Marijuana is legalised in Canada as of today, but…

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown:

As I am sure you are aware, here in Canada marijuana is finally legalised as of today (October 17, 2018). I am wondering how that will affect smoking on college campuses. Would we be able to smoke in public areas?

— BO

Dear BO:

It is a historic moment, ie, the decriminalisation of a drug that is widely used on the black market. The end of prohibition will, also, create many millionaires who invested wisely.

I am not sure which college you are attending or planning on attending. However, I can state that colleges have established policies to meet the legal requirements under the Cannabis Act. You will be able to have a maximum of 30 grammes (about one ounce) of dried cannabis for recreational purposes in public at any time. Please note that medical cannabis will continue to be subject to different rules than recreational cannabis.

Smoking in public

College campuses reserve the right to ensure the preservation of a safe, positive learning and working environment. That said, as a general rule, legislation allows recreational cannabis to be smoked or vaped in public, in a similar fashion to the rules of tobacco. Accordingly, while on campus, students that are 18/19 (depending on the province) or older are permitted to smoke or vape recreational cannabis in designated smoking areas.

Smoking and vaping cannabis is allowed in:

• Private residences. This does not include residences that are also workplaces (eg long-term care and/or retirement homes);

• Many outdoor public places (eg sidewalks, parks);

• Designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns;

• Residential vehicles and boats that meet certain criteria (eg have permanent sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities,

and are parked or anchored);

• Scientific research and testing facilities (if the cannabis use is for scientific research and testing purposes);

• Controlled areas in: long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric facilities or veterans' facilities.

Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal by-laws, lease agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners.

Smoking restrictions

Smoking or vaping cannabis is not allowed in:

• Indoor common areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences, enclosed public places, and enclosed work places;

• Non-designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns;

• On-campus residences may be classified as public dwellings and workplaces under the Cannabis Act;

• At school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20m of these grounds, on children's playgrounds and public areas within 20m of playgrounds in child care centres, or where a home child care early-year programmes are provided — even if children aren't present;

• Hospitals, hospices, care homes and other facilities.

• Within nine metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals (public/private), psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities;

• On outdoor grounds of hospitals (public/private) and psychiatric facilities;

• In non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans' facilities, and residential hospices;

• In restaurants and on bar patios and public areas within nine metres of a patio.

• In reserved seating areas at outdoor sports and entertainment locations.

• Grounds of community recreational facilities, and public areas within 20m of those grounds; and

• In sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls which the public or employees frequent, orto they which they are invited to (e.g. a bus shelter).


Using cannabis and driving remains illegal. Police officers will be authorised to use oral, fluid-screening devices at roadside.

Penalties include:

• an immediate licence suspension

• financial penalties

• possible vehicle impoundment

• possible criminal record, and

• possible jail time

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work program, visas or appeals, etc.

— Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM-a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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