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Cannabis and the Law

 

The Basics

  • Cannabis is legal in Canada as of October 17, 2018.
  • The legal age to purchase and possess cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador is 19 years of age.
  • Place of use is restricted to private residences.

Possession/Growth

  • At any moment in time, an adult over the age of 19 will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, dried or equivalent, in public.
  • Note that ONE GRAM of DRIED CANNABIS is equal to:
    • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
    • 15 grams of edible product
    • 70 grams of liquid product
    • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
    • 1 cannabis plant seed
  • Additionally, any adult over the age of 19 will be permitted to grow– from licensed seedlings– up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use only.
  • Adults over the age of 19 will be permitted to make cannabis products (such as food and drinks) at home, as long as organic solvents are not used to make concentrated products.

Purchase/Sale of Cannabis

  • Private retailers will be used to sell cannabis, as regulated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).
  • The NLC will be responsible for controlling the possession, sale, and delivery of cannabis. They will also set the prices.
  • Not just anybody can sell cannabis. Any business wishing to sell cannabis must give notice and submit an application to the NLC to be considered for becoming a cannabis retailer.
  • A person without a license must not sell or otherwise supply cannabis to another person.
  • Nor, is any retailer permitted to sell or otherwise supply cannabis to a person under 19 years of age.
  • Retailers reserve the right to ask persons purchasing cannabis or cannabis products for proof of age.
  • Any person under the age of 19 is not permitted to:
    • Purchase (or attempt to purchase) cannabis;
    • Sell cannabis;
    • Purchase or sell cannabis accessories;
    • Be inside a cannabis store;
    • Process cannabis or cannabis accessories.

Medical Marijuana

  • The current regime for medical marijuana will remain as is.

Consumption of Cannabis

  • Recreational cannabis is to be used in private residences.
  • A person shall not consume cannabis:
    • In a public place;
    • In a place in which smoking is prohibited;
    • In or on a vehicle or boat (unless they are parked and on private land with the consent of the land’s owner);
    • In a cannabis store.

Cannabis in the Workplace

  • No person has the right to use marijuana recreationally at work; working impaired may put any worker– or co-worker’s– life at risk.
  • Employers are responsible for controlling the possession and consumption of cannabis at work– as they currently are responsible for doing with alcohol– and are also responsible for enforcing a workplace impairment policy.
  • Workplace impairment policies should be created and distributed to all employees. They should include:
    • Measures used to identify impairment;
    • Arrangements for confidentiality;
    • Whether (or not) specific items are allowed on the premises;
    • Descriptions of situations where drug testing will be required;
    • Description of disciplinary actions and their corresponding offences;
    • Description of when accommodation will be considered.
  • Employers are also responsible for accommodating employees with medical needs or disabilities (including disabilities from substance dependence).
  • If an incident of impairment presents itself, employers are responsible for:
    • Acting on/reporting a concern;
    • Documenting the incident;
    • Evaluating the need for accommodation.

Driving and Cannabis

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • In June, 2018, Parliament passed amendments to the impaired driving sections of the Criminal Code, giving additional tools to police to investigate drug-impaired driving. This amendment also created new criminal offences for driving while being over a certain level of drug concentration in the blood:
    • For persons found within two (2) hours of driving with a concentration of between 2 nanograms and 5 nanograms of THC per 1 ml of blood, they can be charged with a summary conviction offence carrying a maximum fine of $1,000.
    • For persons found within two (2) hours of driving with a concentration of more than 5 nanograms of THC per 1 ml of blood, or with any amount of LSD, PCP, cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, or other drugs, they can be charged with a hybrid (meaning it can be summary conviction or indictable) offence carrying a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence, a minimum of 30 days in jail for a second offence, and a minimum of 120 days in jail for a third or subsequent offence.
    • For persons found within two (2) hours of driving with a combination of at least 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood and 2.5 nanograms of THC per 1 ml of blood, they can be charged with a hybrid offence carrying a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence, a minimum of 30 days in jail for a second offence, and a minimum of 120 days in jail for a third or subsequent offence.
  • This new law also makes it easier for police to detect drug-impaired driving– it allows police to demand a roadside oral-fluid sample to test for the presence of drugs (if the police have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by drugs).
  • If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence, they can demand further testing, including a more comprehensive Drug Recognition Evaluation, and/or a blood sample.

For more information, find the Cannabis Control Act of Newfoundland and Labrador, linked below:

https://www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c04-1.htm