What’s allowed at the cottage now that cannabis is legal

Marijuana plants hanohiki/Shutterstock

As of October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis is legal in Canada. That means all of Canada, even in cottage country. Though the change has been in the works for years, there’s still some doubt whether all the actors affected by the change (the courts and law enforcement, to name two) are prepared. And provinces and municipalities are still working out rules and regulations. Just this past summer, for example, the new Progressive Conservative government in Ontario upended the framework of the previous Liberal regime by cancelling plans for government-run retail locations and allowing private retailers into the market—but not until April 1, 2019. Until then, you can only buy recreational cannabis through the province’s online Ontario Cannabis Store.

If you are considering growing your own at the cottage, check what is permitted in your jurisdiction. The federal guidelines have set a limit of four plants per household, but Manitoba and Quebec are not allowing private cultivation at all. British Columbia specifies that “plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property.” New Brunswick also has stipulations: “When grown indoors, these plants must be in a separate, locked space. When grown outdoors, they must be located behind a locked enclosure that is 1.52 metres high.” In the Northwest Territories, plants must be grown indoors. As for possession, federal regulations allow you to have up to 30 grams in a public place. Check your jurisdiction for any regulations.

For boaters, think about the restrictions around boating and alcohol impairment; the rules for cannabis use are much the same. For instance, in Ontario, you are allowed to use cannabis in houseboats and RVs—“Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (e.g. have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)”—but not “in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is under a person’s control,” says David Jensen, a media relations coordinator with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


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