Cannabis is legal across the province beginning today.

You will need to be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Canada is now the second nation in the world and the first G7 country to regulate and sell cannabis.

Chief of Police for the Dryden Police Service, Doug Palson says one of the concerns is impaired driving.

"The laws have been in place for many years with regards to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our focus has been, over the last little while, preparing for this and having our members trained in standard field sobriety testing," he said.

Kenora OPP Detachment Commander, Inspector Jeff Duggan echoed Paulson’s sentiments.

"Impaired driving is one of our biggest fears, I think, with the Cannabis Act. People are going to try it, they're not going to know how it's going to affect them and they're going to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. So, just like alcohol, make good choices," he said.

The laws against drug-impaired driving will include zero tolerance for: young drivers aged 21 and under, novice drivers; G1, G2, M1 and M2 licence holders and all commercial drivers.

Duggan also reminds the public it’s illegal to obtain cannabis by any means other then the provincially approved outlets.

"Cannabis sales are currently only available via online sales. It's important for those who choose to consume cannabis to know the source in which it comes from. Be smart about the consumption. And if you choose to consume don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle or vessel," he said.

The government has also introduced legislation that, if passed, would help the province move forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1 of next year. Until then the only legal way to buy cannabis will be online. Only people with a delivery address in Ontario can shop at the store.

City governments will have until January to opt out of private cannabis stores in their jurisdictions. The decision will be one of the first orders of business for the new municipal councils that will be elected on Oct. 22.

New regulations will mimic the Liquor License Act and the Smoke Free Ontario Act. Therefore, police officers will be able to charge purchasers, sellers, and landlords under the new provincial offences.

Citizens are allowed a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis in public at any time. The public is also allowed to grow their own recreational cannabis plants. Four plants are allowed to be grown per residence.

To clarify, you may have 4 plants per residence, not per person in the home.

Smoking cannabis is permitted wherever the smoking of tobacco is permitted however, municipalities can pass bylaws to further restrict cannabis use.

Cannabis cannot be consumed in:

  • Enclosed public spaces, all workplaces
  • Indoor common areas of condominiums, apartment buildings or university residences
  • Schools and school grounds, and within 20 metres from the grounds of a school or community centre
  • Restaurant and bar patios and public areas within 9 metres of a patio
  • Childcare centres, home child care centres, and where an early years program or service is provided
  • Children’s playgrounds
  • Outdoor grounds of hospitals, certain Ontario government buildings
  • Publically owned sporting areas (except golf courses)
  • Vehicles and boats that are being operated by the user (in the case of all forms of consumption) or under someone’s care or control (in the case of cannabis being smoked or vaped)

 

Residents should also be aware, consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace is illegal.

Medical cannabis is subject to different rules than recreational cannabis.

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