A brief look at provincial approaches to recreational marijuana sales
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has unveiled more details on its plan to sell recreational cannabis. Here’s a look at provincial and territorial plans to date.
– British Columbia has set the age of consumption at 19. Retail sales to be allowed through public and private stores, but retail licences won’t be approved without the support of local governments. Retailers will not be permitted to sell weed in stores that sell liquor or tobacco. People will be allowed to smoke pot in public places where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. It will be banned in vehicles and in areas frequented by children, including beaches, parks and playgrounds. Adults will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household, but landlords and condo councils can restrict or prohibit cultivation and smoking on their properties.
– Alberta plans will control the online sale of pot, but will leave over-the-counter sales to private operators, who will be subject to extensive background checks. Minimum age of consumption to be 18. Private pot stores will have to be physically separate from stores selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Pot stores will not be allowed to sell anything but cannabis and cannabis-related products. The province expects to issue 250 licences in the first year. Stores will have to be 100 metres away from schools and health-care facilities.
– Saskatchewan is proposing a minimum age of 19 and is banning consumption in public places. Sales will be handled by the private sector with about 60 retail permits awarded to private operators in as many as 40 municipalities and First Nations communities. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is to regulate cannabis sales and municipalities will have the option to ban sales.
– Manitoba plans to set its legal age at 19, a year later than the legal age for drinking alcohol. Government legislation proposes a ban on people growing cannabis at home for recreational purposes. The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba would regulate the sale of cannabis and municipal governments would have the option to ban sales by referendum. People would be banned from smoking cannabis in most public places and people caught driving under the influence would be subject to fines and suspensions similar to those in place for alcohol-impaired drivers.
– Ontario will sell pot through a government-run online retail channel when it is legalized this fall and plans to have cannabis in private retail stores by April 1, 2019. A Crown corporation will regulate the marketplace, and the Progressive Conservative government says it won’t put a cap on the number of pot shops that will operate. The legal age to buy recreational cannabis is 19. Legislation proposed by the government would prohibit smoking cannabis in places where smoking tobacco and using e-cigarettes would be prohibited. The maximum amount of recreational marijuana an adult can possess will be 30 grams.
– Quebec has passed a law whereby all pot will be sold through a subsidiary of the provincially run liquor board. Quebec also plans to control sales online. It would be illegal to cultivate pot for personal or commercial use, unless authorized, and possession in a home is to be limited to 150 grams of dried cannabis and to 30 grams on a person. There is to be a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of any drug. The legal age for consumption is 18.
– New Brunswick is setting the minimum age at 19 and plans to require users to lock away their marijuana when it’s in their home. The province says people would be able to buy cannabis at a subsidiary of the province’s liquor commission.
– Prince Edward Island has set its legal age at 19, and says it will sell marijuana at stand-alone outlets run separately by its liquor commission. P.E.I. plans to allow online sales and restrict marijuana use to private residences.
– Nova Scotia says marijuana is to be sold alongside alcohol in nine provincial liquor commission stores, as well as through online sales, to anyone who is at least 19. The province accepts federal rules setting a personal possession limit of up to 30 grams and a personal cultivation limit of up to four plants per household. It plans to establish provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.
– Newfoundland and Labrador will allow sales in private stores. Legal age set at 19. The Crown-owned liquor corporation is to oversee distribution to private retailers. Consumption to be restricted to private residences.
– Yukon has set its minimum age at 19. Its legislation on legal marijuana would allow the public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, and personal cultivation of up to four plants per household. Consumption would be limited to privately owned residences and adjoining properties, as long as the owners permit it.
– The Northwest Territories has tabled legislation that proposes the minimum age of consumption at 19. The NWT Liquor Commission will be responsible for distribution and sales at existing liquor stores. Residents will be able to mail-order cannabis to allow access to marijuana in communities that do not have a liquor store. The government will be able to fine stores that don’t post signs about the health risks of pot. Communities will be able to hold a plebiscite on whether to restrict or ban sales. A maximum of four plants per household – no matter how many adults live there – and smoking is to be permitted in public where cigarettes are allowed, including trails and parks unless they are being used for public events.
– Nunavut completed initial stakeholder consultations last summer and was holding a public survey to help guide the development of policy and legislative options.
The Canadian Press