October 1, 2018

Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana, Cannabis, Mary-Jane, Weed, Ganja – call it what you like, it will all be legal in Canada on October 17th.
 
There are two categories of cannabis – for medical use and for recreational use. Medical cannabis is already legal in Canada.  The October 17th change refers to recreational use.
 

What you need to know about recreational cannabis

The Federal government has legalized cannabis to help eliminate illegal markets, control access by youth, and ensure product quality and safety.
Cannabis remains a controlled substance.  As such, there are restrictions placed on it.  The provinces are responsible for setting laws pertaining to minimum age, distribution, where it can be used, and how much you can possess. Local municipalities may also have their own by-laws regulating its use. For more information, review the Cannabis in Canada site which includes links to all the provincial and territorial sites.
 
For example, in Ontario, you must be 19 years old to purchase or use cannabis and may only possess 30g at a time.  The only legal outlet is the online Ontario Cannabis Store although the market may be expanded next year.  Users may grow up to four plants at home. 
Driving while impaired, by alcohol or drugs including cannabis, is illegal.  Police have the training and tools to identify impaired driving.  If caught, you will face fines, license suspension, and possibly jail time. 
 

Cannabis in the workplace

Cannabis falls under your workplace drug and alcohol policy. Working while intoxicated, by any substance, is unacceptable and will lead to disciplinary action.  Review your company policies to ensure your use of cannabis does not contradict any workplace policies.
Those who wish to partake in the use of cannabis should do so on their own time and ensure that they are fit for work as scheduled.
 

Travel

It is not legal to transport cannabis, or any product containing it, across the border.   This applies even if it is a legal substance at your destination or it is for medical use.  Doing so will result in serious criminal penalties.
 
Cannabis is not recognized as a legal substance by the US Federal Government.  A US Customs and Border Protection agent may ask if you possess or have used cannabis or if you work in the cannabis industry.  Answering “yes” to any of these questions may land you with a lifetime ban of entering the US.  Lying to a federal agent is also an offence also leading to a lifetime ban. 
 
 
Cannabis consumption can lead to drug abuse or addiction. 
If you feel that someone around you has developed an unhealthy habit or you feel yourself becoming overly reliant on cannabis, reach out for help.  Many group plans include an employee assistance plan that can help or consult your doctor.
 
Know how cannabis use can affect all aspects of your life before making the decision to use it.  If you choose to use it, do so in a manner that ensures your own safety as well as the safety of those around you. 
 
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