilities or veteran’s facilities

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

Where not to Smoke or Vape Cannabis

  • indoor common areas or non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
  • schools, school grounds and all public areas within 20m of these grounds
  • on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20m of playgrounds
  • in Child Care centres or where an early years program is provided
  • in places where home child care is provided, even if children aren’t present
  • within 9m from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
  • on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/private and psychiatric facilities
  • non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive house, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities and residential hospices.
  • publically owned spaces, such as sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20m of these areas.
  • in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being put into motion
  • In restaurants, bar patios and public areas within 9m of a patio
  • outdoor grounds of specified Ontario government office buildings
  • reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations
  • grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20m of those grounds
  • sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls, which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (i.e. bus shelter).


Can I Drive After Using Cannabis? 

Driving high is driving impaired. Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous because it slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision. Our Service is been committed to updating and expanding our training to detect drug impaired drivers through enhanced Standardized Field Sobriety Test training and increasing the number of Drug Recognition Enforcement officers.

If you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you could face serious consequences, including an immediate licence suspension, financial penalties, possible vehicle impoundment, possible criminal record and possible jail time.

There will be a zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers. They will not be allowed to have any cannabis in their system (as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device) if they are driving a motor vehicle and:

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

Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, we will implement the use of those devices to help police enforce the law.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service currently has 304 front-line officers trained in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests who are able to recognize impairment by alcohol and drug use. We also have 14 Drug Recognition Experts that are specifically trained in impaired by drug recognition. We expect to have more trained by the end of 2018. We also plan on increasing RIDE programs throughout the Region as part of our commitment to road safety.

What do I do if I Suspect Someone is Driving Impaired?

Like alcohol-impaired driving, drug-impaired driving is illegal and is considered a crime in progress. You should call 9-1-1 immediately. 

Can I Consume Cannabis in the Workplace?

No. Consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace is illegal.

What is the Difference Between Recreational and Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is subject to different rules that recreational cannabis. The production and sale of medical cannabis is regulated exclusively by the federal government. If you have been authorized by a health care professional to use cannabis for medical purposes, your access will not change. The only way to purchase medical cannabis is from a federally licensed producer online, by written order or over the phone and delivered by secure mail.

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