Is Marijuana Legal or Illegal in BC?

When non-medical cannabis became legal in Canada in October 2018, limits were put in place to control its production, distribution and possession, and to, most importantly, prevent it from getting into the hands of Canadian youth.

Although the main priority of the Cannabis Act is to prevent young people below age 18 from accessing recreational cannabis, specific laws were set in place for adults to preserve public health and safety as well as prevent illegal production, sale and trafficking.

Generally, the Cannabis Act states that you must be at least 18 years old in order to use recreational cannabis. However, it limits your possession to a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent in non-dried form in public. In other words, you can’t purchase more than 30 grams, or have more than this amount in public at any time.

In the case of BC, you must be at least 19 years or older to use, possess, grow or purchase non-medical cannabis, which can only be accessed at government-run stores, licensed private retailers, and the government’s online store.

Penalties for marijuana offences

If you are found guilty of having more than 30 grams, depending on the size of the additional quantity, you can be either ticketed or face up to five years in jail.

Illegal distribution or sale can also result in a ticket or up to 14 years in jail. In addition, there is also a mandatory prison term of up to 14 years for taking cannabis across Canada’s borders.

The Cannabis Act also permits the growing of up to four cannabis plants per household, from licensed seeds or seedlings, for personal use. Producing cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits can land you a ticket, or again, depending on the additional quantity, up to a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

The use of cannabis edibles and concentrates has also been legalized, and, as a consequence, the Act allows adults to make cannabis products, such as food and drink, at home, as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products.

Similar to the possession limits for dried cannabis products enshrined in the Cannabis Act, equivalents were also developed for other cannabis products to identify their possession limits. For example, one gram of dried cannabis is equal to five grams of fresh cannabis, which means that a person of legal age can possess up to 150 grams of fresh cannabis.

There are two criminal offences relating to preventing youth from accessing cannabis, and these carry maximum sentences of up to 14 years imprisonment. They are: giving or selling cannabis to youth and using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence.

The Cannabis Act also forbids the promotion of cannabis products with packaging and labelling that youth are likely to find appealing, prohibits cannabis self-service displays or vending machines; and the promotion of cannabis, except in narrow circumstances, where young people are able to see the promotion. Penalties for violating these prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million or three years in jail.

Do you need a marijuana lawyer in Vancouver?

If you are facing charges for a cannabis offence and need a marijuana lawyer in Vancouver, contact us at the law office of Tom Doust.

Tom Doust is a Vancouver criminal lawyer with over 20 years of experience. He has successfully defended clients in various criminal matters, including marijuana offences.

Call us today and schedule a legal consultation to discuss your case.

By |October 21st, 2020|Criminal Lawyer|
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