Please note that most of the questions and answers provided below relate to legalized cannabis for non-medical purposes. For information related to cannabis for medical purposes, visit the Government of Canada.
The information below is for information purposes. In the event of any inconsistency with this information and applicable legislation, the legislation prevails.
Why was cannabis legalized?
The Government of Canada chose to legalize cannabis to create a legal framework around the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. More information about the federal framework can be found on the Government of Canada’s Cannabis Resource Page.
Although it is legal for adults to purchase cannabis from licensed retailers, cannabis is a highly regulated substance and there are still criminal and other penalties for conduct that falls outside the law.
Where can I find more information about talking to children or teens about cannabis?
There are a number of valuable resources available to help with speaking to children and teens about drugs, including cannabis. For important information visit Talking with Teenagers About Drugs and Drug Free Kids Canada.
Where can I find information about health risks associated with cannabis use?
Visit the Government of Canada’s Health Effects of Cannabis site for information.
What are the rules about consuming cannabis and driving?
Driving while impaired is dangerous and is a criminal offence. Driving while impaired by cannabis or other drugs is still illegal.
Drivers found to be impaired while driving will face driver license suspensions, fines, vehicle impoundment and/or time in jail.
Drivers under the age of 22, commercial drivers and novice drivers are not permitted to have any detectable presence of cannabis in their body, as confirmed by a federally-approved roadside screening device.
How will police catch impaired drivers?
Police have been trained to detect impaired drivers through observation and tools such as standardized field sobriety tests. A police officer could perform a traffic stop for various reasons such as speeding, broken taillights, or if they have a reasonable suspicion of impairment. The officer would evaluate the driver for signs of impairment.
If an officer suspects the person is intoxicated, he or she asks the driver to undergo standardized field sobriety tests, including Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, which is involuntary jerking of the eyes caused by alcohol and some drugs and Walk and Turn, which is a psychophysical test that involves a person walking with one foot in front of the other, or a One Leg Stand – balancing on one leg.
If the person performs poorly, or the officer has enough reasonable grounds to believe the driver is impaired, the driver would typically be taken to the police station for further testing. An officer trained in the Drug Recognition Evaluator program uses a 12-step test, with questions and psychophysical tests, including a blood or urine test to determine drug impairment. From there, police officers determine whether to keep the person in custody and whether to press charges.
The Federal Government has approved a roadside screening device to detect cannabis in drivers and has set maximum permitted blood levels for THC. New tools will be deployed by police in Newfoundland and Labrador as they become available.
I drive a commercial vehicle for a living. What do I need to know?
Commercial motor vehicles are defined in the provincial Highway Traffic Act as: “a vehicle designed to carry goods, and includes a bus, a school bus, a truck, a truck tractor and other motor vehicles designed for commercial use but does not include camper-type vehicles designed or adapted exclusively for recreational purposes.”
There is a zero tolerance THC blood-drug concentration for commercial drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador. This approach aligns with recommendations from the trucking industry. A person with a medical authorization to use cannabis issued under the Cannabis Act who is a commercial driver cannot drive while impaired but is exempt from licence suspensions or vehicle impoundment based only on having a detectable presence of THC in their body as detected by a roadside screening device. The legal limits for all drivers apply to medical users who are drivers of commercial vehicles.
How does Cannabis affect my ability to drive?
When consumed, cannabis can affect each person differently, and effects can differ each time it is consumed. As such, any amount of cannabis consumption could put you at risk of driving impaired and you cannot judge your own level of impairment. Cannabis significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction times, and studies have shown that people who drive while high on cannabis tend to swerve, tailgate other vehicles, and have poor lane tracking. Driving while impaired from cannabis is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. The current recommendations from the evidence-based Canadian Low Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines recommend not driving for at least six hours or longer after consuming cannabis.
Is there a legal limit for cannabis impairment while operating a vehicle? What penalties could I face?
