Cannabis in Canada—What's Legal and What Isn't

As the roll out of cannabis legalization continues, it's important to know what is legal and what is not.
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Written by Kacey Coleman

As of October 2018, it’s legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes in Canada. In light of this, many people are planning their next trip to the Great White North, but it may be a good idea to first consider exactly what is and isn’t available when buying cannabis in Canada.

For starters, Canadian laws surrounding cannabis are much different than those in the United States. Among American citizens, there’s common confusion about the legality of cannabis extracts, especially when it comes to CBD oils and other hemp derivatives. Although thanks to the recent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and marijuana are now classified as two different substances. They are both substrains of cannabis plants, but THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) is the primary differentiator separating legal from illegal products in America. Canada, however, allows for the sale of CBD and THC-heavy cannabis extracts, regardless whether they were derived from hemp or marijuana plants.

What kind of cannabis extracts can you buy in Canada?

Canadians may have ease of access to cannabis extracts, but it is primarily only available to purchase as flower. Cannabis-infused edibles, vape juices, and concentrates are still considered illegal, even those that only contain CBD. This is an interesting concept considering the various CBD edibles and other ingestible products that are widely available in the U.S. However, it is speculated that edibles will be legalized sometime in 2019. The Canadian Health Food Association called on the government to lessen restrictions on CBD in food products, as interest in CBD's potential therapeutic value continues to increase.

Other Cannabis Regulations in Canada

In addition to these laws, Canada also has age restrictions that allow only those over the age of 19 (or 18 if you are in Alberta or Quebec) to purchase cannabis products. It’s also illegal to enter or exit Canada with any cannabis derivatives, even if you are headed to a state where marijuana is legal, it is federally illegal to cross national borders with cannabis.  

All in all, you shouldn’t expect Canada to become the new hotspot for all things cannabis. It’s perfectly fine to visit and partake in cannabis consumption, but it won’t be coming back with you. And as you can imagine, there’s likely to be many increased security measures to ensure that no illegal substances are crossing the border into the United States.

Author Bio:Kacey Coleman is a freelance writer who specializes in health-related topics, and aims to advance the wellbeing of people by informing readers about the natural health space.

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