Can You Still be Arrested for Cannabis Use in Toronto?

Cannabis Use in Toronto

It’s been almost three years since cannabis was made legal for medicinal and recreational uses across Canada, and one of the themes in the news coverage has been the frequent misunderstandings about rules and regulations governing its use.

Just because cannabis products are legal doesn’t mean that there are no longer any laws prescribing where cannabis can be used, how much you can have, and who has access to it. It is important for Torontonians who use cannabis products to understand these limitations if they don’t want to get in trouble with the police.

To that end, this blog will outline what cannabis-users in Toronto should keep in mind to ensure they don’t violate Canada’s cannabis laws.

Age Restrictions

Like alcohol, cannabis use is limited to adults. If you provide someone under the age of 19 with cannabis, you are guilty of a criminal offence. But a charge does not necessarily mean a conviction; even if you are found guilty, the judge may decide to hand down a conditional sentence depending on the circumstances.

This is why, if you have been charged with a cannabis-related offence, it is important to get in touch with a Toronto criminal defence lawyer who specializes in drug crimes to represent your case before the legal system.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving while intoxicated is against the law across Canada, and this goes for cannabis as well as alcohol. If you are charged with a cannabis-related DUI in Ontario, you could face one or more of the following penalties:

  • License suspension
  • Fines
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Criminal record
  • Jail time

Toronto police are equipped with tools that can take saliva tests to determine the amount of THC in a driver’s system, and are empowered to follow this up with a blood test.

Regulated Amounts

There are limits placed on how much cannabis an individual can purchase at one time. You are allowed to buy 30 grams or roughly one ounce of dried product for personal use. If you are caught with more than this amount on you in a public place, you could be charged with an offence.

Furthermore, while you are free to use cannabis in parks, in your home, and on your balcony, use at or around a school, in the workplace, or at a restaurant or bus shelter could result in a $1,000-$5,000 fine. 

Illegal Purchasing

The purchase of cannabis products is restricted to the Ontario Cannabis Store and other authorized retailers. You are allowed to grow up to four plants for personal use, but selling your own cannabis remains illegal, and you can be charged with drug trafficking if you are caught. Should you find yourself in this situation, it is imperative to contact a Toronto drug lawyer.

Canada’s decision to make cannabis legal has been hailed as a major success, one that points the way forward for other countries that want to transition away from the costly and ineffective prosecution of the war on drugs.  

But cannabis remains a controlled substance, and everyone from ordinary citizens to criminal defence lawyers need to understand what is allowed under the new regulations if they want to protect their civil rights and avoid breaking the law.

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