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Is Weed Legal in British Columbia?
British Columbia, Canada, home of the BC Bud of cannabis lore, has had legal access to adult use marijuana since Oct. 17, 2018.
The British Columbia Legislative Assembly in August 2018 passed Bill 30 – 2018: Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, which governs adult-use marijuana.
What Is BC Bud?
With favorable growing climates, particularly in areas such as Fraser Valley, Okanagan, and Vancouver Island, as well as the influx of-seed-carrying United States expats seeking to avoid Vietnam War duty in the 1960s, British Columbia weed culture began to thrive . It is the home to world-renowned strains, informally called B.C. Buds. The western Canadian province has also been a player at the forefront of the country in advocacy for legalization, not to mention consumption. According to Canada’s 2017 Cannabis Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts statistics , British Columbia is the No. 1 producer of cannabis in Canada and No. 2 in per-capita consumption.
Is Marijuana Legal in Vancouver?
Regulated use of medical marijuana has been legal in Vancouver, British Columbia since 2001 and remains in effect.
Coupled with the passage of legalized medicinal and recreational use, British Columbia took steps to increase penalties for driving while impaired and keep cannabis away from minors.
Driving while impaired is illegal nationally, and British Columbia has imposed a pair of additional penalties and regulations.
In British Columbia, a 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition will be assessed to a driver whom officers reasonably believe operated under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol based on blood or fluid analysis or evaluation by a drug recognition analyst.
Also in British Columbia, there is a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of THC for new drivers in the Graduated License Program.
Under federal guidelines, those found to drive while impaired face tiered penalties. On Dec. 18, 2018, the as part of an overall reform to the criminal codes for transportation offences will be in enforced. Among the changes, police will have greater latitude in stopping suspected impaired drivers and compelling the motorists to submit to an oral or blood screening device regardless of discernible signs of impairment.
The legal limit for THC in the bloodstream is two (2) 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 5 or more nanograms will result in a $1,000 minimum fine on the first offense, imprisonment of 30 days or more on a second offense, and 120 days or more on a third offense. Drug-impaired driving accidents can range from 18 months to as much as life imprisonment for a fatal accident.
Providing marijuana to a minor is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 14 years in jail.
Minors will face fines up to $2,000 if found in possession of cannabis according to Vancouver marijuana laws .
Anyone found intoxicated in public or behind the wheel of a car, or anyone who has exceeded the amount he or she can carry or grow will also face fines up to $5,000 the first time or $10,000 on second offences, with potential jail time ranging from three to six months under British Columbia marijuana laws .
How to Purchase
Private businesses in British Columbia will be allowed to open cannabis stores under the umbrella of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, which has released information on applying for a license . Operators will be required to undergo a federal background check.
T he BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will oversee the stores, online sales, and be the sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis. It will open under the brand name BC Cannabis Stores.
Both government-run and private retail stores will only be permitted to sell a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis, or the equivalent in oil or seed, to an individual at one time.
BC Cannabis Stores will be the province’s sole online cannabis retailer.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, formerly the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, is responsible for licensing private, non-medical cannabis retail stores and monitoring compliance of both government-run and private stores.
Stores can only sell cannabis and accessories. They may not sell other items, such as tobacco, liquor, or snacks, and are not allowed to co-locate with another business.
Illegal sale of cannabis can result in a number of provincial offences ranging from $2,000 to $100,000 in fines, as well as three to 12 months imprisonment.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Smoking will be allowed on private property and residences with the property owner’s approval. For rental properties, landlords can write-in or continue cannabis smoking restrictions similar to those for smoking tobacco and other substances. Landlords can also add restrictions to growing.
Smoking marijuana will generally be allowed in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted.
A person will not be allowed to consume cannabis in public where tobacco smoking of vaping is prohibited. This includes:
- on or in the vicinity of school property
- health board property, except designated areas where other smoking is allowed
- outdoors at parks or community recreation areas
- sports facilities
- spray or wading pools
- deck, seating, or viewing areas
Indoor smoking and vaping are not allowed in a workplace, restrooms, meeting rooms, break rooms, common areas within apartment buildings, condominiums, or dormitories. A person cannot smoke or vape cannabis in a bus, train, taxi or ferry, or stops or similar places marked for passenger loading or unloading.
It is illegal to consume cannabis while operating a land, sea, or air vehicle, or as a passenger in a vehicle. The law applies regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion.
Possession Information and Limits
The minimum age to buy or possess cannabis in British Columbia is 19.
The province allows possession by adults 19 and older of up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place. In a vehicle, cannabis must be stored in a sealed container that is not accessible during transport to the driver or passengers. The government has set equivalencies for one (1) gram of dried cannabis to equal five (5) grams of fresh cannabis, 15 grams of edibles, 70 grams of liquid, 0.25 grams of concentrate and one plant seed.
Premade edibles and extract will not be available until one year after the legislation is passed, although consumers can create their own edibles.
Penalties for possession over the limit ranges from a fine up to 5 years in jail, depending on the amount of cannabis the person is holding in public.
No limit has been established for the amount of cannabis that can be stored in a home.
Patients using medical marijuana are allowed to possess up to 150 grams, or 30 times the daily dose prescribed by an authorized health care practitioner, of dried marijuana or its equivalent at any given time, including in public.
The British Columbia Cannabis Control and Licensing Act authorizes adults to grow up to four (4) plants per household. Plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property. The limits are in addition to the authorized limit of licensed growing of medical marijuana. Home cultivation is also banned in homes used as day-care or community-care centers.
Thousands of Canadians are federally licensed to possess and use medical marijuana under British Columbia marijuana laws . Until the new law is passed, Canadians must then qualify for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which came into effect on Aug. 24, 2016.