The legal limit is 2 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, per millilitre in whole blood. At this level, you could be facing criminal charges and fines. 2.5 nanograms of THC combined with a prescribed level of alcohol, or greater than 5 nanograms of THC per mL of blood, or any detectable presence of cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, 6-MAM (a metabolite of heroin), Ketamine, Phencyclidine, and Psilocybin and Psilocin (magic mushrooms) could result in a fine or imprisonment, with 30 days in jail as the mandatory minimum for repeat offenders. There is zero tolerance in Newfoundland and Labrador for all novice drivers, drivers under age 22, and commercial drivers for any detectable presence of THC. Drivers found to be impaired while driving will face driver licence suspensions, vehicle impoundment, fines, criminal charges, and/or time in jail and, if convicted, a criminal record.
More information on impaired driving laws is provided by the Government of Canada.
What if I drive after using cannabis medicinally?
As with all prescribed medication, over the counter drugs and medical procedures, if there is a possibility that you are impaired then you should not drive. An authorized medical exemption does not mean you would be exempted from impaired driving laws. If a substance has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is illegal for you to be driving. It is important to remember that impairment is impairment. A person with a medical authorization to use cannabis issued under the Cannabis Act who is a novice driver, driver under 22 or commercial driver cannot drive while impaired, but is exempt from licence suspensions or vehicle impoundment based only on having a detectable presence of THC in their body as detected by a roadside screening device.
How old do I have to be before I am allowed to consume cannabis and drive?
While the legal age for cannabis is 19, there is no age where cannabis impairment and driving are allowed. No matter what your age or level of driving experience, impairment is impairment. Driving under the influence of any substance puts you and other drivers at risk of serious traffic accidents. If a drug has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is illegal for you to drive. Furthermore, the Highway Traffic Act establishes zero tolerance for all novice drivers and all drivers under age 22, as well as commercial drivers. This is similar to rules for alcohol, where there is zero tolerance for the presence of alcohol in drivers under 22. The objective is to encourage and develop safe driving habits to last a lifetime.
Is impairment by cannabis different from impairment by alcohol?
Cannabis and alcohol affect different people differently, but both cause impairment. Two people could have the same level of THC in their blood but have significantly different experiences. Driving while impaired from cannabis is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and any amount of cannabis consumption could put you at risk of driving impaired. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is zero tolerance for THC for novice drivers, commercial drivers, and drivers under age 22. Criminal drug limits commence at 2 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood.
Scientists have studied alcohol intoxication for much longer and it is much better understood. Though intoxication levels vary by weight, age, gender, and other factors, it generally takes an hour for someone’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to drop by 0.015 BAC. That means if someone drinks enough to hit the Criminal Code of Canada legal limit of 0.08 BAC, it could take more than five hours for the person to metabolize the alcohol in their system. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is zero tolerance for alcohol for novice drivers and drivers under age 22. The ‘warning’ range for alcohol is at 0.05 BAC. Regardless of whether you choose to consume cannabis or alcohol (or a combination of both), impairment is impairment and you should never drive impaired.
How long should I wait to drive after consuming cannabis?
Driving while impaired from cannabis is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. The most effective way to avoid any risks of cannabis use is to abstain from use. The evidence-based Canadian Low Risk Use Cannabis Guidelines recommend not driving for at least six hours after using cannabis. As such, it is important to refrain from getting behind the wheel for at least this long or longer, as wait times can vary depending on the individual user, the properties of the specific cannabis product, and the method of consumption. Furthermore, using both cannabis and alcohol together multiplies impairment risks for driving and must be avoided altogether. Regardless of how you may feel, it is important to remember that impaired is impaired and it is illegal to operate or have care and control of a vehicle when impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Can passengers in my car smoke cannabis while I’m driving?
No, according to the Cannabis Control Act a person shall not consume cannabis in a vehicle. In addition, cannabis must be kept in its sealed packaging while being transported in a car. If it is not in its original sealed container, it must not be accessible to anyone in the vehicle (i.e. stored in the trunk).
Are you allowed to smoke cannabis in a parked car?
No, it is illegal to consume cannabis in a vehicle regardless of whether it is parked or not. The Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code consider whether someone has care or control of a vehicle – if you have care or control of a vehicle it is possible that you could be charged with impaired driving even though the car is parked. As well, according to the Cannabis Control Act, consuming cannabis in a vehicle is not permitted and cannabis must be kept in its sealed packaging, and not be accessible to anyone inside the vehicle. A limited exception applies to a vehicle being used as a dwelling, such as a motor home while being used for that purpose, while not in motion or on a highway.
What is the minimum age to buy or possess cannabis?
