As you’re probably well aware, recreational marijuana is legal across Canada. Hooray!
But that doesn’t mean you’re free to smoke up wherever and whenever you want – we still live in a civil society, after all.
The lawyers at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group want to help you navigate the marijuana laws in British Columbia – that way you can actually smoke up, relax, and know you’re in no legal trouble when you hit that good stuff.
Where to Buy
Just like before regulations were set in place, you can’t just go and buy cannabis from an unregulated dealer. To legally purchase marijuana, you’ll have to go to a government-run facility or a seller that is licensed under the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch ensures that the cannabis you purchase is safe and meets government requirements for quality, safety, and sanitation. Distributors are also obligated to have recall measures in place, in case something goes wrong with a particular product or strain.
Both government-run and private retail stores can sell a maximum of 30 grams, or a little more than 1 ounce, of dried cannabis or its equivalent in oil or seed to a customer at any one time.
If you’re looking to legally purchase cannabis in British Columbia, here is a helpful directory of licensed facilities.
Possession & Growing Laws
For adults 19 and older, it is legal in British Columbia to possess up to 1,000 grams of marijuana (or equivalent amount in various forms) in their home. This amount is measured per-household, not per-person.
It is illegal to possess more than 30 grams in public (the maximum amount a store can sell to you).
You can also possess up to 30 seeds for growing your own cannabis, and up to 4 plants. British Columbia’s official cannabis guide has this to say about growing your own marijuana:
“Growing cannabis plants at home is legal. Adults 19+ can grow up to four non-medical cannabis plants per household. These plants cannot be grown in a space that is visible from a public place, like parks, streets, sidewalks, sports fields, and K-12 school properties. For example, you can grow plants on your balcony, or in your yard, as long as they’re not visible from a public place.
Growing cannabis at home is banned in homes used as licensed child care.
Landlords and strata corporations can further restrict or prohibit growing non-medical cannabis on their properties.
Local and Indigenous government can also further restrict growing non-medical cannabis at home under existing powers to establish bylaws.”
Where to Use
There are several marijuana laws in British Columbia regarding where it is acceptable and legal to use recreational cannabis or cannabis products.
“There is no smoking or vaping in indoor public places (except in designated rooms), provincial parks, near schools, in vehicles, on boats, near bus stops, and within six meters of any doorway, window or air intake. “
Smoking is legal on a boat through one exception. If your boat is anchored, and has sleeping accommodations, a kitchen, and toilet, you may consume cannabis or cannabis products provided the boat is not being operated as a vehicle while you are under the influence.
Similarly to alcohol, it is never legal to consume cannabis in a motor vehicle, whether you are the driver or passenger. Cannabis should only be kept in a car if you are transporting it from a dispensary or seller to your home, bringing your cannabis to a party or friend’s, etc. You can smoke or vape cannabis in a vehicle only if it’s an RV, motorhome, camper, or trailer that’s parked off a public road or forest service road and it’s serving as a private residence.
DUIs & Cannabis Use
As with alcohol, there are strict laws and strong penalties for operating a vehicle while using recreational marijuana.
“Under a new provincial law, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, passengers in vehicles aren’t allowed to use cannabis.
‘There’s no consuming cannabis anywhere in the province of British Columbia inside a vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you’re behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter if you’re a passenger there is an associated ticket that goes along with it,’ said Vancouver Police Const. Jason Doucette.
Roadside tests for cannabis will bring lots of litigation, lawyer says
According to Doucette, the ticket is about $230 for allowing anyone in the vehicle to light up.
‘We don’t want any drivers smoking behind the wheel … The driver ticket would likely start at [$230] as well, but then you’re looking at impaired investigations, you’re looking at a bunch of other options once you open that door,’ said Doucette.”