Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, experienced stoners and rookie smokers alike are asking the question: Where can I smoke weed in BC?
Just like alcohol, there are limitations to when, where, and how you consume cannabis. And if you fail to follow these laws, you could end up facing some serious penalties.
The penalties associated with breaking the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act range from fines of $2,000 to $10,000 or even imprisonment for three to 12 months. That’s a steep price to pay, especially when the rules for where you can smoke weed are pretty simple and straightforward.
Here, we’ll break down the rules for you so you can know where and when it’s okay to spark up a joint.
Where You Can Smoke Weed
It’s more than common courtesy – smoking weed in prohibited areas can lead to an arrest or legal penalties.
First and foremost, only adults aged 19 and older can smoke weed legally in Canada. The consumption of cannabis as a minor is illegal in all provinces and territories.
For those who are old enough to smoke, it is important that you only do so in allowed areas such as:
- Private residences – this does not include residences that are also workplaces (for example, long-term care and retirement homes)
- Many outdoor public places (for example, sidewalks and parks)
- Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
- Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (for example, if they have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities, and are parked or anchored)
- Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes)
- Controlled areas in:
- long-term care homes
- certain retirement homes
- residential hospices
- provincially-funded supportive housing
- designated psychiatric facilities or veterans’ facilities
In addition to this, there may be bylaws in your municipality that dictate further where you can smoke or vape cannabis.
Your landlord or home association may also have its own rules for the use of cannabis on their properties. It is important to check the terms of your lease before consuming marijuana in your residence if you do not own it.
Where You Cannot Smoke Weed
There are many locations where it is explicitly prohibited to smoke or vape cannabis. Many of these locations are the same as those where it is illegal to consume alcohol or smoke tobacco. These include:
- indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences
- enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces
- non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
Schools and places where children gather
You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:
- at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20 metres of these grounds
- on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of playgrounds
- in child care centres or where an early years program is provided
- in places where home child care is provided — even if children aren’t present
Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities
You cannot smoke or vape cannabis:
- within 9 metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public and private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
- on outdoor grounds of hospitals (public and private) and psychiatric facilities
- in non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans’ facilities, and residential hospices
Publicly owned spaces
You cannot smoke or vape cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.
Vehicles and boats
You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping and eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or will be driven.
How a Drug Charge Attorney can Help You
If you were arrested for illegally consuming cannabis, it is important to retain the services of an experienced drug charge lawyer, like those here at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group.
We can help you beat your drug charge and avoid serious penalties, so that you can move on with your life without the worry of fines or prison time.
Contact us today by calling one of our offices in Abbotsford or Surrey, or fill out our confidential contact form. We’ll get you an initial case evaluation and get you on the right path toward a clean record.