The minimum age to buy or possess cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador is 19 years. Minors caught with cannabis can have the cannabis confiscated by police and may have other penalties imposed on them, similar to those applicable to having alcohol while underage. Adults providing cannabis to minors could face jail time.
Where can I buy cannabis?
Non-medical cannabis can only be legally purchased at stores licensed through the Newfoundland and Liquor Corporation (NLC) or online through NLC’s web portal. There are more than 20 licensed stores spread throughout the province. For more information on where and how to buy cannabis, please visit ShopCannabisNL.
Buying or selling cannabis outside of the licensed system is a criminal offence.
How much does cannabis cost?
There is a range of prices that are determined by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation and are set in such a way that does not encourage use but that competes with prices on illicit market products. For more information on buying cannabis, please visit ShopCannabisNL.
What can happen if I buy or sell cannabis outside of the licensed system?
Buying or selling cannabis outside of the licensed system is illegal. Severe fines and criminal penalties will apply.
When will edible cannabis be available for sale?
On June 14, 2019, the Federal Government announced that the required regulations to the Cannabis Act related to the legalization of edibles will come into force on October 17, 2019. However, it will take time, after that date, before new cannabis products become available for purchase. It is expected that a limited selection of products will appear gradually in physical or online stores, and no earlier than mid-December 2019.
Information on federal regulations on edible cannabis can be found here.
How much cannabis can I possess?
You are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) in a public place.
Can I grow my own cannabis?
As permitted by federal law, a private dwelling can contain up to four cannabis plants. This is a maximum limit per dwelling, not per person. Having more than four cannabis plants in a private dwelling or possessing a cannabis plant in public that is budding or flowering are criminal offences.
Cannabis may only be grown indoors at the dwelling house in which a person ordinarily resides or in a secure, adjacent building such as a shed. Growing cannabis outdoors is not permitted.
Where can I consume cannabis?
You can consume cannabis in a private dwelling or yard attached to a private dwelling.
You may be able to consume cannabis in hotel rooms or units in apartment buildings, subject to restrictions that may be imposed by the building owner or operator. Cannabis cannot be consumed in any of the common areas of those buildings.
You may be able to consume cannabis on a rented campsite, subject to restrictions that may be imposed by the park owner or operator. You may be able to consume cannabis in a vehicle that is being used as a temporary or private residence while it is not in motion or on a road.
You are not able to consume cannabis in a public place, a motor vehicle or a boat, similar to the restrictions on consuming alcohol.
A limited exception applies for medical cannabis. A person with a valid authorization to use medical cannabis under the federal Cannabis Act may consume medical cannabis in an outdoor public place where smoking or vaping is permitted by the Smoke-Free Environment Act, 2005, but cannot consume cannabis in a motor vehicle.
What do landlords and tenants need to know?
Landlords can make rules restricting the consumption of cannabis, just as they may now make rules related to smoking tobacco. Landlords may also make rules about growing cannabis. Tenants should check with their landlord about specific rules that might apply.
Are there any special rules related to transporting cannabis?
A person can only transport 30 grams of cannabis at a time. While in a vehicle, the cannabis has to be in the original container with an unbroken seal or stored in such a way that it is inaccessible to the driver or a passenger.
What are my rights when travelling with cannabis?
Despite the fact that cannabis is now legal and regulated in Canada, it will remain illegal to transport cannabis across Canada’s national borders. Visit the Canada Border Services Agency for more information.
When you are travelling within Canada it is your responsibility to learn the laws of the province or territory you are going to. If you use cannabis, purchase and consume it within the province or territory you are in. Follow the laws that are in place in that jurisdiction.
Can I grow cannabis to sell?
No. Only federally licensed producers can grow cannabis to sell. You are also not permitted to make edibles to sell.
What can happen if I don’t follow the rules related to cannabis?
Depending on the seriousness offence, you could
- Receive a ticket,
- Be fined up to $100,000 or more, or
- Face up to 14 years in jail.
How can I become a cannabis producer or retailer?
Cannabis can only be legally produced by a federally-licensed producer. For more information on becoming a licensed producer, please visit Health Canada.
Cannabis can only be legally sold to adults by a provincially-licensed retailer. For information on becoming a cannabis retailer, visit ShopCannabisNL.