Find all the information on Cannabis Laws in Quebec, Canada. How to purchase, where to consume and more…
When the time came for cannabis laws in Quebec, Canada to pass its version of marijuana legalization, the opposition Parti Quebecois wanted tighter controls and voted against the legislation.
Despite the divisions, Quebec Liberal Party Premier Phillipe Couillard’s government in June 2018 passed Bill 157 enacting the Cannabis Regulation Act, establishing the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) to oversee sale and distribution, and amending highway safety standards.
Although marijuana supporters denounce some of the more restrictive measures, such as the prohibition of home growing and the few stores, all owned by the government, where cannabis will be available initially, Quebec announced it would be ready for legalization on October 17, 2018.
Even with the constraints, Quebec was more permissive in some respects than other provinces or territories, allowing more consumption in public areas and adopting a minimum age of 18 to buy or consume marijuana. All other provinces except Alberta enacted the federal government’s 19-year-old limit.
The opposition parties had argued, among other things, for more limits on public consumption and the Coalition Avenir Quebec had lobbied for a 21-year-old age limit.
Despite a reputation as a party province, Quebecers have a more moderate streak when it comes to marijuana. Consumption in the province is in the middle of the pack among the provinces, but a CROP, Inc. poll by Radio Canada found only 46 percent of the population favored marijuana legalization, compared with 58 percent nationally.
As part of its bill legalizing recreational cannabis, the province imposed a number of highway safety amendments that include a “zero-tolerance” policy for driving with any detectable amounts of cannabis or alcohol in the body once effective equipment for detecting cannabis in saliva is available and approved. Limited exceptions may be made for cannabis medical users.
Police can immediately hold off licenses for 90 days if their evaluation shows drug and/or alcohol impairment, or if a driver refuses marijuana testing. Vehicles can be held if operators have past convictions for drugs or alcohol. Drivers can also face the charge of $1,500 to $5,000, installation of an interlock device, and other penalties, including jail time, for operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
Under federal guidelines, drivers face graduated penalties depending on levels of drug and/or alcohol concentrations, as well as previous offenses.
Federally, the legal limit for THC in the bloodstream is two nanograms per milliliter. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. Concentrations between two (2) and five (5) nanograms result in a fine up to $1,000. Concentrations of five (5) or more nanograms will result in a $1,000 minimum fine for a first offense, imprisonment of 30 days or more for a second offense, and imprisonment of 120 days or more for a third offense. Penalties for drug-impaired driving accidents can range from 18 months to as much as life imprisonment for a fatal crash.
How to Purchase
When legalization takes effect, Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that purchasers in Quebec will only be able to purchase recreational marijuana through stores and online through the public SQDC website.
The Quebec government will have control, operate, and distribute all legal marijuana in the province. The SQDC plans to have 20 stores open by Oct. 17, 2018 with expansion to possibly 100 or more within three (3) years. The SDQC also announced that it would have an online purchasing platform up and running by the time the new laws go into effect.
According to media reports the first four store locations in Montreal will be located near the busy Berri-UQÀM, Radisson, Jean-Talon and Lionel-Groulx Métro stations.
Minors will not be allowed inside, and stores will be stand-alone, marijuana-only operations with about 150 products. Displays will not be visible to passers-by and stores must be at least 250 meters, or about 820 feet, from schools. In Montreal, the distance is 150 meters, or about 492 feet.
Purchasers are permitted to buy a maximum of 30 grams, or 1.6 ounces of dried marijuana at one time, or equivalents in fresh cannabis and cannabis oils.
Premade edibles and extract will not be obtainable until the federal government authorizes such through legislation that they anticipate having in place on or before October 17, 2019, although purchasers can create their own edibles as they wish.
Employees will be required to pass government-sponsored marijuana training programs.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that Smoking will generally be authorized in places where tobacco smoking and vaping are allowed. It will be allowed in private residences and rentals unless prohibited by lease or property agreements. Landlords will have until January 17, 2019 to put marijuana restrictions into leases.
Consuming marijuana in public is prohibited in most restaurants, bars, hospitals, schools, bus shelters, bike paths or sports facilities. Smoking is also banned on and within nine (9) meters, or 29 1/2 feet, of areas frequented by children, such as playgrounds or pools. It is worth noting that public parks that don’t serve as playgrounds will permit consumption of marijuana as they allow consumption of tobacco products.
It is illegal to consume marijuana while operating a vehicle for either drivers or passengers. The law applies regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion. In a vehicle, marijuana must be stored in a sealed container that is not accessible to the driver or passengers during transport.
Possession Information and Limits
Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that possession is prohibited at day-care centers, in most buildings, and school and college campuses. And also also prohibited in detention facilities.
The minimum age to buy or possess marijuana in the province of Quebec is 18, which is the same age for alcohol and tobacco. Quebec allows possession by adults of up to 30 grams, or 1.06 ounces, of marijuana in most public places.
The national government has set equivalencies for one (1) gram of dried marijuana to equal:
- five (5) grams of fresh weeds
- 15 grams, or one-half ounce (0.5 oz) of edibles
- 70 milliliters, or 2.35 fluid ounces, of liquid
- 0.25 grams of concentrate, and
- one (1) plant seed
The limit for home possession is 150 grams, or 5.3 ounces, per household, regardless of the number of occupants. Additionally, a person may not possess more than 150 grams, or 5.3 ounces, combined among public places and multiple residences.
Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that by federal law, patients using medical cannabis are permitted to have up to 150 grams, or 5.3 ounces — 30 times the daily dose prescribed by an authorized health-care practitioner, either an authorized physician or nurse practitioner — of dried cannabis or its equivalent.
How Old Do I Need to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit for Flower
150 grams – Recreational
150 grams – Medical
Possession Limit for Concentrates
N/A – Recreational
N/A – Medical
Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that the province does not permit any cultivation of weeds for personal use. And also prohibits possession of a cannabis plant for personal use.
These regulations do not apply for approved and licensed home-grown medical cannabis, which is governed by national laws.
Thousands of Canadians are federally authorized to possess and use medical cannabis. Until the new law is passed, Canadians must the qualify for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which came into effect August 24, 2016.
Recipients must provide medical documentation confirming the medical diagnosis by a health-care practitioner.
Patients must not be convicted of a cannabis-related offense, and be registered only once at a time.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
Cannabis Laws Quebec Canada dictate that generally patients can qualify for medical cannabis under two categories. One is to allow for compassionate end-of-life care, for alleviating discomfort symptoms relating to illnesses and injuries, or for side effects from cancer or HIV/AIDS medications.
The second category is for patients suffering from other persistent impairing symptoms. Among the ailments Health Canada lists as possibly qualifying are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention-deficit and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorders (ADD/ADHD)
- Back and neck conditions
- Brain injury
- Chronic nausea
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Kidney failure, including patients receiving dialysis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasms
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe arthritis
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disorders
- Vehicular crashes
Information on eligibility and applying is available at the Canadian government’s medical marijuana website.
Authorized caregivers are allowed to possess fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil, and may transfer or administer the substances or provide a medical document. They may also transfer substances to an individual who is responsible for the patient under their professional treatment.
This page was last updated on January 02, 2019.