Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018, by the Federal Government. Below is an overview, based on information provided by the Government of Ontario, of recreational cannabis laws in Ontario. Please note that medical cannabis will continue to be subject to different rules than recreational cannabis.
It may helpful to think of recreational cannabis in the same way that we treat alcohol, in regards to our students and schools.
The information below has been modified from the Government of Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization
Minimum age is 19
You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.
Where smoking or vaping cannabis is allowed
The government has enacted the following rules for using cannabis, both medical and recreational.
Where people can smoke or vape cannabis*
- Private residences– this does not include residences that are also workplaces (e.g. long-term care and/or retirement homes)
- Many outdoor public places (e.g. sidewalks, parks)
- Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
*Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners.
Where people cannot smoke or vape cannabis
- Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings
- Enclosed public places and enclosed work places
- Non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns
Schools and places where children gather
- At school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20m of these grounds
- On children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20m 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
- Within 9m from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities
- On outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/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 20m of these areas
Vehicles and boats
- You cannot consume cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating) in a vehicle or boat that is being driven or is at risk of being put into motion
Other outdoor areas
- In restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within 9m of a patio
- On outdoor grounds of Ontario government office buildings
- In reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations
- On grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20m of those grounds
- In sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, or are invited to (e.g. a bus shelter)
Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision.
If a police officer finds someone impaired by any drug, including cannabis, while driving, they will face serious penalties, including:
- An immediate licence suspension
- Financial penalties
- Possible vehicle impoundment
- Possible criminal record
- Possible jail time
Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, those devices will help police enforce the law.
Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers
You are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device) if you are driving a motor vehicle and:
- You are 21 or under
- Have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
Where adults can buy recreational cannabis
As of October 17, 2018, people age 19 and over are able to purchase cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Online orders will be delivered safely and securely. Consumers will be required to verify their age to accept delivery and no packages will be left unattended at the door.
The Ontario Cannabis Store website is the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis. It follows strict rules set by the federal government.
The government is also moving forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that will launch by April 1, 2019. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licences. The Ontario Cannabis Store will be the exclusive wholesaler to these stores. Private stores will be introduced with strict controls to safeguard children and youth and combat the illegal market.
How much cannabis can adults possess?
Adults can have a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis in public at any time.
Adults may grow up to four plants per residence (not per person).
Medical cannabis is subject to different rules than recreational cannabis. The production and sale of medical cannabis is regulated exclusively by the federal government.
If a health care professional has already authorized someone to use cannabis for medical reasons, access does not change when recreational cannabis is legal. Smoking and vaping medical cannabis are not allowed on school property.
The only way to purchase medical cannabis is from:
- A federally licensed producer online
- By written order
- Over the phone and delivered by secure mail
Other Information – UGDSB
Students will continue to learn about cannabis and other drugs as part of the regular curriculum.
If you know of someone who is struggling with addiction, please contact:
- For students: School Social Worker
- For staff: Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1 (800) 387-3765, or CAMH at www.camh.ca
- For other community members: CAMH (www.camh.ca)
The board has a number of existing policies in place that speak to conduct around alcohol and drugs including:
- Policy 208 Smoke and Vape-Free Environment
- Policy 213 Code of Conduct
- Policy 503 Safe Schools
- Policy 513 Alcohol and Drugs
- What you need to know about cannabis
- How to talk to your kids about drugs
- How to talk to teenagers about drugs and impaired driving
- Learn about the health impacts of cannabis
- Talking Pot with Youth: A Cannabis Communication Guide for Youth Allies
- Health effects of cannabis use
- How drugs impair your ability to drive
- Penalties you could face if you drive impaired
- Information and resources about cannabis
- Educating young people about cannabis
- Ophea cannabis education resources
This information has been modified from the Government of Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization