FAST FACTS: CANNABIS INFO FOR TRAVELERS TO CANADA

What You Need to Know
Gerry Cariou
By Gerry Cariou

Gerry Cariou is the Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country.

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Cannabis is Now Legal in Canada

You may have heard that cannabis (marijuana) is now legal across Canada for both medicinal and recreational use. Well, it's true! However, like alcohol, for example, cannabis and its use are regulated by the Federal and Provincial Governments. Important to note that while Federal regulations apply across the country, each Province also has it's own set of regulations so make sure you know the ones in the Province(s) you plan on visiting. This article was written to provide traveling tourists with information on cannabis in Canada,  and the regulations and laws that apply to its use. So we have scoured the information out there and summarized it here for our readers.

  • The key, most important rule of all you need to remember is to never bring cannabis with you when you enter into or depart from Canada. Not only is cannabis still illegal in the United States and most other countries, but you could also face serious penalties from the authorities in your home country or a country you are transiting through if you are found to be in possession of cannabis. This is the case regardless of if you purchased the cannabis legally in Canada.
  • You must be either 18 or 19 years of age to buy, possess and use cannabis in Canada. The legal age depends on which Province you are in. In Ontario, it is 19 years of age.
  • Legal cannabis will have the excise stamp with the selected colors of the Province or territory in which it was purchased.  
  • Like alcohol, cannabis is known to have negative impacts on your health so you should consider this before deciding to use it. 
  • It's is illegal to drive a motorized vehicle, be it a car, truck, boat, ATV or snowmobile while under the influence of cannabis. Law Enforcement in Canada has the ability to determine your level of impairment and charge you if you are over the legal limit (just like alcohol). There are serious criminal repercussions for driving impaired by cannabis or alcohol so don't do it! 
  • As a tourist traveling in Canada, you are legally allowed to buy and consume cannabis in accordance with Federal and Provincial laws. Find more information here about tourism and cannabis use.
  • It is still unclear where it is legal to use cannabis if you are a tourist. This varies by Province. In Ontario, it’s legal to smoke in the park or on the sidewalk, but you must be more than 20 metres (65 feet) away from a child-related area such as a school or playground.  If you use it at the accommodation business your staying at you need the permission of the owner of that business. The owners of private businesses, including lodges, campgrounds, hotels, houseboats etc. have the right to ban cannabis use on their property. Here is a good article covering this subject.
  • You are allowed to have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in your possession, purchased through an authorized retailer.

If, as a tourist visiting Canada, you decide to consume cannabis, it is important you are aware of and follow these laws. Failure to do so could result in a fine or, in certain instances, e.g. drug-impaired driving, incarceration. We have provided some additional links below that you may find useful.