For years, the Netherlands has been famous for allowing residents and visitors to legally purchase marijuana from its coffee shops. However, the drug is technically not legal to use there. Of course, the selling and use of it is tolerated by authorities, especially if the amount is 5 grams or less, but that does not mean that it is 100 percent legal. Therefore, on Oct. 17, 2018, it was Canada that became the first major world economy and second country period to make marijuana for recreational use completely legal, after Uruguay did so in 2013.
This occurred after the Cannabis Act was approved by the House of Commons of Canada in November 2017 and the Senate of Canada in June 2018. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, was the driving force behind marijuana’s legalization north of the border. In 2013, he said that “the current war on drugs, the current model, is not working,” that the industry needed to be regulated and that the focus needed to turn towards educating people about marijuana and keeping it off of the black market.
Specifics of Marijuana Laws in Canada
Probably the most important thing for Californians and Americans to consider is that you’re not allowed to buy marijuana in Canada and bring it across the border into the United States. This is true even if you are traveling into one of the states where it is legal such as Michigan or Washington. You also cannot bring marijuana from the United States into Canada despite it now being legal north of the border.
However, anybody can head to Canada, purchase marijuana there and consume it there regardless of what the laws are related to the drug in their home state or country. The only requirement is to be of legal age, which is 19 in most of the country and 18 in Alberta and Quebec. Those who are of age are allowed to possess, carry and share up to 30 grams of marijuana. Additionally, people who live anywhere in the country outside of Manitoba and Quebec can have up to four homegrown plants as well.
Where you can smoke depends on the province. For example, in British Columbia and Ontario, people can use marijuana for recreational use in the same places where they can smoke cigarettes. The same can be said for Alberta outside of Calgary. However, it’s important to note that those renting a living space such as a hotel room or an apartment in these provinces may not be allowed to use it if those who own the building ban it.
Do make sure to not be under the influence of marijuana while driving as you can be fined at least $750. If an incident that involves the loss of life results from this, life in prison could be sentenced.
How Does California Compare to Canada?
The similarities between the California and Canada are numerous. Most notably, their populations are similar as California is home to 40 million people while Canada has 37 million residents. Their economies are similar too albeit less so as California’s is $2.7 trillion while Canada’s is $1.7 trillion. Meanwhile, New Frontier Data projected each to have nearly identical marijuana markets in 2019 with estimates for both coming in at $7 billion.
As far as the laws go regarding marijuana use, the amount that an individual can possess in Canada is slightly less than is the case in California at 28.5 grams. However, the number of plants that residents can grow at home is higher in California at six. But where you can consume marijuana in California is much more restrictive as private residences are the only legal option. You also need to be older as the legal age to purchase marijuana in California is 21.
Interestingly, edibles and concentrates are not currently available in Canada despite those products making up half of the marijuana market in the Golden State. However, they’re expected to be made available in Canada in 2019.
Struggling With Addiction?
Unfortunately, some individuals who consume marijuana may become addicted. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to marijuana, or any other drug or alcohol substance, reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery for assistance. We’ll ensure that you receive the treatment that you’re looking for so that you can regain control over your life.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.