Cannabis Legalization – What You Need To Know

It is now officially legal in Canada for adults to possess, grow and consume recreational cannabis. The federal and Ontario governments have established laws in respect to the use, possession and sale of recreational cannabis. In Ontario, the minimum legal age for consumption and possession is 19, and it is legal to consume cannabis where smoking tobacco is allowed, subject to certain exceptions.
 
Using cannabis
In Ottawa, municipal by-laws prohibit smoking and vaping of cannabis products on City property, such as parks, arenas, recreational centers, libraries, pools, transit stations and buses. Provincial legislation also prohibits the smoking and vaping of cannabis where the smoking and vaping of tobacco is prohibited, including:

·         In enclosed public places, such as inside businesses, hospitals and restaurants
·         In enclosed workplaces
·         In common areas of buildings, condominiums, and college and university residences, such as hallways, laundry rooms and entertainment rooms
·         At and near schools
·         On hospital grounds
·         At child-care centers
·         On or near restaurant or bar patios

In addition, similar to alcohol, provincial legislation prohibits the consumption of cannabis in a vehicle or boat, and requires that any cannabis in a vehicle or boat be unopened, in its original packaging, or not be readily available to any person.
 
Buying and selling
The only legal way for now to acquire recreational cannabis in Ontario is online, through the Ontario Cannabis Store. Cannabis for recreational uses will be sold through authorized cannabis retailers, beginning April 1, 2019. Until then, cannabis retailers or dispensaries remain illegal and are subject to enforcement. All retailers will be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
 
Cannabis and your health
It’s important to know how cannabis affects you and to consider ways to consume it responsibly. Information on the health effects of cannabis is available at OttawaPublicHealth.ca.
 
Impaired driving
The Ottawa Police Service has 28 trained drug recognition experts and more than 270 trained standardized field sobriety test officers, who will detect impairment by alcohol, prescription and non-prescription drugs. With the legalization of cannabis, targeted enforcement, including RIDEs, screen drivers for impairment. 
 
For more information on the impacts of cannabis legalization in Ottawa, please visit ottawa.ca and OttawaPublicHealth.ca. For information on the legal framework for recreational cannabis, please visit the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.  (City of Ottawa news release)
Image credit: REUTERS/Patrick Doyle
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