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You have likely seen it on your television or read about it in the newspapers: as of October 17, 2018, cannabis will be legal to consume and purchase from branches of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC). Although this new law will please many consumers, the fact remains that this legislation comes with a set of rules and restrictions that should be known beforehand and not ignored. Especially since the regulations will differ depending on the Canadian province in which you reside.

What becomes legal with cannabis legislation?

Cannabis possession

You can now possess cannabis legally, with some limitations. Marijuana possession must not exceed more than 30g in a public place and 150g at home, since only cannabis possession for personal consumption is allowed.

If you exceed this limit, the law provides for a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of 6 months to 5 years.

Growing cannabis at home

Another new provision of this legalization is the ability to grow cannabis at home. Federal law limits this crop to four cannabis plants per dwelling house. A “dwelling house” refers to a house in which you live year-round, so vacation homes and cottages are excluded. Be warned, Quebec is less permissive at the moment and nothing suggests that the federal law will be applicable at the provincial level.

Currently, the federal government provides a heavy sentence for the consumer/farmer if the limit is not respected. In fact, beyond four plants, you risk a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

What will remain illegal with cannabis legislation?

Marijuana distribution

Despite the authorization to possess cannabis on oneself, it remains strictly forbidden to distribute it. By “distribute”, the law refers to “administering, giving, transferring, transporting, shipping, delivering, providing, making available or offering to distribute.”

However, the law makes a distinction since it is not forbidden to distribute less than 30 g of dried cannabis to a person of legal age.

Sale and possession with intent to sell

The Canadian government will continue to strictly control drug trafficking. Although cannabis will be legal, it is important to remember that this legislation has a framework and is very well regulated. As such, it remains illegal to sell or possess cannabis with intent to sell. If you are charged, you can also be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison if you are convicted of a criminal offence. Three factors can influence your sentence, depending on the profile of the person who buys your goods:

  • Sale to an individual 18 years of age and over: 6 months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
  • Sale to an individual 18 years of age and under: 18 months imprisonment and $15,000 fine.
  • Selling to an organization: a fine of up to $100,000.

Fines: a new measure imposed for violation

Another point of this legalization’s new measures is the ability of police to hand out tickets in the event of an offence, rather than go through the usual judicial process. This new approach would make it possible to reduce the impact of certain offences and to open a separate judicial file from those opened in the case of a Criminal Code offence. The harm would therefore be reduced for people who commit a wrongdoing in the face of these new laws.

However, some questions remain and the Canadian government will have to clarify all the points of this legalization before fall 2018.

Hire a lawyer for a drug offence

Cannabis legalization is fast approaching. Many points still need to be clarified, especially in relation to the different regions of Canada. Consequently, nothing is final on the regulations and all the terms and conditions in your province of residence should be known when the law comes into effect.

Despite the new regulations, it will still be recommended to hire a qualified lawyer to deal with criminal charges related to drugs. Request a free consultation now by contacting the DUI Montreal Lawyer law firm.