Recipients must provide medical documentation confirming the diagnosis by an authorized physician or nurse practitioner.
Patients must not be convicted of a marijuana-related offense, and patients only can be registered at one facility at a time.
Generally, patients can qualify for medical marijuana under two categories. One is to allow for compassionate end-of-life care, for pain symptoms ranging from seizures to spinal cord injury to side effects from cancer or HIV/AIDS medications. The second category is for patients suffering from other persistent debilitating symptoms. Among the ailments Health Canada lists as possibly qualifying are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Back and neck conditions
- Brain injury
- Chronic nausea
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney failure, including dialysis patients
- 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 online .
Authorized caregivers are allowed to possess fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil and may transfer or administer the substance or provide a medical document. They may also transfer substance to an individual who is responsible for the person under their professional treatment.
View the cannabis laws & regulations for British Columbia, Canada.
British Columbia Marijuana Information
British Columbia has a massive network of parks!
British Colombia is very marijuana friendly – perhaps because of its proximity to the green state of Washington. Vancouver has been a trailblazer in creating new marijuana regulations regarding the illegal medical marijuana dispensaries operating around the country and in February 2016, a federal judge in British Colombia ruled that medical marijuana patients have the constitutional right to grow their own marijuana.
In 2000, Canada became one of the first countries in the world to rule that its citizens have a right to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. In 2013, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations passed and the new law changed some of the rules regarding access to medical marijuana. One major shift was that under the new medical marijuana legislation, medical marijuana patients were not allowed to grow their own marijuana. However, that clause in the law was overruled in February 2016 when a federal court judge ruled that it is a constitutional right for medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis. This allows patients to control the strains and doses needed to be suit their treatment.
One unique feature of Canada’s medical marijuana program is that patients must receive their medicine by courier. There are no legally operating retail storefronts for patients to pick out their marijuana strains; instead, marijuana ordering is done online. Strain recommendations must come from a patient’s healthcare provider or someone online who can help recommend a good choice.
As of October 17th, 2018 Recreational Cannabis is now legal and shops are opening their doors!
It remains illegal to consume marijuana in public in British Colombia, but a number of lounges operate under the “safe space” law and provide a place for medical marijuana users to come consume. The lounges do not sell marijuana, and only provide a place for marijuana users to congregate and consume together. The presence of these lounges has given Vancouver the nickname “Vansterdam” – you don’t need a medical prescription to get it, so tourists are welcome. Just bring your own marijuana! When choosing to consume, always use your common sense and discretion.
For a list of all of the Canadian Medical Marijuana Producers, click here!
British Columbia FAQ
Is Marijuana legal in British Colombia?
Yes, for both recreational and medical purposes. Medical marijuana is legal in all of Canada with a qualifying medical condition and prescription from a licensed doctor. As of October 17th, 2018 Recreational Cannabis is now legal and shops are opening their doors!
How can I get marijuana?
In Canada, medical marijuana must be obtained via mail, not by visiting a medical marijuana dispensary in person. If you are a Canadian resident with a qualifying medical condition, you can get a prescription for medical marijuana. First, meet with your healthcare practitioner who will complete a Medical Document. Then, choose a Licensed Commercial Producer and register your medical document to become a client. A list of authorized producers can be found here . After registering and receiving a prescription, will be able to order directly from your Licensed Commercial Producer. You can find a list of Licensed Commercial Producers here . There are currently seven licensed producers in British Colombia.
In Vancouver specifically, there are a few dispensaries that have been licensed by the city and are now licensed operators. It is expected the number of licensed dispensaries will only continue to grow as dispensaries adapt to the city’s conditions for approval.
If you are an adult over the age of 19, get out there to a rec dispensary and make a legal recreational cannabis purchase and breathe a deep sigh of relief!
What are the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana?
Patients can receive a prescription for medical marijuana to treat a variety of ailments, including, but not limited to:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Chronic Pain
- Eating Disorders
- Loss of Appetite
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Sleep disorders
What types of marijuana will be available?
On the medical side, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations specifies that licensed producers will only be permitted to sell dried marijuana and oils for taking orally. There will be a number of different strains to choose from, ranging from strong Indicas to strong Sativas and everything in between. Each strain can have different effects, so be sure to ask your physician for assistance in choosing the best marijuana strain to help treat your condition. Sativas strains are known for giving a stronger head high, with generally uplifting and energizing effects. Indica strains are known for their full body highs and sedative, tiring effects – Indica strains are more likely to give you couch-lock.
Recreational stores will have a wide variety of products from dried flower, to concentrates, as well as edibles. Go find the right product for you!
How much will it cost?
This is dependent on the marijuana providers, which product you will be purchasing, as well as potency and quality, but patients and recreational consumers can expect prices to be between $8-$16 per gram.
How much Marijuana can I have?
In public, adults may possess up to 30 grams of usable marijuana, but there is no limits to the amount you may have at home. Additionally, all adults may cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants at home. What a world!
Where can I consume marijuana?
Marijuana consumption is forbidden in public, so patients must restrict consumption to the home or private property. British Colombia also has a “safe space” law that allows lounges to operate. These lounges do not sell marijuana, but they provide a space for marijuana users to congregate and consume together. These lounges typically have vaporizers, bongs, and other smoking devices available for rent, as well as munchies for sale. The lounges are operating legally, as long as they are not selling marijuana.
Can I take my purchase home if I live in another country?
No. All marijuana products purchased in Canada must be consumed in Canada. However, you may travel between provinces without issue.
Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. Please respect the current state of Marijuana law in your area.
Although recreational marijuana is not yet legal anywhere in Canada, the province of British Colombia is very marijuana friendly.